Logos and color schemes are among the first things that come to mind when we think about campaign branding, but the visual itself is far from the most important piece, according to Isaac Wright, a partner at FSSG and Terrain Media Group.
“Brands aren’t just visual,” said Wright. “We’re beyond a logo when we talk about brands. We’re talking about the identity of who that candidate is and why they’re running. What are the values-based convictions that have compelled them at this time to put their name out there in this political climate to work for the common good?”
While the visual components of the brand are crucial to creating something that’s cohesive, the starting point shouldn’t be things like color and typeface. The starting point for campaigns, emphasized Wright, should be getting to grips with what the candidate stands for and why. The visual representation comes later and ideally reinforces that identity.
“It starts with the candidate,” Wright said. “It starts with that cause, with understanding it. We as consultants, we’re not making up the story, not if we’re doing our job well. We’re helping that person tell their story.”
At his firm, said Wright, strategists work through a multi-stage narrative process that starts with a series of lengthy interviews with the candidate. The goal is ensuring they have enough information to prepare a complete and thorough narrative that tells the candidate’s story in the most relatable way possible.
Another important creative consideration for the ’22 cycle: crafting ads that can actually break through the excess of political communication that voters will be exposed to between now and November.
“There’s got to be something that is arresting, that grabs their attention and gives you the opportunity to hold it,” said Wright. “And then you’ve got to have that authentic, emotive communication that can hold it for the length of the ad. Sometimes I think that we underestimate the importance of emotive communication married to values-based communication. If we can put those two things together, then we can really make a difference in a short ad.”