Political Branding Lessons from Mongolia (my interview for CongressDIGITAL)

Published on 20 July 2013

The branding and design of Mongolia's incumbent President Elbegdorj Tsakhia for this year's elections was clean and modern. We had the chance to talk about it with Mr. Sainbayar Davaabat, Advisor Non-Staff to the President of Mongolia (since January 2013), who worked as head of the Social Media PR team at Elbegdorj Tsakhia's election campaign headquarters.

CongressDIGITAL: Please tell us more about the campaign's logo.

Mr. Sainbayar Davaabat: It was mainly our PR director and chief strategist Ganbaatar Amgalanbaatar's idea. The campaign logo denotes Э ("E" in English), the initial of President Elbegdorj Tsakhia's first name. As for the design, it was inscribed with the national flag and the logo of the Democratic Party. The logo "E" was used pretty much on all campaign messages where the letter "E" occurred -- such as on our official TV news channel Unity news (Эв нэгдлийн мэдээ).

CongressDIGITAL: What font did you choose to use and why?

Mr. Sainbayar Davaabat: We used traditional Arial font all across our official website and print media for the straightforward and fresh feel of it. Also, we were careful about not being overpowering as the President was an incumbent.

CongressDIGITAL: Please tell us more about the poster with two horses.

Mr. Sainbayar Davaabat: Mongolians are traditionally a nomadic people. More than half of our population still lives in the countryside herding animals. For both urban and nomadic voters, we have presented a campaign slogan: "Илүү эрчээр Илүү хөгжил рүү" or "Moving forward with More strength" on a poster with the president riding a horse with a spare horse. Mongolians take a spare horse when we hit the road to a faraway distance. So the spare horse symbolizes our candidate's far-reaching goal and his second term in Presidential office. I believe it was a fantastic combination and delivers the message clearly to a voter's optimistic spirit and tradition at the same time.

CongressDIGITAL: What is your "digital strategy" for social media?

Mr. Sainbayar Davaabat: Our main strategy was to encourage youth participation and volunteerism. Compared to the previous elections, social media played a significant role in this year's Presidential election. With 1.9 million voters in the country, we have a rising number of 630,000 people on Facebook and roughly 65,000 urban voters on Twitter. This means 1 out of every 3 voters is on Facebook while 1 out of every 30 voters is on Twitter. We have created a Facebook – Twitter – YouTube viral chain and managed all of it simultaneously motivating volunteer supporters. We have carefully analyzed and worked with party members, volunteers and supporters on the most popular Facebook groups and pages and Twitter users with the most followers. We strategically encouraged youth volunteers to be more creative in making amateur videos, music videos, comic banners and web posters to promote our campaign messages. Youth turnout was crucial in this election. Also, we have used an in-house, proprietary software which does parsing and data mining on tweets to examine popularity rankings of the Presidential candidates among Twitter users. The announcement of the rankings among Twitter users and exit poll results from diaspora voters became most talked about topics on social media. It certainly influenced floating voters effectively. Our official website was designed by the New Media Marketing Agency and I believe they did a fantastic job. It was meant to be contemporary, clean-cut, yet user friendly all across. Official social media channels were managed by our professional team of volunteers. We also encouraged application developers to release Android application games for free download.


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