Regardless of the likely success of the contender, the media are guaranteed to cover the launch of a leadership candidate’s campaign.
For that reason, there is a growing trend for leadership candidates to try and have several bites at the “this is my campaign launch” cherry.
Liz Truss’s campaign is a textbook example of the multi-launch in action. In the opening week of the leadership contest she “launched her campaign” three times.
In having three separate launches – each fairly successful – Truss has managed to stay in the media narrative at a time when it could have easily left her behind thanks to the unexpected success of Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch.
Truss first announced her candidacy with a comment piece in The Telegraph on the evening of Saturday 9th July.
The article – posted just over 24 hours after Rishi Sunak announced with his launch campaign video – clearly landed her candidate positioning that she has stuck with since.
Liz Truss’s narrative is that she is a pragmatic politician with proven ability to deliver change.
“We have less than two years to prepare for the next election. It will be an uphill battle, but one we can win by delivering for the British people. I am putting myself forward because I can lead, deliver and make the tough decisions. I have a clear vision of where we need to be, and the experience and resolve to get us there.”Link to Daily Telegraph comment piece
On Monday 11th July Liz Truss again “launched” her campaign – and secured a front page article in The Telegraph in doing so – with a release of a campaign video, slogan and logo.
Liz Truss’s slogan – Trusted to Deliver – is a neat summary of her campaign narrative and wins points for weaving in a pun on the candidate’s name (there’s a Trus in Trusted).
The logo on its own is a little flat.
There’s an attempt to make a ✅ out the V of ‘deliver’, but this isn’t particularly rewarding visually or intellectually.
But it’s by no means terrible and probably makes it into the top 3 logos of the contest.
And then on Thursday 21st July, Truss launched her campaign again, this time with a press conference.
The event itself wasn’t perfect. Truss seemed to get lost trying to exit the room, much to the delight of those on Twitter.
But the design and staging of the event was very strong indeed, which led to brilliant photographs and video clips, and enabled excellent coverage in the media.
Looking at the event setup without the context of how journalists would frame the shot and what the candidate would wear, it doesn’t seem anything special. Indeed the roll banners might seem a bit amateur.
But when you see the lectern and backdrop with the candidate in frame – who wears a deliberately contrasting outfit – the expertise of the designers is revealed.
The message around “trust” and “delivery” is clearly landed and the candidate looks striking and full of leadership potential.
The setup made for a picture so good that The Times put it on their front page, The Sun gave it a double page spread and seemingly everyone from the FT to the Daily Mirror covered the speech.
The first live TV debate took place on Friday 15th July and Truss took the opportunity in her opening remarks to again land her “pragmatic change maker” campaign narrative.
After successfully landing this narrative in the national media four times in one week, the message might start to sink in with Tory MPs and members.