Tag Archives: communications

Blue walls to giant cannons and all the memes in between

Love them or loathe them – those victory stunts should teach Lib Dem campaigners one thing: clear, simple communications will be key to success at the next election.

There seems to be a new dividing line in Lib Dem WhatsApp groups: between those who are excited for each new stunt, and those hiding behind the sofa, wondering when they are safe to emerge.

Whichever camp you might be in, there is a serious point we all must take from these stunts. They cut through. But why?

Money-can’t-buy coverage

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but these stunts are probably not aimed at Lib Dem party faithful. They are designed to captivate photojournalists, meme developers, social content writers.

These stunts achieve what so many who work in brand communications crave – wall to wall coverage complete with a key message. I cannot count as a seasoned communications professional the number of times the ask has been summaried as “help us go viral”. Whilst there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, an authentic stunt with a clear message that links to your campaign and that is a bit fun, is the best way to get attention. Authentic really is key to success as without authenticity they flop. If you need proof beyond the political sphere, look at the plethora of Barbie stunts – some very small but all authentic and on-message.

The thing about these stunts is they have media hooked, they all want to know what the next Lib Dem celebration will be, what the photos will look like. This means media turn up, they give us more attention than they might otherwise and therefore we get more coverage.

For local parties, the same principle can be used for social channels or focus leaflets – if you make a simple point in a compelling manner, people will come back again and again. They will want to know what you have to say and you will be seen as an authority.

For all the jokes, the Blue Wall stunt did change the narrative. It introduced the phrase into media vernacular and made it clear, the Lib Dems were back.

Simplicity is key

I make this point as we’ve all seen those focus leaflets – three-line headlines with commas, sub-clauses followed by an article written in 8pt font face and full of every intricacy of a piece of planning policy. This is great for a certain section of Lib Dem members (not me) or an online article for those who are interested. Focus leaflets like this won’t win elections.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Communications will be key to success at the next election

The Lib Dems need skilled communicators for campaigns in all corners of the country.

Well over 25 years ago, Lib Dems in PR was set up to bring like-minded colleagues together to support the Liberal Democrats. Last November, we relaunched to bring a new generation of experts into the fold. The group, which has been an important support to the Lib Dems, is back with big ambitions and new faces.

Who are we? We are a network of communications professionals who share a determination for a more liberal and compassionate politics. Today, we have a membership of over 400 comms experts, covering the full range of disciplines. Not only has the political environment changed dramatically in the last two decades, but so too has the professional field of communications and we want to reflect that in our membership.

The Lib Dems in Comms has two primary purposes; a networking group for professionals in comms and PR to keep in touch with one another, and critically as a volunteer group providing volunteers for the party during general elections. Our members have helped scale up the press office operation with skilled professionals to manage the additional workload, when party coverage suddenly is meant to be on an even basis with Labour and the Tories. Our members also play pivotal roles in campaigns for candidates right across the UK.

We believe now is an important time to reemerge, and bring inspiring and talented communicators closer to the Lib Dems. After 13 years of the Conservative-led Government, we need a change. We are seeing a desire from voters for a liberal choice, whether in by-elections or this year’s stunning local elections results.

With a general election expected in 2024, it is vital the party is able to run a fully integrated campaign. And it’s vital that work starts now.

Behind every interview and every campaign is a team of communications professionals – whether that’s in interview prep, writing press releases, filming videos or designing social media content – and this is where we come in.

We have big ambitions. So, this is what we intend to do.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments
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