Why Winning Candidates Always Stay on Message

Every successful campaign has a consistent message that resonates with voters.

That message strikes a chord with the largest group of voters and propels a candidate to victory on Election Day.

A great message typically touches the voters on an emotional, a logical, and a moral level. In philosophy these levels are classically known as pathos, logos, and ethos.

A great political message touches the voter on all three levels.

But it is the emotional level that matters the most when it comes to convincing voters to cast their votes for you.

Why is this?

Because most people make decisions based upon how they feel about a candidate and their agenda.

Look at the classics in advertising.

McDonalds:   “You deserve a break today.” It has nothing to do with food, but you deserve a break.

Nike:  “Just do it.” Not a single word about shoes.

Apple:  “Think Different.” Two words – simplicity – Apple is not like any other company.

Geico Insurance is brilliant with its commercials. Their commercials have absolutely nothing to do with auto insurance! Yet they make potential customers feel good about the brand therefore willing to purchase insurance.

If you doubt the success of Geico’s strategy, look no further than the company’s competitors. All State and Progressive are now filling the airwaves with funny commercials to entice their potential customers.

Like a company, every candidate who wants to win needs a consistent message that connects.

The message is either about what they want to do in office or what they’ve done before. The story and the agenda help couple the emotional message with logic and morals.

Doing so helps voters justify their emotional vote because they can back it up with a reasonable argument, or they can take the moral high ground on a candidate.

A good emotional argument integrated with logic and morality can also save a campaign that gets into trouble.

The classic example and the one I was shown in my public speaking class in college was the “Checkers Speech” delivered by Richard Nixon when Dwight Eisenhower was considering dumping Nixon as his Vice Presidential running mate in 1952.

Nixon’s speech hit all the heart strings to keep his political career alive while giving the American people logical and moral reasons to support an Eisenhower-Nixon ticket.

Nixon was one of the first candidates to effectively harness the power of television to advance his political career.  Ironically, he failed to understand its power and it cost him the presidency in 1960 and more or less forced his resignation from the White House in 1974.

Once you have a message that works for your campaign you must stay on it.

Do not deviate from your message. Do not change your message. Stay consistent with your message.

Give the same speech fifty times.

Give the same answer to the same phone call one hundred times.

Give the same pitch for your candidacy at a thousand doors.

Send mailers that convey the same message over and over and over again.

Put television and radio commercials on the air that have the same message.

Make sure that message is on your website, your Facebook status updates, in your Tweets, everywhere!


In marketing, advertising, and political campaigns the key to success is repetition.

You have to repeat your message to the voters as many times as possible so that its sticks with them and you win their vote.

Today repetition and consistency of message is more important than its ever been. We are the most marketed to group of Americans ever.

Everywhere we turn we are being marketed to. There’s always an ad before our eyes or being put into our ears. We learn to tune them out or skip over them.

The only way marketers can be sure to punch through is to keep pushing their ads through hoping that they will get noticed by the intended audience.

Political campaigns are no different than commercial marketing efforts.

You need to punch through and you need to make sure when that one thing does get the voters attention that it speaks to them with a message that resonates with them at their inner core and stirs their heart.

While you may have sent that message more times than you can count, it may be that voter’s first time to see it and that’s who your marketing efforts are speaking to so be sure that you’re on message.

Granted, there are so many things that you can talk about when running for office and its tempting to let people know that you know a lot about a diverse array of issues, but if you want to win you need to be sure that you always bring it back to your message time after time after time after time.

It takes discipline to be consistently repetitive, but that’s called staying on message. And it’s worth it if you really want to win your election.