• Sarah Robinson

Fierce Loyalty and Campaign 2012

Because today is Election Day in the US, I think it’s a great day to talk about how the Fierce Loyalty model works with a political campaign. This is NOT a partisan piece, so if your looking for party bashing, keep moving.

Fierce Loyalty Building Block #1 – The Frame (or Common Interest)

A political campaign is always built around a common interest. Sometime that common interest is positive (hey! let’s do something awesome!), negative (hey! We really hate these others guys!) or built around the personality of a candidate (hey! This candidate is awesome!). Most often is it a mix of all of the above.

The best campaigns are crystal clear about the common interest that will galvanize their troops. Here’s the tricky part: sometimes the common interest is overtly expressed (hey! Let’s get the bozos out of office!) and sometimes the real common interest is hidden underneath what is being overtly expressed (Hey! This candidate is awesome – and we really hate the bozos who are in office.) to make it sound more positive.

Fierce Loyalty Building Block #2 – People Who Share this Common Interest

Political campaigns cast big broad nets to locate the people who might share the common interest they are putting forth. They leave no stone unturned. As you know if you’ve ever gotten a phone call from a campaign you’d never support in one million years who assumes that you are a devoted member of the community.

Campaigns look everywhere for potential supporters. And if they feel like they’re coming up short, they cast the net even wider by offering up “leading thoughts” such as “Did you know that that other guy hasn’t said whether he’s stopped beating his children?” Never mind that no one ever said that he DOES beat his children. But now the seed is planted and people are wondering. And that wondering might lead them to their campaign.

Fierce Loyalty Building Block #3 – People Who Have The Need for a Community

Now that the net is cast as far as they can throw it, it’s time to sort out who really wants a community. These are the people all campaigns are really after. If they can draw a potential supporter into the actual campaign community, they are on the path to making them Fiercely Loyal.

Specifically, they are looking for people who need:

1) Belonging – They want to belong to a cause or a movement that is bigger than they are. 2) Recognition – They want their voice heard about something that really matters to them. 3) Safety – They want to feel safe in a group of people who share similar beliefs.

Fierce Loyalty Building Block #4 – A Community Structure that Works

Now that they’ve found the people who need a community, they offer up a community structure that works. This is the structure that keeps them engaged and makes them feel important.

Here are the three non-negotiable elements:

1) Connection points – Supporters not only want to be connected to the campaign, they want to be connected to each other. 2) Support mechanisms – Campaign supporters want to support the candidate AND they want to support each other. 3) Predictability –  Supporters need to know the specific what, when and how of a campaign so they know what do.

Just getting this far takes a Herculean effort. Which is why many many MANY campaigns stop right here. If all this has come together, the work is done. Now we just need to get out the vote, right? WRONG.

The campaigns that seem to develop a tidal wave of raving fans and supporters who will work like dogs for their candidates take their community to the next level with

Fierce Loyalty Building Block #5 – Community Evolution to Fierce Loyalty

There are three qualities that set a high energy, wildly competitive campaign apart from the also-rans. Campaigns that understand these qualities and do everything in their power to foster them are the campaigns you hear about.

These qualities are:

Pride – Supporters are proud to be a visible part of the campaign. They have the t-shirts, yard signs, bumper stickers. They want everyone to know they are part of the campaign.

Trust – They not only trust the candidate and the campaign, they trust the entire campaign community to have their backs.

Passionate – They feel a passionate connection to the candidate, to the campaign and to the community. They define who they are, in part, by this relationship.

The community that evolves to this point is the community that goes door to door, makes telephone calls, mans campaign headquarters, works the polls, organize the ground game – anything and everything that must be done to ensure victory.

At the end of the day, the campaigns that inspire Fierce Loyalty in the largest number of people and that build the largest Fiercely Loyal community, are the campaigns that carry the day. We’ll have to stay tuned to tonight’s results to see how that plays out for the 2012 Election Season.

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