2020 is an election year, and no matter which party you’re aligned with or which issues you value, there are a few things everyone can agree on — the stakes are high and the wins will be hard-earned. Before election day arrives, it is imperative to have a strategic political campaign that appeals to voters.
In a world where media and technology play a central role, it’s more important than ever to run a persuasive campaign and leave a lasting impression. With campaign events including everything from rallies, debates, and speaking engagements, to fundraising events and inaugural celebrations, there are plenty of opportunities to design an effective political campaign — even with the unique challenges, such as extensive schedules and ever-changing locations.
Wherever you are on the campaign trail, presentation matters and can influence voters in both positive and negative ways — such as how Hillary Clinton’s signature pantsuit became a part of her brand or how colorful socks became an iconic part of George H.W. Bush’s presidential style! While we can’t tell you how to dress, the tips below can help you plan for an impressive and successful campaign environment.
Don’t leave your message, your brand, or your visual appeal to chance. The suggestions and products below can ensure a stunning and cohesive campaign, so you can focus on the issues that really matter to you and your constituents.
1. Be Wary of Event Design Pitfalls
Running events during a political campaign come with special concerns and specific constraints. Between grueling travel schedules, a wide range of venue types, and the need to change or update messaging, mobilizing a cohesive campaign can be a challenge in itself.
Design Fiascos to Avoid:
- Pitfall: Using vinyl for backdrops and stage design. It pains us to see low-quality vinyl backdrops, especially in media applications. Vinyl can present issues with glare/light reflection, warped graphics, wrinkles/creases, and seams interrupting the design.
Solution: All Stretch Shapes products utilize a stretch fabric material that has no glare effect, is easy to set up, and provides a smooth, flawless, photo-ready surface. Our dye-sublimation printing and reverse-warp process ensure high-resolution graphics display the way they were intended to.
- Pitfall: Choosing products that only work in certain venues. Campaigning usually means strenuous travel schedules and unique venues — whether it’s an outdoor rally, a debate inside a high school gym, or a fundraising event in temporary tents, it’s hard to know exactly where you’ll be and what access you’ll have when you get there.
Solution: Because our stretch fabric can pack down small and stretch out smooth, transporting items is easier with Stretch Shapes products. Many items include their own framing system and several are freestanding, minimizing the requirements for additional rigging or power. And when speed is needed, items like our Quick Walls can be assembled in minutes.
- Pitfall: Not leveraging geo-targeting. Geo-targeting or geofencing is often applied through advertising and outreach, but the concept still applies to event design. Adapting or refining your message for your audience is a key strategy for success, so don’t stop short when it comes to your campaign events.
Solution: All Stretch Shapes products can be reprinted and reskinned, using up to date fabric skins. This option makes it possible to create location-specific prints and panel inserts that align with the location or topic at hand. If projection is an option, our projection screens give you the option to updates images and messaging on your own time. And the reusability of our products makes them environmentally conscious — if that’s a platform you choose to stand on.
- Pitfall: Spending too much money or not spending wisely. Fundraising is one of the challenges that every campaign faces and campaign managers are motivated to allocate resources appropriately. Without planning and foresight, the costs of event design can quickly escalate, leading to unnecessary or repetitive spending.
Solution: All Stretch Shapes products are designed to be reused and repurposed. The sustainability of our items supports effective spending and makes it possible to minimize the cost of updates — so you can repurpose them without having to start over entirely.
2. Prep Your Platform
Whichever platform you’re standing on, our products can help you design a stage worthy of an elected official. Many of our items have frames that can be repurposed with new fabric skins and printed inserts, so you can make alterations based on your location or event.
Ideas for Setting the Stage:
- Design free-standing, contemporary backdrops
Product Suggestions: 2D Forms and Quick Walls
- Use projection mapping for easy updates
Product Suggestions: Borderless Projection Screens, Stretch Projection Screens, and Full Moons
- Incorporate printed items to display patriotic graphics, candidate images, campaign logos, or relevant messaging.
Product Suggestions: Borderless Graphic Panels, Quick Walls, Truss Covers, Truss Banners, or Panel Wall Tiles
3. Create Media Buzz
Technology and social media have created a world where media is everywhere and politicians are their own brand. Don’t miss opportunities to mobilize your constituents and take advantage of the press when the chance arises.
Ideas to Leverage Press Opportunities:
- Create a photo-worthy step-and-repeat media wall — which can do extra-duty as a backdrop for rallies, speaking engagements, press events, and photography
Product Suggestions: Quick Walls and Borderless Graphic Panels
- Activate your micro-influencers. When it comes to outreach, micro-influencers may have fewer followers, but loyal ones, so those photo-ops with constituents can go a long way!
Product Suggestions: Quick Walls, 2D Forms, and Borderless Graphic Panels
- Create a branded and harmonious environment
Product Suggestions: Truss Covers and Truss Banners
4. Capitalize on VIP Fundraising Events
Anyone who works in fundraising knows what a challenge it can be. Hosting a high-end fundraising event can make a big impact on raising capital, and big names and exclusive events mean higher donations.
Ideas for an Unforgettable Fundraising Event:
- Embellish your tent with stunning tent liners. The stretch fabric liners cover the tent framing system, transforming the environment into a refined atmosphere, and providing an ideal surface for printing and projection.
Product Suggestions: Tent Liners with optional Dye-Sublimation Printing
- Design a distinguished atmosphere, so attendees are wowed by the both the presentation and the candidate
Product Suggestions: Event Arches, Borderless Graphics Panels, Borderless Projection Screens, Truss Covers, and Tent Liners
- Create space for connections to flourish. Whether that’s having an area for attendees to take photos with the candidate or creating smaller discussion spaces where partnerships can be forged, potential donors appreciate those personal touches.
Product Suggestions: Quick Walls, 2D Forms, and Projection Screens
5. Be 10 Steps Ahead — For the Win!
When you’re sprinting towards the finish line, it’s easy to focus on the immediate needs of the campaign. Adopt a mindset of success, and plan for the winning celebrations and inaugural events as though they’re happening. When the elected officials are announced, you’ll be ready for the next step.
Ideas to Be Ready for the Win:
- Get quotes prepared ahead of time, so they’re on standby and waiting for your approval. As the vote gets closer, you can focus on the vital, last stretch, knowing that your quote is ready to move forward as soon as you give the go-ahead.
- Repurpose items you’ve already used. If you’re especially concerned with costs at the end of the campaign season, or if it’s going to be an extremely close call, you can repurpose the items you’ve already used to minimize additional spending and products.
- Reach out to Stretch Shapes for rush options and quick turnarounds. With 10 years of experience providing the quickest turnaround times in the industry, most items can be rushed if you do decide to wait until you’re under the wire.
Disclaimer: Stretch Shapes is not endorsing any political party or candidate. We support the Democratic process, as well as the freedom for both our clients and our employees to make their own political choices.