Experiential Marketing And Political Campaigns In Nigeria

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

As we approach the 2019 General Elections will the Experiential Marketing industry be able to give a good account of itself as an effective tool for political marketing campaigns, or will this be business as usual and another lost opportunity to innovate.

In this age, where information travels quickly, Nigerians are more opinionated that ever about the political space which has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of new political movements and parties seeking to win acceptance and support from the voting public. With the 2019 General Elections now lurking around the corner a new opportunity has arisen for innovation to be introduced to the Nigeria’s political marketing space.

“Elements of experiential marketing have always been present in political campaigns. While the broadcast media (television, radio) have been heavily used, many candidates have made use of rallies and town hall meetings as part of their campaigns”

Experiential Marketing

An example of such innovation will in the area of Experiential Marketing, and how this methodology and practice area may be deployed to enhance voter engagement and effective candidate brand messages

Experiential Marketing is a form of marketing that seeks to create an emotional connection between a brand and its target audience/customers by creating an experience that is memorable and strategically designed to force a profitable reaction from the target audience/customers. An example is a typical concert organised by a beverage drink manufacturer. If participants enjoy the concert, chances are that they will equally want to buy the beverage drink.

Elements of experiential marketing have always been present in political campaigns. While the broadcast media (television, radio) have been heavily used, many candidates have made use of rallies and town hall meetings as part of their campaigns. In Nigeria, rallies are the best examples of experiential marketing. The time to embrace this concept, even more, is now.

When launching a campaign, politicians have one major objective: earning the loyalty (and votes) of a decisive number of voters. Many techniques under Experiential Marketing can be used to achieve this, especially as regards passing their message across in the best possible manner. Some of these include:

Fund-Raising Events

It is not just the millionaires and elite individuals that can contribute to the campaign. In the United States of America, campaign fund-raisers are organised regularly to raise funds for the candidate to contest the elections. These events are also used for voters to meet the candidates on a more personal level and talk one-one-one with them about the issues peculiar to them. If the events are done with memorable elements in them, voters may not just contribute to the campaign, but they can also vote for the candidate as well.

Town Hall Meetings

When a candidate moves around different locations to give speeches about his/her intentions for the role being contested for, it is an opportunity for the candidate to engage the audience. It is not just about giving speeches, but engaging in a way that is memorable and aimed of earning votes from the target voters. Meetings with students, artisans, corporate bodies and even government stakeholders are great avenues.

The benefits of Experiential Marketing are many. Key among them is Brand Loyalty. This is because voters always consider the individual when choosing who to vote for. Once they like the individual, they are more likely to vote for that particular individual. Other benefits include:

Emotional Connection

Emotions don’t just play a major role in our purchasing decisions; a recent American Psychological Association study found that political brains are also emotionally wired. Not only does this connection help for the initial election, it might also help when it is time for a re-election.

Opportunity for Personal Branding

The Obama brand is one that has outlived the Presidential tenure of Barack Obama. Activities and associations to the man make up his brand as an individual. The phrase ‘Yes We Can’ will always have his face at the forefront and the activities organised to drive home this mantra were key to this achievement. The same can also be said about the famous ‘Make America Great Again’ statement used by Donald Trump in his campaign.

Increased turnout of voters

Once voters are treated to different experiences that bring them close to the political candidates, they will be likely to turn out to vote for their preferred choice(s). This helps the entire election process as a whole.

Unwana Akpabio

Unwana Akpabio

Unwana holds a B.A in Mass Communication from Babcock University, Ogun State Nigeria, and an MSc. In Media and Communication from the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.

Ambitious and Opinionated, he is passionate about football and how it can be used