Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PR in election campaigns...Government PR (part IV)

The following are the important functional areas for PR counseling in any typical election campaign for political candidates:

1)      The appraisal of the candidate is the first step in public relations dealing with a political campaign for the political candidate. His/Her financial background, assets, history, party, family, structure and social power – all should be carefully studied. In case of a woman candidate, the PR programmes are quite different. The appraisal gives the scope to determine the methods for the campaign.

2)      The appraisal also should indicate the candidate’s exposure to the voters. The strength of the candidate is to be decided by analysis of his/her trustworthiness, compatibility, ability, experience, administrative capability, energy, good judgment and other virtues. In the election field, there is a close contact between the candidate and the election authority like the Indian Election commission, which is the highest authority in the matters of conduction of election. It is essential for PR personnel to work closely with rules and regulations formulated by the Commission, potential changes and their implication. It is important that PR counselors check and re-check what is being going on in different constituencies. There are also penalties for violation of rules and regulations.

3)      To note contribution limits, independent expenditure, campaign limits should not exceed the limit.

4)      Buying time, booking space, layout advertisement, how and when repetition, language and so on and so forth demand creative judgment of the PR counsel. This decision is left up to the PR counsel only but not outsiders.

5)       The theme what is to be said, timings and competitive strategy are to be strongly stressed. Otherwise, the most important campaign element will be lost and a major loss of voters for election. The theme is very important.

6)      In any election campaign for political candidates, money raising and fund management is an important function. The PR counselors should know that people do not liberally throw away their money; they want to go with the winners. The PR’s success is depending on his/her ability on convincing voters that the candidate has a fair chance of winning.

7)       One of the functions of the PR counsel is the identification of voters, the area of jurisdiction, their composition, demographic features, perceptions, expectations etc.

8)      The different contesting candidates may employ different techniques to ask votes which may vary from place to place. It depends upon the number of contesting candidates, their political, economic and social background, local popularity as well as their political history.

9)      The competition between the candidates is very sensitive, emotional and based on prestige issues. By close of the election campaign the voice of the client must be enough to be heard by every voter, worker, sympathizer etc.  

10)  The trinity of efforts like that the candidates be seen, heard and listened by all the voters should effectively be organized.

11)  There are several ways of reaching voters by way of speeches, rallies, door to door campaign, street gatherings and assembly of workers.

12)  In addition, the PR personnel can reinforce these efforts by personal letters, handouts, advertisements, radio, television etc. to persuade voters.

13)  The messages and efforts should be tailored exclusively to meet local needs, which are flexible and uniform to reach groups of voters.

14)  The whole campaign for a political party should be directed to voters to ask for their votes and reach every voter.

15)  The campaign should be started well in advance, at least one month in advance.

16)  The strategy to attract voter’s attention, convincing them and securing votes is ultimate crucial function of the PR counselors in campaigns for political candidates.

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