05 Jul Political Public Relations Agency
What makes candidates shine in elections? What makes people distinguish politicians and leaders within elections and why?
In the same
Take Margaret Thatcher’s (Conservative) distinctive blue handbag, Winston Churchill’s (Conservative) D-Day cigar and Harold Wilson’s (Labour) pipe. Each person was not only remembered by the choices they made for their country, but also by these icons. The infamous Nigel Farage jumped on board with his unusual brown coat. Other leaders have taken slightly less dramatic approaches by wearing ties, pins, or broaches which define their party stance.
As the BBC tells it: “Margaret Thatcher’s handbag was an icon of an era: a weapon wielded against opponents or unfortunate ministers.” The Oxford English Dictionary even picked up on the word and defines the verb “to handbag” as: (of a woman politician), treat (a person, idea etc.) ruthlessly or insensitively… and if that doesn’t tell you something about her leadership, I don’t know what will.
So how does this affect a political campaign?
If leaders of a party are charismatic, different or quirky in a way which pairs with contemporary culture of the time and they seem like real peoplethen often their parties do unusually well. Take feisty Margaret Thatcher, inspirational Winston Churchill, controversial Nigel and Harold Wilson who changed a badly devastated Britain after greatness faded in WWII. Of course, the leader of the party is in the spotlight and must accept party blunders and mistakes as well as being the person continuously giving speeches and in the public eye. If a party leader is weak, it may seem like the party has little to stand for, even if this is not so. To have iconic symbols and clothing which people remember you by can only increase your chances of being spoken about and is a very sneaky and clever way of improving your public relations.
How does this link to our Political Public Relations Agency ?
Individual PR for party leaders and politicians hoping to climb to the top is just as, if not more than, important than PR campaigns for their relative parties. It promotes them as a singular, capable person, whilst outlining their policies for the country in terms of their political ideology, and for all politicians, having a great PR strategy in place is essential because of course, you cannot please everyone which can cause some terrible blunders and screaming headlines.
Why Politicians Need A PR Agency Now More Than Ever.
When used correctly, social media circulates your key messages and builds your personal brand. If used poorly or inconsistently, crisis or a poor reputation awaits. This 24/7 scrutiny and interrogation means they need a political public relations agency, now more than ever.
Both sides of the pond have seen successful social media campaigns from prominent political figures. Barack Obama used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to cultivate his ‘good-guy’ image. Obama struck the balance between sharing weighty, moralistic issues and personal insights (pictures of him with Michelle Obama and his children, for example,) Obama’s online persona was, and still is, clean-cut, well-presented and passionate.
Jeremy Corbyn is another politician who has made the most of the social media resources at his disposal. Like him or not, he cultivates a strong personal image as relatable to the country’s youth without being patronising. Corbyn’s online presence has led to a rise in younger Labour supporters. Dubbed the ‘Corbynistas’, a large proportion of this swathe of left-leaning followers stem from social presence.
These politicians post regular content in an articulate manner, using high quality photographs or resources. More importantly, they generally have a conscientious online manner.
The advent of social media means that politicians mistakes can be seen across the globe within seconds. Even seemingly innocuous decisions are blown out of proportion and
There’s a fine balance between being engaged and using social media too much. Whilst consistent content is positive, quantity doesn’t always trump quality. Take, for instance, a certain orange-coloured individual across the Atlantic. Does he consistently post and keep up with what’s going on online? Yes. Does he come across as abrasive, shockingly unaware and impulsive? Also yes. If this person has a team helping with their social media, it doesn’t seem to be working.
One of the key factors regarding political social media is whether the person in question operates the account entirely themselves (as this bottle of fake tan seems to) or whether they have a team behind them. The latter enables the account to remain level-headed and reduces the chances of damaging online confrontations. The former is a diet-coke fueled bull in a China shop. (Although according to them they’re good friends).
Personal opinions aside, this leader’s online presence is objectively a car crash, leaves little to be desired and endears him to very few. In cases like this, even the best political public relations agency would struggle!
The ‘Somewhere In-Betweens.’
Nows time for a cautionary tale, so settle down and make yourself comfortable. Justin Trudeau became Canada’s PM back in 2015. A firmly progressive liberal, he oversaw the legalisation of marijuana in 2018. He also led the country’s first ever gender-balanced cabinet and made climate change a priority. Furthermore, he settled a remarkable number of refugees.
Throughout these career-defining moments, his online brand was consistent. He moved his official photographer onto the same street as him. Then posted a mixture of personal and public photos (much like Obama). In the process, he reinforced his image to the public as the antithesis to the countless far-right leaders that were popping up all over the world. His premiership was clean, his online persona was even cleaner, spotless in fact.
The thing with the internet, is that when something is online, it’s there permanently, no matter how hard you try to bury it. Earlier this year, a photo emerged from 2001 of Trudeau at a fancy-dress party dressed in ‘blackface.’ Regardless of his contrition, his more aware current views or his reputation management agency’s attempts at mitigating the crisis, it has rocked Trudeau’s public image to the core.
People’s opinion of the man and the leader is now as shaky as it’s ever been. Whilst he seems to have ridden the worst of the storm, it just goes to show that it only takes a lapse in online judgement to have a significantly damaging effect on your political career.
Politicians PR agency
If you’re in need of a politicians PR agency, then get in touch with the team at VerriBerri today!