You Can’t Buy The Vote, But You Can Brand It


PeggyChenBy Peggy Chen,Vice President, Marketing, SDL  

While the 2016 presidential race is hot, reports show that many voters have cold feelings towards the candidates. To ensure their messages successfully reach and resonate with a diverse audience of voters, candidates must think differently.

To start, they can take notes from global brands that know the struggles of winning over an audience. Successful brands are familiar with fighting for eight-second consumer attention spans and put their loyal, happy and engaged customers first.

Sounds like something that the 2016 presidential candidates could use, right?

VoteStep one: create a local connection

The first stop in any successful campaign is creating a local connection, whether you are a politician or a global brand.

That first connection is language. Even if voters or customers are based in the United States, they may not necessarily speak English – and if they do, they still may prefer a different language.

According to SDL research, 32 percent of millennial consumers in English-speaking countries prefer a language other than English.  And, a whopping 46 percent are more likely to purchase if information is presented in their preferred language. This means that 2016 candidates should communicate in voters’ preferred languages and match their audiences’ preference for regional or age group dialect to really connect with voters.

Step two: be relevant

The next page candidates can take out of the global brand book is relevant and personalized content. In an increasingly digital world, consumers not only expect relevant content but they expect this content on all channels at all times.

For example, a millennial who visits a campaign website that presents them with Medicare information targeted to someone aged 65 or older are more likely to leave the site and find a candidate that appeals more to their own interests. Many eCommerce retailers provide a great example of this, since they focus on presenting relevant offers to customers based on their unique interests, past purchases and browsing behaviors. In the same way, candidates who tailor content to voters create individual experiences and show voters that they’re valued.

It also means matching your message to your audience. This is not to say candidates should use different messages for every audience, but that they need to frame their message in a way that is relevant to the concerns of who they are talking to. Customers and voters expect more than a robotic reiteration of message, but concrete information about how a brand or candidate will improve their lives.

A voter-centric candidate puts their voters first and to talk about themselves less.

Step three: use data reverently

Finally, while today’s customer expects to have their data collected, they also expect something in return. Specifically, data shows that 46 percent of millennials will provide personal information if it less irrelevant offers or information. Similarly, these same millennials respond the same way to election campaigns – the more relevant content they receive, the more they will support a candidate.

Step four: create action

After you have engaged your target audience, provide them with an opportunity to act. Whether you want them to purchase a product, donate or vote, every positive experience brings them one step closer to the checkout or ballot box.

Brands and candidates only have moments in time to capture their audience. The best way to use those moments is by providing relevant, localized and engaging personal content. Whether or not the 2016 candidates will adopt these best practices is still not known… but they have until November 8th.

We’ll stand by for the results, and may the best candidate prevail.

 About the Author: Peggy Chen is Senior Director of Product Marketing at SDL driving global go-to-market strategy for SDL’s Customer Experience Cloud portfolio of solutions. Enjoys cooking (working through all of Thomas Keller’s cook books), baking (trying to perfect the French macaron), traveling and photography. 


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