cott, one of my senior staffers, recently attended a presentation by Reed Dickens, former White House Assistant Press Secretary. I'm copying Scott's notes below because Dickens' presentation was both interesting and relevant to anyone who's interested in campaigning and messaging.
Bush beat Gore in 2000 because his macro narrative/strategy was better. Testing showed Bush could only win on one platform: I’m real/Gore’s phony and weird (changes suits 17 times before a speech). Polling showed Gore should have won, but he used too many narratives to define why he should win.
The same thing occurred in 2004. Bush had one narrative: I’m strong/Kerry’s week (flip flopper, etc.). Kerry was all over the place. The Bush team ensured all its messaging and strategies fell under the narrative for each election cycle.
For people (like us) in messaging, we should seek a simple narratives to guide campaigns. It’s easy to see how we could lose a campaign against an opponent who’s macro theme is good vs. evil and we’re trying to articulate all the great things a project has to offer.
A micro-strategy is the strategy used for getting people to do something you want them to do. Bush’s 2004 micro strategy was successful. They went around the mainstream media and talked straight to voters. Values was the message (who do you agree with more on values issues) and it energized the base. There was a 20% increase in voter turnout in 04 and 90% of that group voted Republican. People told their friends and family to vote for Bush.
You need to know what someone will say about you/your client while they are running on a treadmill, out of breath and only have a breath to say what they think. He says Obama’s team neglected to understand this and that’s why so many people still think he’s a Muslim … and why he has to mention he’s a Christian in every speech. Giuliani’s team also failed the treadmill test.
Interesting stuff, eh?
Labels: Messaging, Politics, PR, Reed Dickens