Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Posts Tagged ‘US Election

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So during my lunch break today I logged onto Facebook and something caught my eye. My American friends (and some UK as well), who so often utilise the status updates function to impart comical/pointless one liners on how their days are panning out, are utilising it for something a little deeper today. Almost all of them have updates related to the US elections, invariably supporting Obama but many simply imploring their fellow countrymen to get out and vote.

 

I found this intriguing for a number of reasons.

 

How strange it is that despite being several thousands of miles away we are now able to get real time updates on peoples thoughts and feelings in real time about an election which will ultimately affect us here in the UK

 

Did the creators of Facebook ever envisage the site being used as a political campaigning tool?

 

Would people aged below 30 in the UK be so keen to voice political opinions in such an open and campaigning way?

 

I have no definitive answers on any of those points but it would be interesting to hear what thoughts are out there.

Liam

 

 

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Written by pilotlight

04/11/2008 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Blogging, Media, Tech, Web 2.0

Tagged with ,

Polling PR

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One thing that has taken the fancy of a few of the Infernals in the office at the moment is the greatest PR show on earth – the US presidential election. This is a time where PR is in its purest form: crisis communications, reactive statements, memorable soundbites and good old fashioned mudslinging all hit the headlines and envelop just about every media outlet available to man. Newspapers, magazines, blogs, twitter, websites and even the odd prayer are all inundated with political polemic and unlike almost every other type of PR, everyone has an opinion. More importantly, this is a chance for every Public Relations professional on earth to learn a thing or two on how to PR clients and create new realities – and how not to.

Something that I will be taking away from this election is the power of sticking to a simple PR strategy – seems obvious I know, but you would be surprised how many people get it wrong. Over the length of the Democratic primaries and the Presidential election Obama’s campaign team have done an incredible job in transforming Barack from someone who is a great orator into someone who has the power to change the way people think and the way a nation defines itself in the world and all with one simple message – Change. Through planning a strategy, choosing one clear, key message and sticking to the plan – despite the economic system falling apart around them – the Democratic Party has grown its trust within the greater public and has left the opposition scrambling for what they think people want to hear, all the while destroying their credibility and alienating their core supporters.

This is something I think every PR campaign can learn from – research your audience, choose a message that resonates with them and stick with it. Flip-flopping to try and align with the next best thing will undermine your credibility and ultimately leave you holding your ballot at the polls.

Matt L

Written by pilotlight

23/10/2008 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Media, PR, Web 2.0

Tagged with ,

Roving for voters on Ebay

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A keen student of business
Karl Rove (Dubya’s election strategy wunderkind) has been stirring it up with some interesting comments about the impact of the Internet and technology in general on people’s political leanings. No, I hadn’t thought about it that way either. In an interview with The New Yorker Rove made the point that the Internet was unleashing a new wave of entrepreneurially-minded people whose natural home would be on the centre-right.

“Rove thinks that more voters now are being influenced by technology and religion. “There are two or three societal trends that are driving us in an increasingly deep center-right posture,” he said. “One of them is the power of the computer chip. Do you know how many people’s principal source of income is eBay? Seven hundred thousand.” He went on, “So the power of the computer has made it possible for people to gain greater control over their lives. It’s given people a greater chance to run their own business, become a sole proprietor or an entrepreneur. As a result, it has made us more market-oriented, and that equals making you more center-right in your politics.”

Now, as a seemingly deeply Machiavellian character, it’s not beyond Rove to be flying a kite here rather than making a serious point – and Charles Cooper on CNET certainly thinks there are holes in the argument. I would certainly argue that one’s political stance is much more based on a mosaic of issues and experiences, rather than such a single issue. And how many of these people were on the centre-right anyway? And is this more a reflection on the specifics of US society than a global trend? However, Mr Rove has managed to get George Bush elected twice – quite a feat – so perhaps he does know what he is talking about.

So, what if it is true? Should we, in the PR world, be thinking of this new group of extremely internet-aware consumers as being unified through their political stance even if they are not unified in any other way (other than their Internet usage). Would it even be useful to do so? I’m not sure that politically-infused or politically-aware messaging is such a smart idea for brands that are nothing to do with politics. Its a bit like that old-fashioned advice not to discuss religion or politics at the dinner table. You are likely to offend as many people as you attract. But from the perspective of political parties it may make more sense.

In the UK, both main political parties have been experimenting with their Internet presence and arguably David Cameron’s Conservatives have made most progress via the Web Cameron site. But they are both still in “send” mode – using the Internet as a new delivery mechanism for carefully crafted messages – rather than “receive” mode where they can engage in conversations with their electorate.

I wonder though, maybe with our industry’s limitless love for surveys, the next one should measure the political affiliations of Ebay super-users?

James

Written by pilotlight

14/06/2007 at 12:39 pm

Posted in PR, Web 2.0

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