Political consultant Ryan McCollum shares his secrets at AIC
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Political consultant and communications guru Ryan McCollum knows a thing or two about getting his word out.
And he was happy to share his secrets on a recent visit to Prof. Mary Ellen Lowney’s Public Relations class.
On a rainy morning in late March, there was a ray of sunshine that cut through the gloomy Monday vibes accompanied by the torrential downpours: in the form of a political marketer.
McCollum, owner of RMC Strategies of Springfield, held a special presentation that outlined his work with political candidates on the local, state and national levels. He reached out with his expertise of AIC majors in Communication, Marketing and Political Science, all heavily intrigued.
Born and raised in Springfield, McCollum was a Political Science major with a minor in History at Marist College. That, along with an internship under former state Senator and Majority Leader Linda Melconian helped steer him on his career pathway.
Having a father in Robert E. McCollum, who was a longtime member of the Springfield School Committee, also gave him a push.
In his role at RMC Strategies, he has run campaigns for the likes of James ‘Chip’ Harrington in a state Senate race, and Justin Hurst, who topped the ballot in a Springfield City Council race.
“I help people get elected and help them stay elected,” McCollum stated at the start of his presentation.
His organization on lower Worthington Street is full of people with different skill-sets with the singular goal of getting their candidate votes. They do this via advertisement, design, and news releases.
McCollum’s company has one obvious goal: to inform voters about their candidate and ensure their vote.
As the name suggests, RMC Strategies strategically uses different tools such as i360 Walk and Votebuilder in order to monitor registered voters and how often they vote. This is a strategic play so the company can focus more on reliable voters rather than ones who rarely exercise that right. By figuring out where these voters are, the RMC Strategies can be sure that particular population is well informed and ready to vote for their candidate.
A big element in all this is advertisement, and it comes in all types of formats. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all basic platforms in order to keep the public informed. Mailing personal emails while sending out text messages informing voters of upcoming events is another way to ensure an individual’s vote. A more complex way of advertisement is television and how certain commercial times are more expensive to purchase than others.
Think of the different channels on television as different boxes of demographics; stereotypically, if you’re a sixty-five year old veteran you’re not going to spend your afternoons watching the Disney Channel.
Using channels and their different audiences allows RMC Strategy to once again pick and target who best fits the likelihood of voting for the candidate.
Branding is an advertisement in its own right. Using fonts, colors and subtle art, graphic designers on the RMC Strategy team create the campaigns
most iconic feature: a brand. This brand will appear in everything – official YouTube videos, mailers, lawn signs, and even down to buttons and bumper stickers, the brand is what will stick with the voter during the entire campaign and well into the voting day. Designers come up with the brand by sitting down and getting to know who their candidate really is.
In the Justin Hurst race, McCollum noted that the candidate wanted the color red to be the most dominant feature in his brand, though research shows that blue and greed are the best colors for political races.
“Colors, aesthetics, they come down to a science, really,” McCollum said.
He stated before explaining how the mind reacts to this color subliminally and how that specific shade of red was associated with a ‘stop’ sign – which is not something you want associated with a candidate trying to get elected.
RMC Strategy is an organization which allows candidates to become visible and approachable to the public, and that’s exactly what you need to get in votes.