Utilising techniques used by political parties.

In any election, whether its statutory or non-statutory, candidates who put themselves forward for a position of responsibility must connect with the voters and be representative of their needs.  UK Engage works with candidates from numerous sectors and has administered elections for a diverse range of organisations, ranging from NHS Governor elections; elections for social housing, professional bodies and institutions to university student union elections.

Today, depending on the type of election, candidates can present themselves and their views in a number of ways in order to improve their chances of election. UK Engage looks at some of the ways candidates engage with the electorate, focussing on how channels of communication and techniques from the political arena, both in the UK and in Europe, are being adapted to play a part in non-statutory elections.

Written candidate statements:

In the world of corporate elections the written word is often the first impression an election candidate has to influence a voter’s decision. With any candidate statement that aims to persuade a decision, the message is first and foremost the most important part. However, as statements are published verbatim, candidates must also pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation in order to give that great first impression.

The way a written statement looks is also important. This is where your electoral services provider can help the organisation you are standing for to design engaging candidate statements. UK Engage is always looking for new and exciting ways to present this information and have many sources of inspiration. Recently we have researched how European political parties go about presenting their candidate information, which often incorporates a more creative, less formal approach than here in the UK.

Video candidate statements:

A great way for candidates to show their personality is through personal video statements. Often carried out under an organisation’s guidelines, videos can be produced at a relatively low cost and can be broadcast to a large audience via the internet. They are often used alongside an online nomination process.   As some organisations gravitate towards moving much of the election process online, this medium presents candidates with the opportunity to inject passion and personality into their biographies to enthuse and convince the internet voter.  Videos can be uploaded onto video channels such as YouTube – a channel which has long been the medium for political parties to express their views and canvass votes.

Social media:

The level of social media activity a candidate for election is allowed to engage in depends on an organisation’s social media policy.  Where allowed, microblogging is used in order to present candidates to potential voters.  Sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Instagram have all been used to present candidates to voters in the political arena.  Indeed, social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook were used heavily in Barack Obama’s 2008 US presidential campaign.  As with political parties it offers a way to further project manifestos, personality traits, thoughts and opinions.

Presenting candidates for board elections is down to both the individual candidate and the organisation for which they intend to stand; both have an input into how they are perceived and understood by voters.  In order to prepare candidates to present themselves in the best possible way UK Engage often advises organisations to offer training to candidates.

Training can help with how to best portray a candidate’s skills and experiences and also to better understand the role for which they have nominated themselves. For the organisations, UK Engage advises clients to explore channels of communication which will work for them in terms of budget and objectives and which will work for their candidates in terms of exposure to, and engagement of voters.

Contact UK Engage:

Tel: 0161 209 4808
Email: enquiries@uk-engage.org

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