Checklist for a Winning Campaign Message

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

In every campaign, there is talk about slogans, issues and messages. Few campaigns communicate a message the way I understand it and learned it many years ago from my professor, Dr. Ronald Faucheux, at the Graduate School of Political Management: The message is a coherent reason and narrative why voters should vote for your side and not one of the other sides. I always tell my clients: A good message is more than a slogan, yet less than a party platform. It’s the application of the party program or platform to the current situation, given the political demand of the time, your strengths and weaknesses and your opponent(s) strengths and weaknesses. A good message is also more than a mission statement – there has to be urgency. Why vote for my side this time? To begin with, a good message has to be simple. This doesn’t mean that it should be empty of content (I would never advocate that!), but it should be understandable. Here’s a checklist for a winning campaign message from Dr. Faucheux’s book Running for Office:

A good message should be….

  • Short
  • Relevant to people’s daily concerns
  • Believable (big deal in developing countries!)
  • Show contrast between your side and your opponent(s) (in a way that is favorable to you)
  • A coherent narrative
  • Written down in a campaign plan
  • Tested (meaning through public opinion research)
  • Be repeated over and over again (use pictures to communicate the message)
  • Fully communicated (again, public opinion research should be used to check and track that)

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