Election Campaigns: How Can Smaller Parties Gain More Visibility?


Welcome to Sekere’s Podcast, On this episode, the Sekere Team and our guests will be sharing talking about how smaller parties can gain more visibility.


Christiana: Welcome to Sekere News podcast… My name is Christiana and I’m from Sekere News, with me here today are my two guest hosts. Semira, she is a content developer for a communications firm. We have Emmanuel who is also a software engineer from a Communications firm.

Christiana:  Today on Sekere News, we are going to be talking about election campaigns. How can smaller parties gain more visibility? We will be hearing from our guests, their opinions, their advice, what they think these smaller parties can do to actually gain more visibility.

Christiana: We’re going to be using the Lagos governorship campaign for 2019 as a case study to talk about what these smaller parties can do.

Christiana: Before I start I would like to talk about how we had 45 candidates running for the position of a governor in Lagos state and out of that 45. I’m sure people can only name two or three people who they actually knew…

Christiana: From 3 different campaigns… We have Sanwo Olu, we have Jimi Agbaje, we have Pastor Adesanya,

Christiana: So yeah, so I don’t know if anybody knows any of that person who was running.

Emmanuel: No, not really… I think those were the most prominent ones. The only ones we can actually talk about.

Christiana: You see…And that’s like, just 1 out of 15… that’s the fraction which is very low.

Christiana: We can’t name them talk less of how many votes they had. So what can these small parties do to actually gain some visibility, to have us talking about them? Even if they don’t win for next year, to gain that kind of traction and popularity for next year.

Christiana: So would like start us off Semira, Emmanuel… Alright Semira

Semira: Thank you for having me on the show again.

Semira: So I personally think people are just of the opinion that advertising is expensive, running a campaign is expensive and I feel like most of the contenders and most of the people that ran for elections in the last election… They didn’t want to spend as much money because they felt like what were their chances?

Semira: But I think that misconception has to be clarified. Advertising is not as expensive as people think especially when you’re using the right resources and the right tools.

Semira: So the whole idea is if you use it as a platform that is measurable, it reaches the right target audience and it gives you value.

Semira:  So social media advertising… if you invest a fraction of what the other bigger parties were investing in…you will get the right visibility, especially if the messaging is great.

Semira: And then also if you’re doing an awareness campaigns, so you don’t have to necessarily… All you have to do is contact certain groups and tell them you like to come and speak to them on not even your party per say but speak to them about issues that matter right and that way you are  getting visibility because people are attending your events.

Semira: They can also share that kind of content on their social media platform and that way you are also getting visibility for your campaign without spending as much money. Semira: So I feel like social media was…They could have done more with their social media campaigns and then also very cheap… very very direct campaigning…. SMS marketing.

Semira: You need to invest in weekly marketing… You have a database of people in Lagos State for instance. What you should be doing is sending your weekly SMS to them talking about your agenda for the elections.

Semira:   And that way you are creating a kind of recall for your brand messaging, for your campaign message. Even if they are not voting you but they can actually see you and know that you are something. Then people know you are something they should be looking out for…so yeah… they should be looking out for so yeah, I feel the use of digital marketing can definitely help when you’re trying to run a campaign on a little budget or smaller budgets.

Christiana: Well, I noticed you know how people during the election people who say…Politics…You don’t play or you don’t do it on social media. It’s more because how many people on social media are actually going to vote.

Christiana: Most of the people who use social media in Nigeria are younger people like Twitter and Instagram.  You have younger generation.  I mean how many of these people would actually go out to vote.

Semira: Interestingly…. I know I was following the elections especially for the presidential elections… Interestingly…A lot of people, you will say even the civilized people that you would not expect them to go out and queue and to vote.

Semira: They were on the queues and they were there, especially in those upper scale sides, upper scale regions and they have the numbers there too…If you think about it. Semira: Theirs was obviously more organized and a little more conducive for them. They were able to sit through all the struggle but they were there and they were voting.

Semira: You have Celebrities there too and they were voting and these days even your vulcanizer has his Instagram account and He is following people like celebrity influencers.

Semira: So if a celebrity is retweeting something that you’re posting out there. Your campaign is getting the visibility.

Semira: Everybody’s on social media right now. So you cannot even say you are not going to use social media… and SMS marketing everybody’s getting a text message.

Emmanuel: Yes that’s true.

Semira: So yeah, I feel like you have to make use of that.

Emmanuel: Yeah. So to add to what Semira has said concerning digital marketing. I believe strongly… Yes, they need to be that that’s front.

Emmanuel:  But on the second thought…I am thinking… Do these smaller parties want to really be in the Limelight? That’s the question… do they really want to come out and be known or do they use this whole running for office as the means of getting their own funds or stuff like that.

Emmanuel:  Maybe they just want to be known by the top guys, the big guys

Semira: Interesting

Emmanuel: So sometimes I think they do want to be on the limelight.  But if they really want to be in the limelight, there’s so much… many ways they can actually do that idea coupled with what Semira has said about utilizing digital marketing.

Emmanuel: For example, let me give you a very quick example on how digital marketing really helped Donald Trump in his campaign.

Emmanuel: There’s this guy called Brad Parscale that was like the director… the Chief Executive of Trump’s campaign…

Emmanuel: The entire digital team for Trump was like a hundred staff guys in San Antonio and what it he do?  These guys stormed the market like…

Emmanuel: In fact… In Parscale’s own he had never done a political campaign before but all he did was all the ideas he had from digital marketing and that was like…

Emmanuel:  It really helped them a lot.

Emmanuel: Now…Back in Lagos we might not really have all these guys, you know like Christiana rightly outlined.

Emmanuel: Some people might not be on social media, but what about alternative media advertising, you know, I was actually looking at the entire campaign for Lagos as a case study right now.

Emmanuel: I noticed that everywhere you enter… you saw one way or the other Sanwo Olu pictures somehow… like everywhere you go… You see him.

Semira: That’s true.

Emmanuel: So I think they really I think these guys have the idea of because there’s this idea, this theory psychologically that something you see quite often you get to get acquainted to it.

Semira: The recall

Emmanuel: Yes the recall…so I get to the polling Booth and I see that guy’s picture that I have been seeing all through my four five months before the election took place.

Emmanuel: I won’t vote for him? I’ll see more as serious for the fact he came to my small village to put his picture there. That means he is serious.

Emmanuel: But you just see only that guy’s pictures and everything about posters and Banners and everything swallowing up the entire other guys. So where are they? So I think one thing is when they should learn to Target the Right audience and learn to use authentic media advertising in all of these.

Emmanuel: Go to the marketplace put it on the cobs where they sell mangoes and stuff.

Emmanuel: Put your sticker there, put your stick on the table of these Market women who sell biscuit and stuff like that. Promote it anywhere you can that you know these people will constantly see your ads and it becomes something they can really say that… I know of Jimi Abaje… I know of this guy… I know this guy…I know of that guy.

Emmanuel: So the whole process of burying all these other political parties on the background would all be gone because they are making the effort to actually advertise the right way not just advertising something erratic.

Christiana: Thank you.

Christiana: How do you guys think PR plays a role, because one of the things that helped Sanwo Olu was constantly putting… like you said he was in our face, everywhere you are going and most of these smaller parties don’t have the money to rent Billboards. They can’t do radio jingles and things like that.

Christiana:  And another thing he still did was to go to grass root…like all these smaller communities to talk to them… You see how he’s doing somebody’s hair and talking to them. I didn’t see any of the smaller people do this… So how do you think PR can play a role?

Semira: I think they were not doing the leg work.

Christiana: Yeah.

Semira:  Because it’s very easy for you to say you want to come to an organization and I want to talk to you. It’s very easy because you say okay. I may a Gubernatorial aspirant. I want to talk to you about some certain issues that pertain to your community. Nobody’s going to turn you back. Why?

Semira: Because they feel like somebody might just carry our community story or one media partner can come on it. It might go on social media, you are giving our community exposure. You have nothing to lose but if the problem is that they were not doing the leg work as well.

Semira: They were not spending the money on the big campaigns, they were not doing

enough advertising and you are not doing the leg work as well. So you can’t really get the results that you’d expect like the Sanwo Olu like you explained.

Semira: He was doing legwork, he was doing the money, the big campaigns and he was still doing the social media advertising. So yes, obviously people are going to want to associate with that kind of brand over the smaller ones.

Christiana: So do you think the smaller parties should focus more on digital or mike the advertising or should they focus more on the PR… like their persona, their brand image Christiana: Like if you vote for let’s say I was running, if you vote for Christiana, you will be getting someone who is very focused on education. Should they focus more on… for them to gain some visibility and even some sort of traction whatsoever, at least let us know their names.

Christiana: Should they focus advertising like trying to use social media, SMS marketing even email marketing you can do. Because everybody has a email nowadays, you need it for bank and for things like that.

Christiana: Or should they focus on their… just like this is what I am going to do, this is my agenda. Or should they more on their personalities when trying to sell themselves to the people.

Christiana: Do you think they should focus more on… Because Sanwo Olu, I can’t say I know what he wants to do… I followed the who political campaign. But I can’t tell you… I think he focused more on advertising. Right? This is me, this is me, just see my face. I don’t know his brand image…

Christiana: I don’t know what okay…once Sanwo Olu comes I know the one thing he is going to do for Lagos is…. Probable he is going to clear the trucks off the road. I don’t know what he is going to do per say but I just know Sanwo Olu is coming and he really wants to be the Governor.

Christiana: So what do you think they should focus on?

Emmanuel: I think I think a lot of politicians are still tied down to the old. Status quo of campaign, you know where I tell you vote for me as your Governor. I’ll make you rich overnight do this for me and do that for me.

Emmanuel: That really doesn’t win elections these days, what really wins is the fact that marketing strategies are right? Okay, your campaign strategies are on the right spots in the right places.

Emmanuel: Sanwo Olu always… back to the guy again. He always uses these major advertising agencies, media and what have you to do is campaigns.

Emmanuel: Like I said, I really didn’t hear him speak once about what he is going to do for Lagos. Right now he is the governor, no one knows what he is going to do for Lagos.  But he’s now the governor, so sometimes in as much as all of the plans for the people is important get to the roots get to know them get to put your pictures.

Emmanuel: Where they will be seeing you all the time, you know, so when that happens, yeah, it becomes like a real competition. It becomes like a real competition between your party and this other party.

Emmanuel: It is no longer going to be I just want to be in the background in case this guy’s wins.  He puts me in his list of commissioners. It is going to be I really want to become president, I really want to become governor, and I really want to become a House of Representative.

Emmanuel: You are direct about your plans not just trying to sit back. So I think yes, they should be more focused on Advertising.

Emmanuel: Advertising is important… It’s key… If you focus…

Emmanuel: People who buy cowbell is not because cowbell taste better than some other milk. It is because the right strategy of advertising is there.

Emmanuel: A child tells you he wants to drink Cowbell not because the child was in the factory when they were producing cowbell but because the child saw adverts… Cowbell our milk.

Emmanuel: She likes the song and wants her mom to buy her cowbell milk. Same strategies go for other campaigns and all that stuff. So what do you do in the product Market do the same and political campaign market.

Emmanuel:  And you will get better success on that?

Semira: Okay. Yeah, I think so he has said it all. Basically get your messaging clear. Let people know what you are marketing about not just about the flashiness but let them get value from your campaign and I guess that’s everything in a wrap. Get value from your message

Christiana: Okay, so if you want to summarize for the smaller parties to gain more visibility. They need focus more on marketing for example, SMS marketing, social media… can be a very good tool for them. And they should also go to the smaller Grassroots communities to try to put it in their faces.

Christiana: Even if its stickers…put it everywhere…let them know. Take the time out to make themselves visible to the everyday market person, vulcanizer and things like that.

Christiana: Alright, so thank you very much for coming here. Thank you for sharing your insights… Thank…


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