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It’s Personal

by dhuey

During the battle over healthcare legislation, the Left frequently invoked touching personal stories and anecdotes to illustrate their points and bolster their positions.  This is an effective tactic often overlooked by the Right.

Aside from the obvious benefits to messaging, utilizing these personal examples provides compelling motivation for action. This tactic can help move you from sound bites to rallies, from articles to donations, and awareness to votes.

Invoking Emotions

By personifying a policy, you can provide an emotional hook and human connection that will motivate people to be more deeply connected to your issue.

Providing Symbolism

Every cause needs a symbol. They provide a rallying point and unified theme that everyone can relate to.  Everyone likes to feel like they are part of something larger than themselves.  Symbols make that experience more tangible.

Articulating Policy

This is a useful tactic to explain particularly intricate policies. First hand accounts can show the importance and real-world impact of otherwise esoteric ideas.

Holding Attention

In the never-ending fight for people’s time and attention, memorable personal stories keep particular issues and topics top of mind.  When these stories are illustrated in emails and videos (and distributed properly) they have the potential to go viral.

Driving Action

Organizers on the Left often rely on personal stories, and then immediately invoke them as part of a call to action. Again, this creates an emotional stir, and then immediately provides an outlet to express that compassion, anger, or excitement.

Not Political

When exposed to an overtly political message, most people literally or figuratively switch off. These stories capture and hold an audience’s attention because they are inherently about people, not politics.

As we set out under new leadership in the House and look ahead to the 2012 election, the Right must continue to assess the effectiveness of our message and how it connects with the everyday concerns of Americans. In order to continue the current momentum the Right must draw clear distinctions between their policies and those of the Left. More importantly, these stories help to keep focus on the real world, grassroots level where success or failure is ultimately judged.