Tags: greg kraut | campaign | election | branding

Politicians Could Learn a Lot From Greg Kraut Campaign

Image: Politicians Could Learn a Lot From Greg Kraut Campaign

The American flag flies in late afternoon along the Long Island Sound coast in Westport, Connecticut. (James Kirkikis/Dreamstime.com)

Monday, 08 Jan 2018 03:30 PM Current | Bio | Archive

What happened?

Mook, Podesta, Palmieri and their clients past and future could learn a thing or two from what just went on in the Greens Farms Westport Connecticut District 5 election.

A guy who nobody ever heard of, but who wanted to serve and better his community by representing it in town meetings, used big data, small data, and no data to win an election with 457 votes. Lest that total look small to you, the number was the highest recorded vote for a District 5 candidate since they started recording and preserving them in 2001.

“I used the Freedom of Information act and information provided by the registrar to learn who was most likely to vote in this off-year election and I sent them e-mails, made phone calls, and knocked on doors introducing myself and asking how as a District 5 Representative I could help them,” Greg Kraut said.

He found through polling that each sub-district, small as it was, actually had different issues voters were interested in. Kraut made sure he raised them when he contacted them and followed up individually as if he were already hired.

One sub-district was anxious to get speeding under control; another district simply wanted a full stop sign on a dangerous corner; one group of residents of senior housing hoped for a sidewalk to make it safer to get to the grocery store; still another sought to get a transfer station and truck garage to start their noisy but necessary job a little later in the day.

The doors he knocked on and the emails and calls he made were more focused on very likely voters based on their voting history. He “communicated” with the rest of the voters with his unorthodox but almost beautiful signs that matched the greenery in the background. His Facebook page, of course, also detailed his thoughts and suggestions.

When Kraut used the phone, he sought on each call to engage the potential voter on issues; therefore, he stayed positive and really ignored his opponents throughout the campaign. Running against Hartford was predictable; running for Greens Farms at the same time was the key. The cliché among politicos is that voters say they want a positive campaign but can only really be swayed by attacks.

As for the Facebook page, he created and designed the site drawing on his son to hold the election sign which Greg also designed.

Instead of the usual complaints about ugly signs all over town, the Kraut

Signs proved popular or at least palatable probably because of the grassy background that worked with the lawns they sat on. Periodically, Kraut checked early mornings to see if the signs were standing and not looking like something the resident had thrown out.

“After the election,” Kraut said, "I was the first out at 4 AM to pick up all my signs. My wife thought I was crazy, but I didn’t want people to wake up to a lot of outdated election ads all over the neighborhood.”

Instead of a Boeing 757 campaign plane, he used a green Big Cat electric bike made even greener by his election message, Preserve Greens Farms.

Knocking on doors proved no more dangerous than it is to a letter carrier; i.e. barking dogs made the candidate nervous, but he was amazed how many people invited him in and poured a cup of coffee and talked about the district.

Phone calls, of course, were trickier. Greg tried to avoid dinner times, and if no one answered, he left this message for the voter:

Hi, it’s Greg Kraut and I am your neighbor on Center Street. I am running to represent the district and you at Town Meetings. I wanted to call and formally introduce myself, let you know who I am, and some of the issues especially in light of the fiscal mess in Hartford and how it impacts Greens Farms.

Then he asked the voter to call him at his direct line and finished with a reminder of election day hours and, of course, his name and campaign line: “Let’s Preserve Greens Farms.”

I worked on two winning presidential campaigns, Ronald Reagan in ’84 and George Herbert Walker Bush in ’88. I wrote and co-produced Bush’s Convention Film and almost all the positive commercials in that year’s campaign.

None of that now seems to me as stirring as the excruciating detail of this Greg Kraut campaign in the times we live.

I would say if somebody gave this Kraut guy a billion-plus, like the Clinton Campaign had, you’d see the next president.

Tom Messner worked forever in advertising. In politics, he avoided the predictable negative bent and did positive ads for Reagan in ’84 and for Bush in ’88 along with Bush’s convention film. The agency he co-founded created NASDAQ’s first branding, Volvo’s comeback, and Fox News’s “We report. You Decide.” Then learning from the pols he partnered with (Roger Ailes in particular), they brought attack ads to such formerly benign areas such as telecom (MCI). At 73, he’s doing two things he never did before: Blogging here on wildly unconnected subjects coming on the heels of last year’s adventure: the writing of his first play, a musical “Dogs” destined now for either Broadway or The Pound. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Mook, Podesta, Palmieri and their clients past and future could learn a thing or two from what just went on in the Green Farms Westport Connecticut District 5 election.
greg kraut, campaign, election, branding
Monday, 08 Jan 2018 03:30 PM
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