Canada’s federal election is here, which marks the end of another long and drawn-out campaign season. Over the past five weeks, consumers have been inundated with election-related fare—ads, news stories, speeches, debates—as the parties flooded the media with messaging about their platforms and this year’s key issues. While some may find all the communication tiresome, bringing important political issues into mainstream dialogue sparks necessary discourse—and has an added benefit of providing brands with a rare chance to reach a more receptive audience than usual.
Key issues in this year’s election include mortgage regulation; taxes; the aging population; the environment and the energy sector; and the cost of wireless and internet. The relevance of these issues presents an opportunity for brands to deepen their relationships with consumers by creating communications that connect to these hot-button issues. But there’s a catch: any communications must be worded with care, so as not to come across as pushing a political agenda. Brands that succeed at striking this balance will capture the interest of Canadians.
For example, the election’s emphasis on mortgage regulation has caused the mortgage stress test—implemented at the beginning of 2018—to resurface in everyday discussions. Now is the time for credit unions across Canada to remind consumers that they don’t need to pass the stress test to get a mortgage from them.
The Liberals have made high wireless and internet prices a hot topic for Canadians. What does this mean for the telecom industry? More expensive carriers need to remind consumers of any added value they offer, while low-cost competitors have the perfect opportunity to drive messages about their price advantages.
As always, this campaign season turned the spotlight on environmental issues and climate change. For private Canadian companies that offer clean, renewable energy, this is their chance to highlight to consumers the eco-friendly options that exist in the market today.
In developing responsive communications of any kind, companies must always consider brand alignment: ensuring the causes and events they connect with match the values and vision of their brand. An environmentally focused company like Patagonia, for example, can develop credible communications around environmental issues; oil and gas companies, however, would probably be wise to steer clear of such issues.
Being aware of current events and what people are thinking about is the easy part. The real challenge is how to cleverly use these topics of interest to capture the consumer mindset in a genuine and compelling way. Those who succeed will create relevant, relatable messages that connect with consumers on a deeper level—and the more brands can cultivate this connection, they more they can inspire loyalty and drive sales.