Politics yet again. Communication?
It’s official, we’re in the middle of an election campaign. Messages about what candidates will do abound, as do messages about their opponents. Public opinion is divided, naturally, between preferences, journalists who criticize, attack, praise, analysts reveal and make predictions. Summa summarum, the public space is flooded on all channels: outdoor, tv, text messages, online, with messages and politicians.
First of all, it must be said that this happens every four years, which somewhat denotes the low interest that politicians show towards getting involved in the community and public space. It is true, it is an election campaign, which means that we inevitably witness a peak of communication and political presence but the difference, compared to the period when it is not an election campaign, is huge. A politician, an administrator or a future administrator of a mandate must be present in the four years, to prove his interest and involvement.
What should be observed about the communication and the political presence:
1. “Corporate poker face” or conformity:
– The candidate is dressed in a suit, on a white background or on the colour of the party, the logo is placed somewhere on the page and a written message, usually in an incorrect language similar to the candidate’s attitude;
– Huge mistakes: for example, candidates are dressed in a very elegant way, they wear expensive suits, some even have gold buttons on the cuff of their shirt, they wear watches that cost thousands of euros. Okay, it denotes well-being. However, it can also show that the candidate could be harder to be corrupted because he/she has an assured life, but for most people, who live with the average or minimum wage, displaying gold buttons and expensive watches becomes a sensitive issue. Moreover, it can raise questions such as: where does the candidate get so much money from?
– Communication strategies based on the same used means of communication: posters, public gatherings, flyers, participation in talk shows. The messages are also the same, the same speeches with the incorrect use of language, the same immobile attitude of a poker player.
– Platforms and political messages either conformist or vague or with large objectives but far from the needs of the citizen and in general without a concrete explanation of the repercussions and the implications in the daily life of the citizen.
2. “I’m a person, just like you” or the notable exceptions:
– Very few candidates approach political communication in a more relaxed and different way, using a completely different language, tone of voice or visual message. Mentions: Nicușor Dan (Bucharest City Hall) and Peter Eckstein Kovacs (Cluj City Hall) who talk, by comparison with the others, about very specific things with direct implications in the citizen’s life.
– “Human” interviews and speeches: some candidates, including those mentioned above, speak and respond directly, clearly and very personally to journalists or talk shows.
– Normal, ordinary clothing and behaviour.
– Concrete platforms and political messages, with particularities, and the explanation of their implications in the plan of the citizen’s life.
3. “I will sacrifice myself for you, even if it’s not needed” or extreme exceptions:
– Candidates who promises anything and everything.
– Here we also meet the subspecies of the mocking, joking candidate.
– In this case, visual communication no longer matters, everything is subsumed by promises more than generous and unsustainable in the real way.
“Life is made of small and important things”
What the first two categories might do (the third doesn’t really matter):
– The conformist ones could borrow some of the lightness, personal and more human note of those from the notable exceptions. They could speak and explain more concretely their plans and could set their goals with direct and specific involvement in the daily life of the citizen.
– The “notable” ones could take an interesting look at the discipline and consistency of the “conformists” one. In addition, they could include more general, “high-breathing” targets in their platforms.
Without giving verdicts, without making any predictions and without having statistical sociological data, based only on experience and flair, I believe that voters will go, in the majority of cases, to the first category of politicians because they think they are safer than those in the second. Why? It’s simple because:
1. The vast majority of citizens are also compliant, thus falling into the same category;
2. The candidates are part of large political parties, thus again inducing the impression of security and membership.
3. The second category, that of notable exceptions, are generally independent candidates or candidates who mould themselves to local specificities, thus having a chance of success only in special cases, and “field” examples are rare and prove this once again.