Friday, 12 March 2010

Obama 2.0 - a new dawn for Political PR

If well done, a campaign like Obama's would be the result. Well planned, well organized, well implemented. And the result...success. "Change you can believe in", "Yes we can" are the taglines that were used in a campaign that will remain as an example to good political PR practise, at least for being the first campaign to aggressively use social media and branding in its political communication. Social media-a phrase that has been used continuously in most if not all PR blogs, from the tech-savvy Obama campaign to the 'smeargate scandal', an ill-conceived way of using social media in politics. The American campaign has caught the envy of countries all over the world and perhaps the biggest challenge is to measure up to this well orchestrated campaign and countries such as Afghanistan actually used social media in their last election.

For the upcoming UK elections, a survey just carried out, found out that 83% of the contenders are using facebook and 50% using twitter in their campaign. 84% say that they will continue using social media to communicate with their constituents if elected to office although critics say that what may be good for campaign may not be as effective in power. Changes in communication tools are radically shaping political communication, but there are other issues that are as important...

Image management
The importance of the way the public views politicians makes political PR all inclusive of aspects like personality, make-up, dressing and logo design other than just verbal or written statements. McNair(p.135) asserts that the personal image of an individual politicial can be moulded and shaped to suit the image of the political organisation.

Think of Sarah Palin and the supermom image, yet looking young and trendy with her fashionable glasses with attention to detail in ability to accessorize in what is now known as the Palin effect. The republicans may not have won the US election but they managed Palin's 'trendy' image tactic given that she was MCcain's running mate, probably to gain the youth's votes.

Culture has grown to expect a “political show” and is not satisfied until the “lights, camera, action” appeal is met. In the era of modern politics, politicians are judged by their style and this is as important as substance of what they say and do. And it's in order to say that behind every successful political party is a very good Political PR professional.

McNair, B. (2003).
An Introduction to Political Communication(3rd ed.), Routledge

No comments:

Post a Comment