April 18, 2016

Letters to a first time campaigner

Letters to a first time campaigner

# theddyladislaus # rosalindanthony #eriniaperalta #yuritziacosta

Dear Campaign Manager,

If you are reading this, you have probably embarked on one of the most thrilling experiences of your career – that of a Digital Political Campaign Manager. Let me start off by welcoming you into the art of winning elections.
We, Majoritarians, made it our mission to act as voice givers for both politicians and voters, narrowing the communication gap and building bridges through strategy, creative ideas and technological breakthroughs. Our means to success lie in the people we hire, train and empower. There is no surprise Campaign Managers and their teams can truly make the difference between win and defeat. While there is no such thing as a perfect campaign, how we prepare and how we act during the campaign will make us either winners or losers.
So let’s shed some light on what it takes to be a successful campaigner….

When it comes to success, there are many recipes and secret ingredients. What you need for a political campaign to be successful is passion, knowledge, some more passion, maybe add a bit more passion, commitment and yes, passion.

Books will tell you that a Digital Campaign Manager is in charge of planning, implementation and coordination, overseeing all aspects of the digital campaign including day-to-day operations, resource management, technology implementation, media, education and everything in-between. A campaigner myself, I’m not really turned on by such a sharp job description, but really see it as the ‘back and front bone’ of a campaign.

Unlike 9 to 6 conventional desk-bound roles, that of a Campaign Manager boils down to staying in touch in real time to events sometimes unfolding in different parts of the world. This entails overcoming cultural and time-space barriers, and driving change on unfamiliar grounds.

Long-established skills aside, a great Campaign Manager uses one’s knowledge, personal experience, anticipation power and instinct to divide and conquer, grasping what makes voters tick and opponents crack, and acting like a big-league player you are!

The ball is in your court
As a Campaign Manager, you may find yourself at crossroads, and here is a diagram to tell you more about what I mean.

Majoritas Iteration Wheel
Now, let’s go a little bit more in depth. Every campaign starts off with the discovery/kick-off stage (1). Pretty straight forward, this is the ‘getting to know’ phase when you ought to do your initial research about the candidate, the party and the opposition, as well as mapping the local political context and the available resources. In a few days, I’m going to send you the kick-off form we have developed.

The aces up your sleeve

Having put together the first pieces of the campaign puzzle, you can move on to the assessment phase (2). Going by the principle of ‘what gets measured, gets managed’, this phase will give you valuable insights on your candidate and his/ her team, personality traits, working habits, leadership style and success predictability. To let you in on a little secret, we are now working on putting together this assessment kit and turning it into our internal and external core asset. At this point, you have a rather clear idea about who you are dealing with and what resources you have available at both ends to start preparing your deliverables. Not to bore you with already super-familiar notions like campaign stages and timelines, I’ll jump to what I consider one of the best and easy-to-use tools in terms of managing team roles and responsibility – the RACI matrix (3). You should always have this by your side, visible throughout the campaign and distributed to everyone involved. Here’s a simple simulation. Have a look and let’s elaborate on this model if you feel the need.

Majoritas RACI Matrix

At your end, you are extra-organized, well informed, and backed up by a strong ready-for-action team, but what happens if your candidate’s team looks like it’s still testing the waters with no clear purpose yet? Digital jargon specialists, creative minds and tech enthusiasts, we need to keep in mind that online political campaigning is not in everyone’s CV. Don’t be afraid to tell a client his team might need a bit of mentoring, whether is digital communication tips and tricks, platform training or guidelines for the candidate’s volunteers. Do keep an open mind as training is a two-way learning process (4).

A personal piece of advice
To sum it all up, be completely in the know with every project phase, aligned to the strategy and in constant communication with both the client’s and your teams, respectively. It is crucial to have the big picture and maintain a long-term focus while taking small realistic steps that can bring about results in real time. Do keep an open mind and don’t hold back from trying something new. Be innovative from time to time, always deliver what you promised, and don’t forget that our clients expect us to bring enthusiasm to their team and the overall campaign.

And since I’ve probably left you wanting for more… Until next week! Stay tuned for insights on how to work with a research company, collect and analyze data and present your findings to the client.

Stay awesome and win the election!