Now that 2017 is here – and we’ve had two months to recover from what happened nationally on November 8 – we are ready to go forth and kick some @ss for our progressive clients! But first, we thought we’d share the three big lessons we learned from the wins and losses of 2016:
Lesson 1: Message Simplicity.
While we flinch at the content, Donald Trump’s message was short, clear and clean. He mastered the art of boiling down his positions into short, pithy catch-phrases like “make America great again” and “drain the swamp.” The Trump campaign didn’t care that immigration policy is complicated – they went with “build the wall” and let the details fall aside. In the lightning fast online world, Trump’s messages were so simple to retweet and share that they flooded our ever-shrinking attention spans and drowned out Hillary Clinton’s well-thought out strategies. So even though she’s far more qualified to lead, her message didn’t break through. Our take-away?
KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid is even more important than ever.
Lesson 2: Authenticity.
Colorado’s minimum wage campaign was able to move the winning message by having real spokespeople from around the state to be compelling voices for raising the wage. Workers earning less than $12/hour, supportive business owners and respected economists around the state made the “fair, smart and modest” case for Amendment 70, heard by voters because they had “skin in the game.” It’s clear that authenticity is what our audiences crave, so it’s up to us to engage in a real away across all our platforms.
Lesson 3: Truth.
There was a virtual avalanche of falsehoods during the cycle, in Colorado and across the nation. Fake news was so pervasive online this election that there are now browser plug-ins to filter it out for you. NPR released a 12 point article on how to spot it yourself. The good news in Colorado is voters didn’t seem to buy the lies – Rachel Zenzinger DIDN’T travel to China on the public dime and research shows that modest minimum wage increases DO stimulate local economies, they don’t tank them. But trust in institutions like TV & newspapers is at an all-time low, so voters are turning to their computer screens for the latest information because it’s the medium they interact with every day so it’s up to us to continue building our digital presence
It is our job to create clean and “real” communications that appeal to what voters know to be true. So let’s use the lessons we learned in 2016 in the next 5 months to expand opportunity in Colorado, over the next 23 months to change Congress and in four years to Dump Trump!