The web ‘strategies’ of the candidates are failing to impress for exactly the same reason the candidates themselves are: none of them has anything much to say.
I don’t expect more than the simple, flat and un-aesthetic websites and non-existent web strategies of the candidates because I don’t expect much of anything from them.
A leadership campaign can only be as exciting as the candidates themselves, and an online communications strategy can only be as exciting as the campaign. More bluntly put, the candidates aren’t exciting, so the campaigns aren’t interesting, so the web products are boring.
Why should I expect an exciting website, when I don’t expect an exciting speech? Why should I expect a profound video that makes me go ‘wow’, when I don’t expect a profound answer at a hustings that makes me go ‘wow’? Why should I expect a smart and creative web strategy, when I don’t expect a smart and creative communications strategy?
None of the candidates came into this race with a message that made me think they ‘get it’. None of the candidates has articulated a view of the country that speaks to me. None of them has caused me a second of spine-tingling uplift. So nothing else they do will either.
I would love to see a bold video, an uplifting online campaign. But until we see bold and uplifting candidates, we won’t see that in their web strategies. Many people are disappointed – disappointed in the candidates and the state we’re in as party. It’s not that the viable candidates have similar (ish) backgrounds, political histories and CVs, its that they have a similar relationship to the previous government. An administration whose biggest failures were the failures to communicate, to regain the trust of the people and to uplift the party membership. All four of them couldn’t help Brown to do it, so why do they think they can do it for themselves?
They are still acting like ministers. It’s so easy for them to stay in policy-lite mode. They’ve been doing it for years. It’s so easy for them to spew the same ten word answer in twenty different ways. They’ve been doing it for years. It’s so easy for them to run all over the country telling members to ‘calm down’. They’ve been doing it for years. Members aren’t going to stop hating ministers. We’ve been doing it for years.
So the message today is simple: we’ll see the new media campaigns that some of us dream of when we see the candidates some of us dream of. Maybe in 2015.