Printing Industry Plays a Pivotal Role in Elections, Including at the State and Local Levels
In large cities and small towns across the country, state and local political candidates and backers of ballot initiatives have been singularly focused on communicating with voters and promoting their positions – all coming to a head with the federal elections on one autumn day.
While broadcast political ads can seem omnipresent as Election Day draws near, there’s an entire ecosystem of campaign activities that is supported by the printing and graphics industries and is essential to those in down-ballot races and the communities these elected officials will serve.
The pandemic has thrown every industry into a tailspin and that includes public service and the election administration system at the state and city level. The ability to quickly adapt to this new environment has required print providers to expand their service offerings to meet new needs of political candidates and government entities charged with overseeing free and safe polls.
State and local candidates who in the past relied heavily on their volunteers canvassing neighborhoods to personally connect with voters have had to shift to phone banking and dropping off literature at homes through door hangs, brochures and flyers to maintain social distancing. Candidates in local races will tell you name recognition will make or break their campaigns, much of it achieved through cost-effective tactics like yard signs, postcard mailings, and handouts.
Public indoor spaces doing double-duty as polling sites are being prepared to meet health and safety standards so that voters can, with a level of confidence, cast their ballots in person out of habit or preference. Social-distancing floor and wall graphics, directional signage and site volunteers in personal protective equipment (PPE) will be the norm on Nov. 3.
Where there is challenge, there is always opportunity. What lessons can be learned from how we support the election process that can be adapted to other customer types?
Above all, it is having the mindset to say “yes” to customers who come to us with what seem like obstacles they are unable to see their way over. It may be re-imagining the ways in which they promote their business to add targeted direct mail to their marketing mix, or how they can pivot to continue operating under new restrictions with required PPE for their public-facing personnel. That means we may need to expand our perceptions of who we are and what products and services we can offer to support our customers.
This year has forever changed nearly every business type and what their futures may look like. Print and graphics providers who have stepped up can feel a sense of pride by continuing to be part of the solution as business and industry safely welcome us back to their stores, offices and facilities.
That, we can all consider a victory!
Mike Cline is VP of Franchise Development at Alliance Franchise Brands. He works with independent print and sign businesses interested in accessing the many benefits of franchise network participation. He can be contacted by phone at 800-445-5172 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.