Practicing What you Preach in Political Campaigns

Great post today on Marketing Beyond Advertising, one of my favorite blogs. Tom Wanek makes a good point about why it’s important in marketing to ensure your actions jive with the image you’re trying to project:

politics practice what you preach“Harmony between your actions and words elevates credibility. But conflict causes credibility to crumble. Your customer’s brain immediately recognizes any contradiction, and reacts by alerting its finely-tuned B.S. meter.”

Marketing and political campaigning have a whole lot in common; so much, in fact, that viewing a candidate as a “product” and the voters as “customers” is a successful tactic that has delivered victory on election day many times.

Take a page from Tom Wanek’s book and ask yourself an important question: is the image you are projecting of yourself as a candidate genuine? Are you “walking the walk” as well as “talking the talk?”

Example: if your campaign message and literature tout the fact that you are a dedicated family person, are your actions at home accurately reflecting that claim? Are you neglecting your family life for the campaign trail, or are you truly “walking the walk” by making family the number one priority in your life?

You similarly examine any of the messages that are presented to the voters in your campaign. Whether it’s fiscal responsibility, public service, a hard line on enforcement of local laws, or any other message, you had better make sure that you reflect those values in your own life.

The philosophy of “do as I say and not as I do” won’t get you very far in public service, because there are few things that voters dislike more than a hypocrite. And believe me, even if you put together slick literature and top-notch advertising, your scam will eventually catch up with you.

Does this mean that only people who have absolutely no shortcomings at all should run for political office? No, of course not. Perfect people simply don’t exist.

What I am saying is this: don’t make a certain issue one of the central themes of your campaign if you’ve never placed much importance on it over the course of your life. If you’re going to trumpet about public service but haven’t ever volunteered yourself, then your campaign probably won’t pass the credibility test with most voters.

Authenticity isn’t just important to customers; it’s also important to voters. And by being genuine on the campaign trail, you’ll make victory on election day much more likely.

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