Last week Daniel Henninger wrote in The Wall Street Journal about President Trump bringing John Kelly on as new his Chief of Staff and Kelly’s immediate firing of Anthony Scaramucci. He stated, “Mr. Kelly’s new job is to deploy across the Trump White House the three c-words that Anthony Scaramucci did not use in his New Yorker interview: credibility, coherence and consistency. Without them, no American presidency can succeed or survive as a functioning political force.” Those three words are also essential to a winning political campaign message.
As I have said many times in my articles, the key to winning your election is having a solid winning campaign story. Your message is vital to your chances of success.
A good solid message will help you win. A bad one will leave you sitting at home when your opponent is sworn into office.
A good solid campaign message always has the three c-words Mr. Henninger mentioned in his article.
A winning political campaign message always has credibility, coherence, and consistency.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these, shall we?
Do the voters believe what you’re saying?
Do they think your plan has a realistic chance of making solving their problem and making the lives better?
Do they feel that you are the person qualified to execute that plan if elected?
As a candidate for office — and as an office holder — your credibility is always an issue. Most voters today are predisposed to believe anyone running for office is lying in one form or fashion.
That’s why I emphasis to all candidates that they must always tell the truth.
Being known as an honest person running for office to serve the public good will make you stand out from the pack.
But when you get caught up correcting a statement you made or being forced to clarify something you said off the cuff, you’re endangering your credibility.
Don’t embellish your resume, make outrageous claims you can’t back up, or promise things you can’t deliver. Yes you see a lot of people running for office (including the presidency last year) doing this. Don’t.
Maintain and protect your credibility at all times. That will help the voters view you as a leader and not just another typical politician only interested in them for their votes.
An incoherent message isn’t a message at all. It’s noise and noise is useless and makes no sense. No one pays attention to noise, but they do pay attention to music.
But what’s the difference between music and noise? They’re both just made up of sounds after all.
What makes music different is that the sounds are arranged in specific way. Each instrument plays a note in a specific order. Each vocalist sings their lyrics at the proper time and in the proper key.
Music draws people in. Noise pushes people away.
Compose your campaign message like music. Everything has it’s place. Every note is played at the proper time. The right lyrics are sang at the right moment.
Draw the voters to your campaign message like a conductor draws an audience into a symphony.
An incoherent message is one that is rambling and is all over the place. It doesn’t have a direction or a melody. It makes no sense to the voting public. It’s noise and they don’t understand what you’re saying.
At the same time you must be cautious not to talk over the voters heads. Yes, you may be an expert in a certain area and that expertise is what is needed to make things better for your community.
But if you use insider speak and don’t talk to the voters in words and terms they can understand, your expertise won’t be music to their ears. It too will sound like rambling noise.
Always ensure your message is coherent and makes sense to the voters you are addressing in every medium.
I cannot stress this enough to candidates: Consistency in your messaging is absolutely essential if you’re serious about winning your campaign.
Once you’ve developed a clear and concise message that voters can understand, you need to keep repeating the message.
You repeat your message in every speech you make, with every voter you talk with at their door or on the phone, during every debate or forum, and in every type of mass communication you send out.
Your mailers, mass emails, Facebook posts, and commercials whether they be on TV, radio, or online, must all have the same consistent messaging.
If you’ve read any of my articles on messaging before, you know that I am very strict when it comes to consistency and repetition.
Repetition is the key to success in all advertising and marketing, including political campaigning.
Yes, you’re going to feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over and over again. Yes you’re going to feel as if you’re boring and dull for doing this, but you’re not your audience — the voters are!
You have no idea how many times any voter has heard your message or if at all. Even if they’ve heard your message a couple of times, it doesn’t mean that it’s sunk in.
Once you have a message that can resonate with voters as your winning story, you need to keep telling it until you can’t tell it anymore and then tell it again.
Do this consistently and there’s an excellent chance that your message will break through the noise and resonate with the voters your campaign is targeting.
When that happens, you’ve changed undecided voters into your supporters.
And that’s exactly how winning a political campaign is done.