You’ve decided to run for student council vice president. You are qualified, with experience leading groups, keeping track of money, and brainstorming ideas for improvement. You have already been in student council without holding office for two years, and your record is solid. You have helped out a lot and taken on more responsibility each year. Your close classmates and fellow student council members think you would do a great job in the office if you win.
But you need more votes than just those of your closest allies. You need the majority of the student body to vote for you. This includes all kinds of people who don’t know you, and who couldn’t care less about what kind of job you will do if elected. Imagine, for the sake of argument, that they are all being forced to vote in their homeroom classes, so the amount of people voting is a lot bigger than the amount of people voting who actually know you.
You can’t rely on word of mouth in a campaign like this. You need ways to get your name out to the entire student body. Think of it as an advertising campaign: you need people to remember the product, and the product is you. Even if they don’t care about you or the job you’ll be doing, they need to remember your name so that when they see the ballot they will circle your name—because it’s the one they recognize.
A great way to get people to remember you—to really get yourself engrained in their memories—is by offering a visual. That’s why billboards are so popular, and why advertising companies so often put memorable or strange images in their commercials or print ads. People remember pictures and simple slogans.
So what can you do? Everyone will be putting up posters. What can you do to go a step beyond?
How about making t-shirts? T-shirts will make anyone who is wearing them a walking billboard, a walking advertisement for your candidacy. You don’t need to put too much information on the t-shirts—just your name, the office you’re running for, and maybe the date of the election. Other than that, think of the t-shirts as a way to sell yourself to total strangers. It would be great to include a solid reason to vote for you—believe it or not, there are people in the school who care about who ends up being student council vice president. But mostly you want to have a memorable image (say a giant picture of your face), and a clever slogan that, ideally, includes your name. Your name is, after all, what’s going to be on the actual ballot.
Once you’ve designed the t-shirts, distribute them to your friends and supporters. Try to get them to people who have different types of schedules, classes, and activities. That way you can reach more people. You could also hand out free t-shirts at lunchtime or on breaks. Just get the image of you and your name out their, so on voting day, people will remember you and smile—and circle your name!