Brand Recognition – Viral Marketing of a Political Candidate
How do you develop brand recognition? How do that when the brand is person? I know the answer, because I was the brand. See how viral marketing brought me victory.
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Building a Brand
I chose to run for a Keystone Oaks School Board seat. I knew probably 50 families in Dormont, the borough in which I was running. Some of those were voters, others were not. I was running against opponents who had lived their entire lives in Dormont. I had been there for 10 years. My message was better. I was the best option, but how do I get my name to resonate with the voters in Dormont who had never heard of me?
With help from friends, I pushed forward on all fronts. A good friend came up with the idea to call myself Dormont Joe. That name was easier to remember than Joe Finucan.
The same person came up with the idea of creating a paper cutout version of Dormont Joe (like the character Flat Stanley from the children’s book of the same title) and taking photos of the cutout all over Pittsburgh. We ran with it, and the idea went viral. Photos were posted with Flat Dormont Joe all over the city. The one below was from the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, but Flat Dormont Joe also had pictures at Kennywood, the Football Hall of Fame and Presque Isle among other places.
Dormont Joe (the paper cut out) took on a life of its own. The brand was established.
I created a Facebook page, website and blog for Dormont Joe, and I started collecting email address for campaign emails. All were successful and enabled me to meet more people from Dormont. I went to events and spoke, including the Dormont Republican’s corn roast and Meet the Candidates night. I had a table and handed out balloons at the Dormont Street Festival.
I also created a tri-fold brochure that myself and others who helped on my behalf hand delivered to the doors of Dormont voters. The brochure allowed me to reach the remaining Dormont voters who perhaps had not met me through any of the other methods.
This flyer went out to all likely voters. I still have people refer to me as Dormont Joe years later.
There were two seats open and three candidates. I would have been happy with a second place finish. Instead, I came out with the most votes. I finished first in the three person race and unseated a 16 year veteran on the school board.