01.29.16

Let’s Get Political (or not)

The 2016 Presidential Election is in November and content creators will be tempted to incorporate political themes or ideas into their messaging or brand campaigns. While these tropes can be a useful way to connect your brand to a hot topic, they can also land you in hot water with your customers or constituents if done incorrectly.

Before planning politically themed content, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do people expect my brand to be political?
  • Has my brand successfully associated with a political issue in the past?
  • Does my brand stand to gain anything by jumping on this hot trend?
  • Do we risk angering some of our audience with this content?

If you’re comfortable with the answers to these questions, proceed with caution.

Use party-neutral language. Unless you’re an actual political organization, you likely have customers from all along the political spectrum. Using language, colors and imagery that does not favor a particular political party keeps your audience from associating you with a party/position/person they don’t agree with and can help keep your critics quiet.

Support political participation, not a specific position. Everyone might not agree on who is the best candidate, but few people will fault your brand for supporting general political participation. Providing information about voter registration or encouraging people to participate in an election is an easy, non-controversial way to incorporate political themes into your messaging.

Keep political content light and limited to light-hearted channels. Maybe an expensive ad buy with a political theme is too risky for your brand, but a politically-themed social media post isn’t. For example, write candidate-neutral tweets like, “Our platform is Customers First” or “We’ll never flip-flop on our returns policy.”

When in doubt, make “Campaign Free” your rallying cry, acting as a “no politics zone” to offer your customers and readers a break from the constant drumbeat of media coverage and political advertising with your content.

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