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Will The Conservative Party’s investment in social media swing the vote?

socia2Will The Conservative Party’s investment in social-media campaigning make a difference on polling day?

If 2010’s poll was the social-media election, 2015’s could be dubbed, as it has been by Facebook, the ‘conversational election’. This reflects how the two-way exchange between voters and political parties has hit unprecedented levels, powered by social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The Conservative Party has made the latter a key part of its campaigning, spending more than £100,000 a month on the network.

The party clearly understands the benefits of online, relaunching its YouTube channel in March and creating a playlist titled ‘Find out more about our plan’, which attracted 11,000 views. Nonetheless, much of the Tories’ message on social has been unashamedly anti-Labour, with tweets during the leaders’ debates focused on mocking Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Wee the People & Russell Brand – a different way to engage young voters.

I do feel sorry for editors of the newspapers at the moment, there really is no spice to write about. Well maybe except Ed popping into to see Russell for a chat in his kitchen.

Brand’s Twitter followers have gone up to 9.58m since that interview and he has more followers than all the parties put together! So who is really more influential to younger people in this so called ‘social media election’? Brand or Miliband?

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Minor parties see social surge in #GE2015

The figures don’t lie. Since the start of April the percentage increases in those following the twitter handles of Nicola Sturgeon, Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood, the leaders of the SNP, Green Party and Plaid Cymru have grown phenomenally compared to those of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, with @Nigel_Farage seeing an increase of 14%.

The total increase in Twitter followers for leaders of the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru parties has been 220%.

So what else can we discover by delving further into the social data?

Brands have more power than politicians. Time to use it wisely

The dictum goes that ‘markets are amoral’. But tax-avoiding global corporations and a never-ending parade of City villains (take a bow, Deutsche Bank and The Hound of Hounslow) suggest that markets aren’t exactly amoral, writes Marc Cave, strategy partner at brand creative consultancy Green Cave People.

They’re immoral. Immoral markets call for moral influence. But where on earth could this come from?

Not from Messrs Cameron, Miliband and co. Sadly, the electorate would ascribe greater moral authority to weasels in a brothel. (On Question Time, Piers Morgan mentioned  “the complete farce of this election” in which “none of the parties have any leader inspiring any confidence in any one of us…”). As each party fails to build trust or even clarity in their election marketing campaigns, a thought struck me. Politicians can’t do marketing but could marketing do politics? Could brands fill the moral void left behind by politicians’ failures?

Which of the political parties are telling a winning story?

The election campaign is simply the final furious sprint in a longer race to establish a credible and compelling narrative, says Ed Woodcock, head of narrative, Aesop Agency.  

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But it’s a tricky task, given politicians operate in a highly mediated environment where their messages are often not communicated directly, and swirling counter narratives actively try to distort or invalidate their central story.

Our new research explores how well the main political parties are communicating with the electorate. 1500 UK adults (18+ and nationally representative) were asked to identify the main political parties against a number of criteria to establish which parties are communicating most successfully with the electorate.

A foreign assessment of the election advertising campaigns

To declare yourself ‘politically objective’ in your own country is a bold claim to make. Though you may plead neutrality in terms of affiliation to a party, the reality is that by engaging with politics you are opening yourself up to the nuances of political branding. Even if we do not notice it, we are forming associations with each party every time we see a poster, watch a video or read an article.

As Head of Talent for The North Alliance – a collective of creative agencies from Scandinavia – I’ve been asked to analyse the advertising campaigns of the UK election, from the ‘outsider’ perspective of a neutral Norwegian advertising expert. In this post I’ll look at the political posters used by some of the parties and assessing the messages they do, or don’t, convey. Read more of A foreign assessment of the election advertising campaigns

Who is following who? Why politicians aren’t winning at social media

_79167164_79166701There have been a lot of posts on the UK’s timeline since the last election, as the world has been updated time and time again.

In the wake of May 2010, Instagram blinged into existence and the iPad went to market. Since then, Broadband stopped coming on a CD and started being superfast, and Russell Brand’s primary focus went from ‘dinkles’ to the theories of Engels.

Scrub forward to 2015 and quite frankly, its Minority Report out there – drones, commercial space travel, driverless cars, Dick Tracy watches. Digital isn’t just part of our lives; it is our lives, interwoven into every one of our interactions and experiences. The future isn’t just here; it happened yesterday.

There is no doubt that this is a fully digital election: live polls, tweetable Dimbleby debates and even election Spotify playlists. Crucially however, the best of this activity is coming not from the political parties themselves but done in spite of them.

The media, satirists like Brand and Al Murray, and moreover the public, have embraced the possibilities of a multi-dimensional social universe – whilst the mainstream parties appear to remain analogue. And their approach isn’t winning them many friends. It is no accident that while Ed Miliband has 451,000 Twitter followers, he is in the shadow of millennial Joey Essex with 3.2 million. So why is it that a man who invented the word ‘reem’ is gathering support a Prime Ministerial candidate can only begin to ‘reem’ of? Read more of Why politicians aren’t winning at social media

Lib Dems use geotargeting to reach swing voters

The Liberal Democrats are hoping to influence swing voters by showing them information about their constituency and candidates when they visit the party’s website.

cleggcropped2 Voters visiting will see news stories relevant to their local candidate’s campaign, after the party forged a partnership with geolocation specialists Digital Element.

For example, someone visiting the Lib Dem site from a Haringey-based IP address will see information on Lynne Featherwood, candidate for Hornsey and Woodgreen.

Politics on the buses.

All the political parties have been using ‘battle buses’ to spread the word during the pre-election run up. Posters, social media, PR – nothing beats good old face to face contact for influencing voters – apparently F2F is 100x more influential than anything else. Well that’s if you believe what politician’s say!


Manifestos for marketers: Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP promises to brands

logos2sWe’ve read the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green and Ukip manifestos – collectively more than 450 pages of policy, posturing, and guff – so you don’t have to. Here are some of the key points related to marketing.

Having already covered the launch of the main three political parties’ manifestos – in chronological order of release (Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems) – we will start with the salient marketing-related points covered by marginals the Greens and UKIP.