Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Differences in Candidates - How to spot the marketing

Anyone wonder what works for candidates who play the "political game" well?
How do different candidates - essentially different people - with different experiences, skills, education, and agendas accentuate the positive and hide what could be negative?

It's not just that the twelve candidates running for your city councillor in ward 18 ARE different, it is how they show that difference that will help them get elected - or not - that tells you the voter who they really are.

My take on the standard presentations of candidates, which all answer the basic voter question: WHY SHOULD I VOTE FOR YOU ?

1. I AM SMART: This is the candidate who over and over and over pummels the voter with essentially a long resume that lists all the degrees, certifications, courses and accreditations they may have. Tries to equate 'book smarts' with 'street smarts'.

2. I AM EXPERIENCED: This is the candidate who fashions their pitch to show that they have essentially already done the job or more. Piecing together a career job history that tries to demonstrate that they have essentially all the necessary skills to be in the elected position, even if they haven't been.

3. I AM POPULAR : This is the candidate who lists all the people who already like them and think they are 'Number One'. The endorsements prominently show glowing testimonials, photos and testimonials from important people, or people whom you should think are important. Such people may be from elsewhere in the city or from specific small lobby groups, and not local, but that shouldn't matter, because after all they are important.

4. I AM POWERFUL : A variation on the 'I Am Popular", this tactic tries to show that the candidate is already well-connected with a network of powerful friends and/or has some kind of 'insider edge'. This might be the candidate who claims to have the ear or affection of backroom kingmakers or movers and shakers in the bureaucracy. A favourite of incumbents who say "I know how to get things done".

5. I AM REAL : This is the candidate that tries to present themselves as being genuine, the 'real deal, plainspoken and straightforward, 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get'. Often speaks of gut reaction, honest responses, has character, integrity, not your 'usual politician'.

Different voters will be attracted to the different emphasis candidates place on these top five claims. Who wins on election day will depend on what the voters want, as always. 'Voters always get the government they deserve'

Please be an informed voters and weigh carefully all your choices, because....