Cutting edge Ken

February 8, 2012 5:00 pm

If someone had told me a year ago that Ken Livingstone would be the first politician in the world to announce a policy by text message frankly I wouldn’t have believed them. Neither would I have believed them if they’d told me Ken Livingstone would be the first British politician to have a bespoke social media site created which tracks member activity and uses pioneering methods which has resulted in record levels of activists out on the streets.

The truth is Ken is running one of the most cutting edge digital election campaigns in British political history. Over 5 million people have seen Ken’s facebook campaigns, thousands watched his online videos and more crucially thousands have volunteered as a result of interactions on the internet.

On the 3rd January over 2000 volunteers handed out over 500,000 leaflets at over 400 stations. It was a game changer. It created real excitement and a buzz about the campaign not just among our membership but out there among the wider public. It was possible thanks to a system called Nationbuilder that has radically transformed Ken’s ability to mobilise activists.

It means Ken’s campaign can monitor how often volunteers take action, where and the kind of activity they prefer to take part in. Ken’s campaign has a record of thousands of people who took part in fares campaigning on the 3rd January so they can invite them to future events. Nationbuilder tracks their online activity too and turns online activity into off-online support. Nationbuilder sits behind the YourKen.org website that allows supporters exclusive access to content, lets them meet other supporters, share their ideas and sign up for campaign events.

Along with a formidable volunteer operation and on the ground activity, Ken’s campaign is slowly but surely, taking Labour’s message out to every street in London via the power of the internet and Nationbuilder.

Ken’s team has combined this with new text message technology that allows users to have a conversation with Ken and allows the campaign to record, segment and react to responses. Londoners saying they will come to event via text message, promptly receive a phonecall and a follow up email to confirm.

What Ken’s campaign has done very successfully is use the medium of digital to engage with supporters and voters. Rather than just seeing digital as a means to push messages in one direction, the team has used it to engage with users and this has led to increased levels of action and interest in the campaign.

Today Ken’s campaign has launched a major digital offensive including facebook adverts, innovative online ads across a number of websites, 100,000 email and texts to members of the public and another very high quality video.

On May 3rd I’m sure we will see just how effective it has been.

Fiona Twycross is a Labour London Assembly List candidate

  • Anonymous


    What Ken’s campaign has done very successfully is use the medium of digital to engage with supporters and voters. Rather than just seeing digital as a means to push messages in one direction, the team has used it to engage with users and this has led to increased levels of action and interest in the campaign.”

    Just a word of caution. Obviously Ken is going to attract younger people who are happy and comfortable with digital communications, but he will still need to attract older voters and a great many older people are not comfortable with Facebook etc.

    Indeed, according to a newspaper report I read very recently, quite a few younger people even have closed their Facebook accounts because of concern over privacy issues – and of course, younger people are usually more adventurous and more relaxed – after all they have grown up with the internet.

    It is well known that older people are more likely to vote, so I would hope he would still use “old technology” intensively

    • Anonymous

      But Ken must have  taken a crash course then, to have done all this, or is it that Ken has a good team doing this behind him. Big difference between setting up your self then getting in good people to do it for you.

  • JC

    All very interesting, but so what? We’re in the digital age. Text message though, hardly broadcast; what’s wrong with a tweet (or can’t policies be brief enough) or blogging? Texting is so exclusive anyway. Blogs are much more inclusive.

  • Pingback: The US Presidential election and the future of campaigning? « thoughtful campaigner

Latest

  • Featured Scotland “I’m standing for First Minister of Scotland and I intend to win”: Jim Murphy joins Scottish Labour leadership race

    “I’m standing for First Minister of Scotland and I intend to win”: Jim Murphy joins Scottish Labour leadership race

    We now have three candidates for Scottish Labour leader, as Jim Murphy’s long-awaited candidacy has been confirmed. The Shadow International Development Secretary and former Scotland Secretary released a statement this evening, saying that his intention is to be Scottish Labour leader and First Minister: “I’m standing for First Minister of Scotland and I intend to win. I want to bring Scotland back together after the referendum. There is so much to be proud of in Scotland but so much we […]

    Read more →
  • Comment I’m not upset about Cameron’s refusal to wear a t-shirt – it’s everything else that gets me

    I’m not upset about Cameron’s refusal to wear a t-shirt – it’s everything else that gets me

    On Monday the news broke that David Cameron has repeatedly refused a request by Elle magazine to be photographed wearing a t-shirt. Why? Because on it, the t-shirt says “This is what a feminist looks like”. There have been a catalogue of ideas floated since about why he might not have done it – “It’s only a mag campaign” or “You shouldn’t dress up the Prime Minister”, say. But really, it’s not important that it was a request from a […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Anas Sarwar: We shouldn’t allow the SNP to “talk left and act right”

    Anas Sarwar: We shouldn’t allow the SNP to “talk left and act right”

    Interim Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar may have formally declared that he will not be entering the race to succeed Johann Lamont, but that has not stopped him analysing where Labour have failed in Scotland over the past few years. In an interview the the Huffington Post, Sarwar identifies the perception that the SNP are more left wing as a problem – even if that belief is misplaced. He said: “The SNP have been allowed to wear our clothes and talk left […]

    Read more →
  • Comment PMQs verdict: What have we learned? That Westminster has tried and failed to control immigration?

    PMQs verdict: What have we learned? That Westminster has tried and failed to control immigration?

    You could tell early on that PMQs was going to be…different, this week. The Prime Minister was sat in his seat like a coiled spring. On the Labour benches opposite, Harriet Harman was wearing a t-shirt reading “This is what a feminist looks like”. Cameron had refused five times to be photographed wearing the same t-shirt, so it was clearly intended to rile him. In reality it simply looked like a stunt, and appeared to have no impact on the […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Scotland Neil Findlay confirms he is standing for Scottish Labour leader

    Neil Findlay confirms he is standing for Scottish Labour leader

    Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary in the Scottish Parliament, Neil Findlay, has announced his intention to run for leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Findlay’s name has been among the list of potential candidates since Johann Lamont stood down on Friday. There were rumours this morning that Findlay was reconsidering whether to stand following the surprise declaration of Sarah Boyack yesterday. In a statement this lunchtime, however, Findlay says Gordon Brown was the candidate he would not have wanted to run […]

    Read more →