AAPC caught up with Rick Ridder, President and Co-Founder of RBI Strategies and Amanda Malo, President of Bask Digital Media to see how they are navigating this seemingly endless campaign cycle.
Considering 2021 as an off-year, Amanda lists three factors that have contributed to this being an unusually busy year in campaigning:
1) With the growth and reliance on digital communication, we are seeing websites and social media communication efforts launch earlier and earlier. Low-dollar fundraising and list-building are fundamental activities in the digital space now as well and the sooner you start, the better.
2) Many campaigns want to keep voter engagement elevated like it was during the presidential election year when the volume was turned up high. There is fear that voters will tune out and disengage which then makes it harder to get your voters to re-engage.
3) The philosophy is evolving in recent years to embrace the idea that the sooner you start, the better of a position your campaign will be in to establish the narrative versus your opposition.
In comparison to past off-years, Rick says, “It is difficult to assess what we are doing differently from previous off-years, because we already are doing things differently simply because of COVID. For example we have fewer face-to-face meetings, and fewer trips to Washington than in 2019. But specifically, the biggest difference is the servicing of clients in off-year compared to the past; there is far more client campaign activity, so the firm has to be responsive to that new reality.”
Finally, Amanda and Rick left us with some advice for navigating this campaign cycle. Amanda’s suggestion is to “be selective about the projects you take on. It’s easier said than done but turning down a misaligned project can free up resources to take on a different project down the road that is a better fit.”
Rick stresses the importance of pacing yourself and your team “Often the excitement of a new client and a new race leads to a burst of company energy. But save some of that energy for the last 8 weeks — you will need and want it!”