Liberal Democrats shift comms strategy to focus on jobs

The Liberal Democrats' new campaign focusing on job creation is a fundamental shift in campaigning strategy that will be maintained until the next general election, its head of comms has revealed.

Nick Clegg: Leading the campaign on jobs
Nick Clegg: Leading the campaign on jobs

This morning, Nick Clegg launched ‘A Million Jobs for a Stronger Economy’ to highlight the role the party has had in helping create jobs and emphasise its targets for the future.

Tim Snowball, the party’s head of comms, told PRWeek that the campaign represented ‘the most integrated comms initiative the party has run outside an election period’.

The new drive represents a move away from communicating delivery of the party’s manifesto pledge to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000.

'Though this proof point remains a key achievement that we will continue to promote, our proactive campaigns focus will shift to jobs,' said Snowball.

The first phase of the strategy will include campaigning action days taking place across the country tomorrow, with MPs and local parties highlighting the work they and the party nationally are doing to help create jobs and apprenticeships in their local areas.

Snowball will be leading the campaign alongside Clegg’s director of strategy Ryan Coetzee.

Within party HQ, it will be driven by a reorganised political comms directorate, bringing together the party’s policy, polling, media, internal comms, national campaigns and social media teams.

Snowball said it was a response to voter research, with Clegg determined to make the jobs ‘a focus for the party and the Government until the election'.

As well as doorstep campaigning and school visits, he added one particular focus on the apprenticeship phase was on ‘reaching out to in-house publications that might not normally include political features’.

Graham McMillan, CEO of Open Road, said that to gain traction on claiming responsibility for job creation the Liberal Democrats would have to make this ‘the start to a whole new range of policies'.

He warned against neglecting the income tax threshold message, which the party could claim credit for because it had ‘fought for continuously’.

‘The Tories are likely to respond by claiming credit themselves, making it difficult for this jobs claim to stick.’

Earlier this week, former Liberal Democrat head of comms and current party chief of staff Jonny Oates was criticised in a report into handling of sexual harassment complaints.

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