Commentary

TheSkimm Uses Brand Awareness To Mobilize Readers To Vote

According to polling reported by USA Today,less than half of millennial women plan to vote in the midterms. That's despite the fact that more women than ever are running for office and are topping existing donation records. 

TheSkimm, a millennial-focused membership media company, wants to remedy this by mobilizing its users for the 2018 election. Using its brand identity, built through its popular flagship newsletter, a newly introduced app and a team of Skimm’bassadors, the company aims to get 100,000 people to vote in the midterms.

To jumpstart the effort, TheSkimm flew 28 women — Skimm’bassador vote captains — to New York last week to take part in a two-day conference. The conference was part of the company’s “No Excuses” campaign, which focuses on issues like immigration and healthcare by providing key information on TheSkimm’s site. 

The "Skimm'bassador vote captains left the weekend with tools to take back to their communities to encourage people to vote in a nonpartisan effort.

“We want to make sure people feel informed. We want to make sure they feel heard. One of the biggest ways we can do that is by making sure they get out there to vote:” TheSkimm co-founder Danielle Weisberg told USA Today.  

The campaign is reminiscent of MTV’s Rock the Vote, founded in 1990. Though Rock the Vote relied heavily on celebrity involvement, it also used MTV’s brand to ignite the 18-24 voter base across the country.  

In 2008, the campaign registered 2.6 million voters, making it the largest nonpartisan drive in the nation’s history.  

What both of these efforts require is a brand that is both recognizable and trusted. One that also knows how to engage its fans toward action.   

Like Rock the Vote, TheSkimm’s campaign relies heavily on volunteers, including those who gathered in New York. Through building a prior stable of Skimm’bassadors, the brand had already created an exclusive group among its users. 

Choosing vote captains from that group is a savvy move, bringing even more cache to a position that, in itself, uses readers to promote TheSkimm brand voluntarily. 

As people become more connected across platforms, whether through apps, social media or smart speakers, a brand’s ability to engage them is essential, particularly in a participatory democracy.

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