Kyle McDermott, Author at JVA Campaigns


Kyle McDermott, Partner

Kyle McDermott has spent his twenty-year career advising labor unions, corporations, associations, political parties, candidates, and ballot initiative coalitions. It is rare to find a single individual with this breadth of experience, relationships, and ability to navigate complex organizations and situations.

Before joining JVA Campaigns, Kyle spent over a decade in the labor movement, managing state and national advocacy campaigns and developing and implementing winning ballot initiatives and public affairs campaigns. He is a trusted advisor to governors, US Senators, presidential candidates, national labor leaders, and CEOs.

Since joining JVA in 2013, Kyle has used his deep understanding of working-class voters to design highly effective political and public affairs campaigns that deliver success where others have failed. Additionally, he leads JVA’s Gaming Division—winning crucial victories across the country for casino operators.

Understanding Your Audience: The Difference Between Conservatives and Liberals

Understanding Your Audience: The Difference Between Conservatives and Liberals

Understanding how people think and receive messages is the first step to winning your election, legislative battle, or public affairs campaign. To win people over, you need to meet them at their value system. When you understand what matters most to them and what they like and dislike, you can then tailor your campaign and messaging accordingly.

The mindsets described below help explain the complexity of people’s value systems and emphasize why any campaign message must be crafted in a way that speaks to them. 

Conservative Mindset—Strict Father Figure Model

Those who identify as conservative tend to follow the Strict Father Figure Model and value loyalty, authority, personal responsibility, and moral hierarchy. They are activated by fear and are natural protectors. 

Progressive Mindset—Nurturing Parent Model

Those who identify as more progressive follow the Nurturing Parent Model and see government and its actors as protectors who hold the safety net for the less fortunate. They embrace fairness, equality, and empathy. 

Moderate Working-Class Voters

Moderate working-class voters take great pride in their culture, work, background, and community. They respect tradition, hard work, and personal responsibility. While they have admiration for law and law enforcement, they dislike forced interference—be it the government or the media. This results in the resentfulness of elites and political correctness. 

Since 2012, JVA Campaigns has been working with the United Steelworkers (USW), House Majority PAC, and other progressive allies to identify messages that effectively move working-class voters. The result has been an overwhelming amount of victories all across the country. Although it’s important to understand the issues, what’s most important is getting to the core of what these voters see as a better life for themselves and for their families.

In Conclusion

Regardless of the type of campaign you are waging, when speaking to your target audience you must meet them where they are. Focus on their values and community rather than polarizing national issues, and develop a layered communications plan that effectively speaks to all members of your target audience. Frame your message with metaphors, images, and emotion. Lastly, be present at local events, communicate through local media and leaders, and put personal, human touches on your materials wherever possible. 

Essential Campaign Tools: Direct Mail

Essential Campaign Tools: Direct Mail

Invest in a proven tactic. Here’s why direct mail is a valuable tactic for your campaign.

Year after year, direct mail continues to prove itself as an essential tool for winning campaigns. It is the most persuasive and cost-effective messenger for candidates trying to reach swing voters. Here’s why:

  • You make the decision: Direct mail allows candidates to decide exactly when they want their messages to be received by their target audiences. Ninety-eight percent of consumers bring in their mail the same day it’s delivered.
  • Mail allows you to integrate, repeat, and validate: Multiple pieces to a target audience allow candidates to reinforce their messages and gain name recognition. Direct mail’s effectiveness can also be boosted by layering it with digital.
  • Mail is powerful and targeted: It has eight seconds from the mailbox to the trash can. Effective direct mail will catch the voters’ eyes with quality photography and engage them with concise and targeted messaging.
  • Mail drives voters to take action: Over half of Americans said that they are more likely to search for information on a candidate after receiving mail. Candidates can direct voters to visit their websites for more information or to donate to the campaign.
At JVA Campaigns

We cut our teeth on high-stakes electoral politics in some of the country’s most pivotal states, where agility and the ability to shift tactics at a moment’s notice can mean the difference between failure and success. Get in touch with us.