The Truth About Name Recognition
What is Name Recognition? Does It Really Matter in Political Campaigns?
Name recognition or Name ID, is usually judged by polling to determine how many people know Candidate A vs. Candidate B. We start with a simple question that asks whether people have heard of either candidate. Then we compare the candidate’s name ID.
So does name recognition matter?
Sure name ID can help yes like in a presidential campaign, but the majority of campaigns are very different than presidential campaigns. Many small to midsize campaigns and candidates have become obsessed with name ID. It is the first thing many consultants talk about and the justification for buying lots of yard signs and waving them at traffic lights. In the course of my work, I have seen a lot of effort put into the goal of name recognition.
Why does name recognition matter?
Politics is about relationships. Having more voters know who you are is important, but there is a big difference between name recognition and a good relationship with a voter.
So can name recognition alone guarantee a win?
It helps, but it is not enough to guarantee a win. As the presidential campaign shows; it can be a double-edged sword.
What should you do to increase name recognition?
Think beyond signs. If you are not elected, start by building a local reputation for charitable work and good work with your business. Maybe you are a realtor, car dealer or restaurant owner. Being well-known and well-respected translates well to politics and positive name ID.
Start early. Building positive name ID takes time. So the earlier you start, the stronger it will be. Being elected does not guarantee you name ID. If you don’t work at it after an election, your name ID will fade away. Being known is hard work. Ask your favorite reality TV star! So keep at it and use your connection to voters to keep your name out there.
Develop relationships. Work with nonprofits and other groups within the community and develop a positive relationship with the community. Being known for something good is much better than just being known.
Let people know what you do and why it is important. The more voters know about you, the easier it will be to form a good relationship with voters.
Remember name recognition is not the only thing that matters to win a race. Things like job performance and trust matter more.
Have a question about name ID? Let's talk.