Branding is a term that was once reserved for business marketing, but it’s expanded far beyond that now. Celebrities and entrepreneurs have personal brands that are as valuable and powerful as the organizations and companies that fill our marketplace. Recently, however, political branding has taken center stage. Applying brand to a political campaign isn’t actually new, but adapting the corporate terminology that surrounds branding is new in the mainstream.

Then, how to build an effective branding for digital political campaign? Branding defines who you are as a candidate, frames the issues in a way that appeals to the audience (i.e., voters), and helps the audience to connect with you on an emotional level. Now, how to make it digital? Nowadays, voters get and access political news through digital platforms so much easier. The use of online media can help them to make decisions.

At the early step (before voting), voters will always try to find out all the information about the candidates or political parties. Therefore, it would be much better if the candidates or any political parties focus on build a strong digital branding. It is also important to have a deeper understanding about the voters and their way of interacting in the digital sphere.

The next step, in order to make a digital branding, the candidates simply can start to improve awareness, engagement and credibility to build an “emotional bond” between them and the voters. One simple example, we had Donald Trump tapped into a zeitgeist of emotions, with his catchphrase, “Make America Great Again!”.

Then, we have to fully understand on the things that we should do, and we should avoid when building branding for political campaign. We know that a brand encompasses so much more than design. It’s also the words you say, the actions you take, and the impact you make on the people and world around us.

Things you should do:

  1. Identify and define the target audience. 
  2. Choose the appropriate platform that fits with the audience and political branding that you want to achieve. Because, people will not vote for you if they feel like they cannot relate to you.
  3. Determine “what makes you stand out”. Your story should sell your voters on your principals and it’s combined with what makes you stand out as a candidate.
  4. Make a powerful word and visual element.
  5. Interact with voters, by sharing or responding to an issue that exists in society.

Things you should avoid:

  1. Not knowing who you’re targeting or who your target audience is, it’s essential to define your niche in the clearest way possible.
  2. Blindly copying someone. There’s a big difference between copying and taking inspiration (create your own branding).
  3. Inconsistent, that can make the audience confused with branding that you’ve made.
  4. Being competitor oriented and not audience oriented, always try to be better than competitors without regardless the audience.
  5. Showing negative traits. To build a good brand / image, we should exude positive energy.

There is so much that we can learn and explore in digital branding for political campaign. As a new approach in politics, the future strategy of digital branding for political campaign will need a deeper understanding of psychology, social, politics, and technology.

Author: Dody Kurniawan (Asc. Art Director)