Election 2016: Should Brands Get Involved?

By Ken Williams and Russell Pearlman

If you’ve used Facebook, Twitter or other social media this fall, you’ve likely noticed that that you have a group of friends and acquaintances that are extremely vocal about the election. But you also likely have a whole other group who, at least on social media, have stayed completely silent on anything election related.

The same division is happening in Corporate America. Some companies have openly stated their positions on the candidates, the issues and even the tone of the debate. Others, however, have remained completely silent.

At Imprint, we’re aware that commenting on the election works better for some brands than others. Kenneth Cole, for instance, has produced multiple pieces of content around voter registration, and Hotels.com has created a whole campaign, including articles, tweets and videos aroud their mascot, Captain Obvious, running for president. Even Tic-Tac recently joined the club.

But for an industry like financial services, election-related content is critical. People are concerned about how their savings could be impacted, how tax rates could change, which way  interest rates could go and how their debts could be affected. Financial marketers should be in those conversations.

We were interested in how financial firms were approaching election content. We used Vista, our quarterly content monitoring study, to track and analyze the election-related content produced by a competitive group of financial service firms.

There certainly was a lot of content – more than 50 individual election-related pieces published across 25 firms. However, only 10% of the firms put forward a strong point-of-view. Many firms touched on the key election-related financial concerns and most providing a historical perspective on what typically happens in the market during election periods. But very few firms advised the reader on what to actually do with this information.

We felt two companies bucked the trend, producing election-related content that had an excellent point of view and gave its readers insightful and actionable information.

OppenheimerFunds: We liked OppenheimerFunds’ engagement and promotion strategy. It has a dedicated content hub where the OppenheimerFunds team has been tracking the elections for months – and continually updates the content to reflect the most current views and status. The hub contains all the components that the firm then uses to feed other communication formats and messaging. Other standouts? The content is very visual – with charts and infographics – and they have a taken a multi-format approach publishing articles, video, webcasts, and whitepapers. OppenheimerFunds also has a clear perspective that’s helpful.

UBS:  This firm also has an area of its site dedicated to this topic, called ElectionWatch – where the content is kept fresh and up to date as we move closer to the election.

All-in-all, we think this is an important topic – and a great opportunity to share your firm’s thought leadership. But, like any content opportunity, if you want to optimize the effort there are things you can do to make it great:

  • Put forth a clear POV: Election content is everywhere – readers are inundated with information so you need to take a position in order to stand out.
  • Consider a dedicated content hub: Putting everything in one place makes it easier for your audience to consume content.
  • Use visuals to help tell the story.
  • Avoid dead ends: Offer clear next steps and actionable CTA’s to guide the reader along the customer journey.

For more insights on how content intersects with Election 2016, listen to our podcast, Contagious Content, and find more insights in our election-focused Vista quarterly content  report.

Imprint : Make Content Contagious © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Imprint, a Sullivan Content Lab

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