Humorous spoof on trying to remake BP and plastics into “green” companies that are concerned about the environment. Creating an effective message is not simply developing a clever public relations stunt that creates a fancy logo and uses poll tested words and “poof” miraculously everyone thinks differently. There is a mistake, oftentimes, where people think that if you simply say something enough times everyone will believe it – but there are millions of dollars that have been wasted in that attempt. If the product, or candidate and campaign, are not genuine and authentic or values based or care about people – simply “saying it is so” does not in fact make it so.
Which of these two conversations would you rather be in? How often do politicians talk to us like the first conversation? How often do we talk to voters like the first conversation? What is a message? It ’s a conversation with voters. The qualities of a good conversation are the same qualities of a good message -- something that’s engaging, thought-provoking, and moves you to action. What makes for an effective conversation? Brainstorm answers.
Remember it is not your message – it is your audience ’s message. If they do not understand, or connect, it doesn't’t really matter what you think or want. We are always better off understanding where our audience is coming from, and how they might respond. It is always about them, and what they need.
Before you start trying to come up with what you ’re trying to say, first you need to define who you are trying to say it to. Who, specifically, is your audience? You can have more than one -- external vs. internal messages
What makes a message compelling? E.g. story – values – matters to people – voters can see themselves in it.
Paul used a variation of this message for all of his campaigns – the bad guys would change depending on who was particularly out of favor during the election cycle. Paul also used to say: “I don’t represent the Rockefellers. I represent the little fillers.”
District is Northwest Wisconsin, held by a long term Democratic Congressman – Dave Obey - who had been labeled “out-of-touch” with his District (his housemate, 34 year incumbent Jim Oberstar ended up losing in the district next door in MN). Duffy was a Tea Party candidate, but successfully portrayed himself as a long-rolling, outdoors liking, regular guy. Sean P. Duffy (born October 3, 1971) is an American politician and former sports commentator and reality television personality. He first entered public life as a cast member on The Real World: Boston and 2002's Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, before going on to serve as district attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin and the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 7th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He started log rolling at age 5 and speed climbing (sprinting up 60 and 90 foot poles) at 13. He holds two speed-climbing titles.  As a teen, Duffy competed in the National Lumberjack Championships and is a three-time world champion in the 90-foot speed climb and has several other titles. He still competes in local and national competitions.
Two ads. The first is a devastatingly effective ad run by Jerry Brown in the US California Governor ’s race in 2010. He was running against Meg Whitman, who was the founder of E-Bay and had spent $170 million of her own money to defeat Brown. Brown was the former governor from the 1970s, who had gone on to run for President (unsuccessfully in 1992) and then was Mayor of Oakland and most recently Attorney General and is now elected Governor again. Whitman ’s strong suit was her business experience (California is suffering massive budget deficits and service cuts) and her outsider status in an election year that was all about not being an insider, and being a fiscal conservative. This ad makes the devastating comparison between Meg Whitman and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who was the current Governor and is exceedingly unpopular) – and in effect defines Whitman as a continuation of the current failures rather than change – and Brown, the consummate politician, became ironically the change agent. Joe Sestak in his underdog bid to defeat Arlen Specter in the PA Democratic Primary in 2010. This is a devastating use of a quote to define Specter who was always a maverick Republican (who was widely supported by Democrats in his previous runs) as a Bush-Palin Republican and rank opportunist. It happens to be more effective because it is true. Sestak started going up in the polls after this ad played and he ended up pulling off a huge upset only to be narrowly defeated by the Republican Toomey in the General election.
Ask people to brainstorm the two messages – jot answers on flip charts Pull together a sample of the two messages and ask – who were the different audiences? Which do you think was more effective – why? What is missing?
This is what is meant by a conversation. In a good conversation, the head goes nodding up and down in agreement with what is being said.
Developing and Communicating an Effective Message
Message = Core argument of Campaign or Organizing Effort <ul><li>It answers the question “Why?” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why does it matter? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why should I care? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
<ul><li>Message ≠ A slogan </li></ul><ul><li>Message ≠ 10-point plan </li></ul>
An Effective Message is: Credible <ul><li>Content – what we say </li></ul><ul><li>Messenger – who says it </li></ul>
Content is Important – Messenger Matters, Too Bush v. Obama
An Effective Message is: Compelling to your audience
“ I don’t represent the big oil companies, I don’t represent the big pharmaceutical companies, I don’t represent the Enron's of this world, but you know what, they already have great representation in Washington. It’s the rest of the people that need it.” -- Paul Wellstone 2002 Campaign Speech
Example: Sean Duffy (R) – 2010 WI 7 th Compelling Messages are Personal Bringing the Ax to DC Get America Rolling Again
An Effective Message is: Concise and Clear (and free of jargon)
“ de-linking compensatory funding from the basic per-pupil funding formula” … is concise but not clear
An Effective Message is: Contrasting (and offers a choice)
Elections are Defining the Opponent: Anti-Whitman: Echo Anti-Specter: Switch
Message is Values Based “Too many progressives make the mistake of believing people are galvanized around ten-point programs. They are not! People respond according to their sense of right and wrong. They respond to a leadership of values.” -- US Senator Paul Wellstone
Message Box What we are saying about ourselves What we are saying about them What they are saying about us What they are saying about themselves
Example 2010: Democrats v Republicans Dem on Dem Democrat Positive Msg Dem on Rep Democrat Negative Msg Rep on Rep Republican Positive Msg Rep on Dem Dem Negative Msg
Example: 2010 Democrats v. Republican 2010 We’ ve made real progress given the worst financial crisis in decades (and it would have been worst if Republicans were in charge). Two years ago they drove the car off the cliff – don ’t give the steering wheel back to them. And by the way they are social extremists and will kill social security. We can do it better and focus on what works for you = jobs, jobs, jobs (+ lower taxes and less intrusive government). They promised hope and change – how is it working for you? Obama = failed promise - failed change – failed big government and no jobs.
Successful grassroots campaign message: People feel that the campaign reflects their interests and values , and they take action based on that belief! Summary