Does your brand need a ballot box question?

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My first career was in politics in my native country of Canada.  My political background has helped me clearly see that social media is about people first and technology second.  My background has also helped set up a point of view when navigating and understanding the ever changing new media landscape.

In politics, elections are make or break affairs.  The deciding moment is when the voter enters the polling booth.  It’s inside the polling booth that political strategists are hoping they’ve done enough to sway the voter to support their party.  One way they attempt to do this is by constructing a ‘ballot box question’.

The ballot box question is typically an issue/concern of greatest importance to the target voter.  By voting for a particular party, voters are in essence stating who best meets their needs and wants.  What’s in it for me?  Typically ballot box questions focus on the economy, healthcare and education.

That’s why a lot of political advertising is negative.  The more crap you heap on your opponent, the less likely voters will perceive the candidate/party to answer their ballot box question.  It’s also an opportunity for strategists to reinforce their intended ballot box question in the minds of the voters.

Is the ‘ballot box question’ construct relevant to brands?

Research conducted within Facebook, Twitter and MySpace shows the ‘moment of truth’ or the ‘moment to like’ is largely the result of a special offer/deal and/or if the user is an existing customer.

A special offer/deal works well in the short-term to incentivise a user to engage.  What happens in the absence of a special deal/offer?  This is where creating a ‘ballot box question’ could help brands reach out to existing customers with the real possibility of building a long-term connection.

In a recent post that appeared on, Mike Henley shares the following seven points that I think would be a great starting point for a brand developing a ballot box question.

  1. What ideas are my target audiences talking about?
  2. What idea does my brand stand for?
  3. What idea can my organization rally around?
  4. What is the core centralizing idea behind our value proposition?
  5. How can ideas be used to inject passion and emotion into my brand?
  6. How can ideas change perceptions and relationships among key stakeholders?
  7. How can ideas be used to create a cohesive marketing platform?

In an effort to build a long-term connection with existing customers, corporations should start to explore how elements of political based campaigns could enhance how they execute social based campaigns.

How successful do you think brands are in creating and communicating a distinct ‘like’ proposition to earn the attention of voters consumers?

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