Political Rally GE17

Political Rallies 2017 General Election

Political rallies in the 2017 General election have brought the campaign to life. Labour’s rallies across the country are showing the power of live engagement.

In recent polls the Conservative lead over Labour has halved since the announcement of the snap general election. It’s not possible (at this stage) to pin that narrowing gap on any one particular policy, campaign message, advert, interview or event.

However, what is clear is the stark difference in the live engagement strategy of the Conservatives and Labour: put simple Labour actually have a live engagement strategy.

Political rallies 2017 General Election and other less inspiring political events! 

Here’s two images that I think sum up the differences we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks:

Political Rallies GE17
“Invitation Only”
Political Rally GE17
Perhaps this will be one of the most memorable images from the GE17 Campaign

The image above of Jeremy Corby will his back to the camera is a still from a short video doing the rounds (currently hosted on NME of all places). The video is fascinating, and would make a wonderful party political broadcast; no editing, no overdubs. Just this.

The Conservatives live engagement strategy has been, how can I put it? To not have one. Whoever is in charge of these “events” is doing the most awful job, assuming their objective is anything more than: we need to do some events, so just keep them as simple and “boring” as possible. This is of course a possible objective for the Conservatives but it’s proving to be the wrong one.

These Corbyn images and videos aren’t quite as striking for us Scots, as we already have a charismatic people facing, punter engaging politician in Nicola Sturgeon. For rUK, however, this really is the first time that they’ve had a politician who is not just willing, but capable of taking, and holding this type of stage.

To date, Labour’s use of the Political Rally has been fantastic

In a piece I wrote for Common Space about making events “unmissable” I listed five things that  the #ScotRef campaigners should consider as they plan and execute their events. Well, Labour have brought my list to life!

With Corbyn’s rallies round the country Labour are demonstrating how powerful live engagement can be for a political campaign. Let’s consider the short appearance of Jeremy Corbyn at The Libertines Gig (against my list):

It is clear what the objectives were for this event. It was firstly to get in front of the 15,000 youngsters and encourage them to vote (for Labour), but beyond that it was to create a clear difference between May’s bland and stale events. And those objectives were achieved.

The second thing on my list was to make events newsworthy. Doing something so different was always likely to spark interest. So, success here too!

Next up was “ensure that your event will be amplified by your attendees”. Just watch the video, and see how many of that audience are snapping, tweeting and sharing images all across their social media platforms. Again, their strategy had its success.

Now, to get in front of young voters, Labour could have organised a Youth Conference. As I’ve covered in previous posts the Conference is still the default event for political parties despite millennials giving them a wide berth. So intransigent are these events that Rise, despite its exceptionally strong youthful leadership, still organise Conferences. My fourth tip in my list was not to run “boring events”. By piggy backing on a concert, Labour avoided that pit fall.

My last point was to ask how political events could inject creativity? Well, so barren of ideas and lacking in any spark, are May’s “strong & stable” events, that doing ANYTHING different appears to be creative. Labour simply aren’t doing what the Tories are doing, and they look like the youthful, fresh and creative campaigners.

A Live Engagement Strategy Matters

Labour are out there doing it. The Tories are failing. Exactly what impact these events, and their amplification, will have on the result, is of course still to be determined. However there should be enough evidence already to show that the #ScotRef movement can not take live engagement for granted.  My plan is to make sure that we don’t do that. But I need your help.

If you are interested in contributing to my work on a live engagement strategy for the YES movement please get in touch.

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