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Four message strategies


Disciplines > Politics > Messages > Four message strategies

Message | Timing and intensity | Mobilisation and persuasion | Opportunity | See also


Here are four message-related strategies, all of which you might want to consider for you political campaign.

Message strategy

The message strategy of a campaign decides what messages to project and the sequence in which they are put out.

In this content-and-sequence planning, what is effectively being produced is a staggered storyline. This can be used to explore themes, develop characters (including the politician, allies and opponents) and build tension towards the election climax.

Timing and intensity strategy

The timing and intensity strategy adds to the storyline, ensuring the sequential messages are delivered for maximum effectiveness at the right moments.

The timing of message delivery is not only important in sequential terms but also in aligning the message to external events, such as political rallies, holidays and opponent's actions. Intensity of message usually costs more, for example by putting on a big gathering or media push, so the high points need to be carefully selected.

Mobilisation and persuasion strategy

In the mobilisation and persuasion strategy, individual segments of voters are identified and the routes to persuading these selected. Groups here are targeted either because they are large and decide in the same way or because they are influential in helping to persuade other groups.

For example a religious group might be selected as it is large and is known to be very cohesive in its voting. A campaign is mounted both to meet personally with the leaders of this group and to promote generally pro-religious themes.

Opportunity strategy

Lastly, the opportunity strategy addresses the fact that you cannot always plan for all events and that opportunities may arise to reach audiences and score points against your opponents.

For example, a party retains a reserve fund which it uses to send new messages out when new and damaging information is found about the opponent's past or when the opponent does the same. In doing so, they weave the new threads into the overall storyline, retaining and strengthening the consistency of the main story.

See also



Denton and Woodward, (1999). Political Campaigning in America, Westport, CT: Praeger


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