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Politics, social media and marketing

If I were in the running for the May 2015 Election, I know I would do things differently to some of the current politicians. Of course this would include a tax reduction specifically on Costa coffee (other barista services available) but, more importantly, I would highlight my own policies. Now, that may sound odd but, the sheer amount of campaigns impersonating competing parties rather than elaborating on their own stance is astonishing.

While this is very much linked to the high level of social media at play this time around, I remain sceptical and can’t help but question it as a technique. Like many, I will fully admit to quietly sniggering at the remixes on YouTube where the user (namely Cassetteboy – you’re welcome) has edited campaign speeches to match the words of popular songs. However, when a political party begin conceptualising tongue-in-cheek productions of their own, I feel very nauseous for the Election.

A viral video made by the Green Party representing fellow politicians as a boy band (oh yes, they sing) is, and should be, open to discussion for many reasons. As well as this, there are numerous print advertisements slating the opposing political parties.

Due to the trust in politician’s messages ‘severely lacking’ following the many recent scandals, a recent Marketing Week article suggested that the 2015 election marketing is likely to revert to ‘negative campaigning’ – and this is exactly what seems to have happened. Negative campaigning is trying to gain an advantage from cheap quips made against an opponent, emulating a maturity I recall seeing in the school playground or outside a club at 5 in the morning. It feels unprofessional and as if they have nothing more important to say about their own parties which, surely when planning to run a country, is a slight worry.

Politics and social media at its best was undoubtedly Barack Obama’s campaign. The way his campaigners generated an incredible amount of support was truly groundbreaking in the way of political campaigns. His team realised social media would create a new dialogue that would up user-engagement in the way of politics which, before these technology and psychology advances, had been a challenge. With his digital media budget around $47 million it was extensive to say the least but, as he consequently became President, I would hazard a guess this approach may have worked.

With Twitter and Facebook both convinced this year’s debate is steadily becoming ‘the first ‘conversational’ election’ (Marketing Week), social media has arguably never been so intrinsic to our lives. A study by Twitter on 3,000 of its users, revealed one in three (34%) of Britons aged between 18 and 34 changed their vote based on something they had read on the site. With statistics like this, no wonder 78% of MPs now have their very own Twitter account.

I will freely admit how this appeals. The idea of Obama practicing a speech in the mirror and taking selfies when bored (his most recent stunt) is brilliant. It is like he is a normal run-of-the-mill person; and this is why social media works. This concept is of course applicable to all businesses including yours, as having social media presence is beneficial for brand image. The brand of a politician, especially with all the campaigning, can feel very calculated and corporate. However as with a product brand, having that Twitter handle tweeting things your friend could’ve tweeted, the brand becomes a person. A person you can ‘follow’ and a person that could send you... wait for it... a direct message! While this influences users in ways they may not even know themselves, I do not believe mimicking other politicians is the best way to relate to an audience. It feels juvenile and ever so slightly malicious, both of which are not traits we need in our next Government. Maintaining a captive audience is difficult but technology has made it even easier to connect to a target market. As shown with Obama’s campaign, if you get this right, it can very much translate into a success. So if they start tweeting about their own policies, be that implementing tax-free coffee or not making cuts to the NHS, my interest levels will definitely rise...

Hello, by the way, my name is Jocelyn Harris. I am QualitySolicitors Knight Polson’s most recent employee (for bad or for worse!) and my role is that of a Marketing Executive. I am a recent graduate from Coventry University, it is here I fully enjoyed my study of Advertising and within this specifically the psychology-based modules. As you may have assumed from the preamble I survive on coffee, bizarre YouTube videos and business/media-related news. In my spare time I continue these interests alongside shopping and socialising, not forgetting all the while my internal countdown until the next Game of Thrones episode. I am ecstatic to have been offered such an amazing opportunity with QualitySolicitors Knight Polson and will continue to make the most of it.

If you have any media enquires, please do not hesitate to email me at I look forward to hearing from you!


Posted in: News

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