Political marketing has been an established domain, drawing interest of researchers as well as political professionals around the globe. With the recent global success of politicians, who have never been into politics before and who won voters by promising to run politics the same way like business, political marketing opens up for new lessons to be learned.
The very first basic lesson is the story of communication, which traditional political parties have yet to fully adopt. We are talking about the ancient rules of communication. Any communication is personal by definition – people need to talk to people. It is not the organizations (parties), who talk to their electorates. It is always individual candidates and their ability to have a chat with their potential voters. From that perspective, traditional media are naturally more of a communication barrier, which stands in the way if political leaders want to bond with their audiences.
No wonder, neglecting or even fighting the traditional media and utilizing the new media such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter to send messages has become the winning formula for the new generation of political elites in several countries. Social media messages can be fully controlled and adjusted to meet the needs of their listeners. In spite of traditional media clearly presenting opposing views or even shedding bad light on certain candidates, voters receiving constant updates directly from their political heroes may exhibit selective perception and deny information supplied by a different entity. Messages filtered through traditional media and authored by journalists do not have quite the same power as the direct communication with a candidate. Becoming an opinion leader has been easier than ever before. Political marketing strategists gear their campaign towards attracting large numbers of direct subscribers to their politician’s new media channels.
Traditionally, political marketers advised candidates and parties mainly on the most effective and efficient ways to communicate their programs, in a way they were assisting politicians to identify the right unique selling propositions which then were transmitted through the most appropriate media mix. Long it has been known for businesses, however, that rational arguments have been much more effective when delivered through emotional experiences. In business, many originally product-driven companies talk now about emotions and emotional elements associated with their brands. In politics, more recently, a new generation of aspiring politicians (be it in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, or the United States of America) has given up on programs and rational arguments and started focusing primarily on emotional drivers throughout their campaigns.
Connecting with the public through strong shared emotional experiences such as fear, hatred, anger, or love, has proven very powerful and has (again) been enabled by the direct communication between candidates and followers through the new media. New media have been platforms which allow candidates to build relatively closed groups (although almost anyone can sign up) and create a strong sense of belongingness within discussion groups, where the sentiment has been shared. Traditional mainstream media, in spite of being sometimes labeled according to their prevailing political orientation (as leftist, rightest, centric, or liberal for instance), do provide some space for a balanced politically-correct discussion and therefore do not create such strong internally bound communities.
On top of that, traditional mainstream media have become a little wordy to the needs of the new millennium, where information needs to be short, crisp and to the point. Readers consume information according to headlines, ability and desire to read between lines have necessarily vacated their positions to the need to go through a large amount of information in a limited amount of time. In order to keep track of all information sources, readers simply have no time to be concerned with the details. In most countries, in the meantime, tabloids with little text and large pictures have become the most widely distributed newspaper.
Those, who become masterminds of the new media political marketing, will sooner or later make their way into general marketing textbooks. Keep an eye on the world politics and wait till the next country’s leader adopts the strategy focused on easy-to-digest emotions-based marketing!
Nové pojetí politického marketingu: Nová média, osobní komunikace a emoce
Politický marketing je ustáleným odvětvím marketingu, které je však z mnoha hledisek nahlíženo s pozdviženým obočím. Aktuální volební úspěch politických kandidátů, kteří měli dosud velmi omezené zkušenosti s veřejným působením, však dává promyšlenému politickému marketingu nový význam. Silné emoce, které jsou prostřednictvím nových médií přímo sdíleny s potenciálními voliči, se stávají mnohem silnější a působivější zbraní v politickém boji než tradiční více či méně racionální volební programy prezentující věcné argumenty. Nejedná se o pojetí nové či neznámé: emoce jsou silnou zbraní v marketingové komunikaci a nová média jsou dobrým sluhou v jejich přímém sdílení s relevantním publikem.