Figuring out their importance can be a tricky one due to the uncertainty of their profession. How well connected are they? Can you afford them? Even if you can afford them, can they guarantee you victory?
Innovative ideas are expected from them but it can be hard to find a new winning formula each election cycle. Is there even a winning formula or is down to luck? If it is down to luck, does it even matter who you have advising you? Scary thoughts, aren’t they?
You need their honesty
Sometimes political candidates get swept up in the romance of running for election, it’s all West Wing and The Good Wife until you need to be dragged back into reality. Serious conversations need to be had about your chances of winning before your name is even put on the ballot.
Remember most individuals are compelled to run for personal or community reasons, political consultants come in handy here. They can separate the business and personal aspirations and break down your chances realistically. It isn't always underdog victories, they are the media stars but more often than not, election victories can be forecasted even before the competitors enter the ring.
At the end of the day, success breeds success, if you hire a political consultant with a good track record then confidence fills the camp almost instantaneously. Ken Mehlman ran President Bush's re-election in 2004, which was groundbreaking in terms of how presidential campaigns were managed at the time. Before that, he was National Field Director for the President's 2000 campaign, so winning was in his system.
Share your vision
This is a controversial one. Some would say that your political consultant doesn’t have to share your ideologies and that he just has to share your aim to win but how can you really separate those? I would tend to side with the 'share your vision' side. It will make every conversation easier if you both were singing off the same hymn sheet.
Bring groundbreaking expertise
Presidential candidate Howard Dean's campaign pushed campaign boundaries using the innovation of experienced political consultant Joe Trippi back in 2004. Trippi came in as Dean's Campaign Manager and proved that a candidate considered a 'long-shot' by many could rival the well-backed John Kerry. Using online meetups, blogging platforms, and online referenda, Trippi modernized the role of the political consultant. He is regarded by many as the first to move grassroots organizing onto the internet.
Like I said above, it's not always this straightforward, it can be tricky to find someone who is constantly reinventing the wheel. Campaigning can go in any direction these days. Periscope and Meerkat were touted as being the technology of the 2016 Elections and yet, it hasn’t quite turned out like that.
So what can we take away from all this?
Each case is definitely unique, what works for one candidate may not necessarily work for another. If you are going down the route of hiring a political consultant, remember to be thorough in your search. Interview for the position, at the end of it all you are hiring someone to do a specific job for you.
Ensure that communications channels are always open and the job should be a lot easier. If you want to learn about Ecanvasser and how we can help during campaigns, leave a comment on the chat box below.