The May 2011 local elections in Bristol threw up an intriguing fight in inner-city Ashley ward. Incorporating St Werburghs, St Pauls, St Andrews and Montpelier, Ashley is a vibrant, multi-cultural and bohemian area.
Labour party candidate Thangam Debbonaire was battling hard to re-gain the seat from the Liberal Democrats. She had marketing support from the local Labour party (flyers, posters and so on), but no personal website, and only a limited social media presence.
A leaf from President Obama’s book
Recognising the need for a strong online platform to support her campaign, Thangam asked if I could help out.
Over two weeks at the beginning of April I built a website cheekily based on President Obama’s White House website. The site incorporated a blog, social sharing buttons, flickr and Twitter feeds.
The seat was won by the Green Party candidate, but Thangam tripled her vote by amplifying a hard-fought doorstep campaign with some smart online promotion.
“Mick came to me with ideas, enthusiasm and knowledge, which helped me immensely in my recent political campaign.
“I was unconvinced about the value of using social media for political marketing but Mick showed me how I could use it without devaluing my core messages. In fact he helped me shape them to be clearer.
“My website was done in a couple of weeks, a site I will use for my future campaigning activities. Mick came up with ideas for things I hadn’t thought of as well as solutions for problems I had.
“Mick has a problem-solving, determined approach which makes him reliable and practical as well as inspiring to work with. He gave me a full package of support, including reminding me of my copy deadlines in a timely manner, making proactive contact with marketing leads and helping to edit my content.
“As a result, voters in my ward found my website via the social media referral routes Mick helped me to set up, or used the integrated social media aspects of the site to make permanent links to me. They made repeat visits and told me on the doorstep how much they valued it and found it useful. Press contacts made use of it and my future campaigning will rely in no small way on the foundations which Mick has laid and built on.
“Mick is fun, inspiring and exciting to work with. He turned something I was dreading into something I really enjoy and most importantly, he helped me to triple my vote and increase my support base. I hope he will keep me as a client!”
Quotes from Thangam Debbonaire