Putting PR in poll position: 5 strategies for election season

I wish I had come up with the headline, Things Can Only Get Wetter, after the Prime Minister announced the election in a downpour with the classic D:Ream song ‘blairing’ in the background. Despite my missed opportunity, the upcoming snap election presents ample chances for securing significant media coverage, and we’ve been actively engaging in workshops with our clients throughout the week.

Here are five strategies to navigate the bustling weeks ahead effectively.

1. Focus on policy, not politics

What are your brand’s expectations from the future government? The focus should be on potential policies rather than party politics. If your business has a credible opinion, now’s the time to voice it—timing is everything.

2. A lighter way to enjoy the election

There’s only so much politics that ‘good hard working people, up and down the country’ can take. Why not pitch a story that offers a breather? Whether it’s a humorous anecdote or a feel-good feature, such stories can achieve remarkable traction amidst the usual political discourse. I ask you, would the Harry Styles hometown walking tours be featured so heavily, including on the Today Programme, at any other time? I think not.

3. Be more Larry

Referencing the famed Chief Mouser of 10 Downing Street — Larry the cat — adaptability is key during the election period. The news cycle will shift rapidly, and staying agile—much like Larry—can help you to capitalise on newsworthy moments, from political gaffes to campaign trail clichés. From a politician pulling a bad pint (thanks, David Cameron), a politician’s cringe hot mic moment, and er, falling off a paddleboard to plug a clean water policy (whatshisname, the Lib Dem leader).

Whilst we can expect the unexpected, some of this is also painfully predictable. Fun fact: Larry has served during the premierships of five prime ministers: David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak. Will Larry see another? 

4. Manifest-o yourself

As political parties unveil their manifestos, ensure your clients are prepared to respond. Establish early communications with journalists to ensure you are at the forefront when these tombstones/documents drop.

5. The election day gap

As millions of voters slap on the sunscreen or trudge out with their brollies to vote, don’t expect to see any last minute campaigning or anything political, on broadcast at least. With a ban on broadcasting campaign-related content on election day, there’s a unique gap in the news cycle. This presents a perfect opportunity for alternative stories. Plan a compelling narrative that aligns with the day’s sentiment—be it sunny optimism or resilient determination.

Image source: X handle @edwardjdavey