Disclaimer: This blog is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and does not create or intend to create an attorney-client relationship. This blog post should never be used to replace the advice of your personal attorney.

Businesses can learn a great deal from political marketing. Former president Trump used two Twitter accounts for sharing different political messages with different audiences. The official POTUS (president of the United States) account was directed to the general population. In contrast, his very frequently used personal account appealed to his core constituents by sharing not only traditional political messages, but also his personal thoughts, observations, reactions and commentary.

Beginning in 2007, former president Obama’s use of social media created a tectonic shift. His campaigns comprehensively and creatively used online forums including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Reddit to present Obama’s positions, address issues, create awareness about his campaign, appeal for donations, etc.

What Can Your Business Learn from Political Marketing?

Find your target audience: On which social media platform are your potential customers most likely to be found? 

Understand your potential customers: Just like effective political marketing, determine what it is about your products and services that matters to your potential customers.

Keep it simple: The best political advertising often keeps it simple by seeking to establish a strong slogan or even shorter, an acronym. Whether the marketing is for a politician or a business, the best slogans are short, convey the essence of something and are  “sticky” or catchy.   

Risk vs. Reward

While it’s uncommon, some businesses with a national presence choose to undertake politically-oriented marketing. For a company or brand, running a marketing campaign which is even subtly much less overtly political presents great risk. Political beliefs and affiliations usually are strongly-held, so properly appealing to those beliefs may produce strong positive (and long-lasting) results. However, for almost every political or special interest group for which an appeal is directed, there is the “other side,” that is. an opposing group. Seeking the loyalty of your target group may well strongly alienate that other side. That alienation leads to things like Twitter posts urging a boycott of your business, picketers in front of your headquarters, etc.. Once a business is labelled as pro-such-and-such, that label can be very difficult to shed. So a very careful risk-reward analysis is necessary. Assuming your goal is to maximize profits (as opposed to  being a “political player,”), unless you are certain the rewards strongly outweigh the risks, it’s probably best to stay on the political sideline and off the politically-oriented marketing playing field. 

 Additionally, political marketing is time-sensitive; what is timely and fresh today, oftens becomes stale and irrelevant fairly rapidly. 

Read more on The National Do Not Call List.