Hillary 2016: Scoring the Digital Strategies of the presidential hopefuls

6 min read

This is the first installment in our series covering the marketing strategies of the 2016 presidential hopefuls. Each post will explore the branding, media, and digital marketing practices of the candidates vying for the top job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Are you #ReadyforHillary?

Hillary launched her campaign for the presidency back in April of this year and has since been coming for your vote via email, social media, and your local Chipotle.

We took a brief look at her campaign strategy and examined her methods for persuading voters to join Team Hillary. Here’s how she’s stacking up:


HillaryHAt the launch of the Hillary for America campaign, the conversation immediately focused on her logo. Graphic designers went all Monday-morning quarterback in their attack on the color scheme, font, and structure of the design. Did it look too much like the generic “Hospital” road sign? Was the clashing of the red and blue visually offensive? Eh, I don’t know. Not my ballpark. It’s his.

Amy McAdams, our associate creative director, was willing to help me out here. Her take:

I think someone else made this comparison, but it looks a lot like FedEx gone political. I get the forward motion thing, but I think it seems forced. And I don’t love the obvious ‘Merica-inspired red and blue tones.


Hillary made her appearance in the July 30th issue of TheSkimm, a newsletter created with the intent of providing its more than 1.5 million subscribers with concise and non-partisan news briefs. According to their 30 Under 30 interview with Forbes, their subscribers are primarily women ages 22-34 making over $100,000 annually.

Clinton was one of several presidential candidates who elected to participate in TheSkimm’s request for an interview. She discussed her first job; her references (deduct three points for saying Bill); and her stance on the economy, Obamacare, and climate change. She came off as likable but relatively casual, with brief (“Yes!”) responses in support of polarizing issues like gay marriage and women’s rights. As an educated voter, I expect more than a vague, one-word answer on incredibly complex issues.

Like all politicians, Clinton is the subject of scrutiny from the press. Some have questioned her swaying stance on social issues and her role in Benghazi. In an investigative report by The Atlantic, David A. Graham outlines Hillary and Bill’s controversies dating back to their Whitewater business venture in 1978. She’s been in the spotlight for a long time and has found herself in the center of quite a few scandals. While she’s certainly not the most hated candidate of this election, she does have high negatives that she’ll have to overcome if she wants to earn the top gig at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


emailA strong email campaign is crucial in motivating people to take action. And while some argue that email is no longer effective for reaching people and inspiring them to engage with your brand, we can all agree that email is still a crucial component of a well-orchestrated marketing strategy. Email marketing can serve to inform and remind people of your brand and, in the case of Hillary, your presidential bid.

While I’ve only just begun as a subscriber to her newsletter, I am a little bored with what I’m seeing (see example email). The formatting is so… dull. I get that you’re on the hunt for the presidency, not America’s Next Top Graphic Designer, but…. spice it up or something. I don’t feel passionate when I read this, and I certainly don’t feel inclined to donate or volunteer in support of her campaign.

Some strange person decided to archive all of the emails from the Hillary campaign, so you can read them there, if you’re into being addressed as “friend” rather than by your actual name.


In addition to unleashing her rap game on Snapchat, Clinton regularly uses Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to communicate with the world.

On Instagram, the democratic front-runner embraces Throwback Thursday, alphabet soup, and social movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #LoveWins. She balances her fun, casual images from the campaign trail with content pieces about important issues facing the 2016 hopefuls.


Her Facebook and Twitter feeds are heavily focused on climate change. She outlines her plans to combat environmental issues with videos and infographics and she makes two large promises for her hypothetical first day as President. First, she “will ensure we hit a target of having more than half a billion solar panels installed across the country” by the end of her first term. Second, she plans to power every single home in America with renewable energy. She gives her followers the opportunity to learn more about her plans through direct links to the climate change section of her website.

The Verdict


While her visual branding started off rocky with the campaign logo, she has excelled with her social media strategy. Her team maintains active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (among others) and capitalizes on trending topics to present Hillary’s stance on social issues, her qualifications and experience, and when appropriate, her sense of humor. She’s very clearly targeting millennials with her social campaigns, and as far as I can tell, it’s working. She has 202k followers on Instagram and boasts fresh content with animated videos and images that clearly tell who she is, where she stands, and where she sees this country developing in the years to come.

Her email marketing strategy could use a facelift, beginning with increased personalization and a visual overhaul. The language is a little more casual (again, targeting millennials) than I see from other candidates. She, like other candidates, might also be guilty of sending entirely too many emails. As this is subjective, I haven’t dinged her too harshly in the grading process.

It’s no secret that Hillary has struggled to keep her name clean in the media. The public has been presented with articles positioning her as a liar, a champion of social rights, a terrible emailer, and a wishwashy candidate. Her saving grace has been her unwavering professionalism when dealing with the media. She is articulate, well-spoken, and highly intelligent. Because of her keen ability to communicate, she might be able to convince voters to look beyond what may or may not have happened in the past.

Clearly, Hillz is resonating with her supporters and inviting them to join her campaign through volunteering, donating, and advocating for her. She has won over the hearts of many and has currently claimed her place as the front-runner for the Democratic party. But can she stay there?

Photo by The Clinton Foundation.