The 2021 polls saw the whole district of Thiruvananthapuram swaying Leftwards, except one – the coastal constituency of Kovalam represented by Adv. M. Vincent, who was the last man standing in the UDF army there. In his second consecutive win, M. Vincent garnered 74,868 votes, securing a whopping lead of 11,562 votes.
In the historic win when the first time Kovalam re-elected a Congress MLA, a huge role was played by the Political PR team of Davidson PR & Communications (DPC). Till this year, political PR was limited to media interactions and press releases, but DPC decide to upgrade the strategy that would ensure a fair win.
When elected to Kerala Legislative Assembly in 2016, Adv. M. Vincent led by just 2,615 votes in his contest against sitting MLA Jameela Prakasam. This time, the Congress leader had an even stronger opponent – former minister and – JD(S) leader Neelalohithadasan Nadar.
Though Vincent, who rose to the higher ranks of the party from his humble origins through sheer dedication and honesty, the challenges were numerous. He had to tide over the party infights and the towering presence of Nadar, a strong leader of stature, who was elected from Kovalam five times.
The five-member Team DPC began campaigning for Vincent, much ahead, in October 2020. After a thorough study of the candidate, his opponents and the constituency, the team ensured strategic planning and accurate implementation at each stage. Coupled with an inspiring teamwork 24×7, the DPC PR campaign turned out to be path-breaking.
The first task was bringing to public attention the social, cultural, development activities Vincent led in the constituency in the past five years. Media attention was brought to his down-to-earth personality, commitment to voters and the campaigns involving weavers and road safety practices. But there needed to be a ‘wow factor’ to draw all eyes and ears to Kovalam. A tie-up of the famous GI-tagged Balaramapuram weaves with Amazon Karigar, the initiative that shot India’s rich handicraft heritage to global recognition, did the magic. The weavers’ community, hit by floods and lockdowns, got a huge boost.
Upping the digital presence was crucial. All the works by the Kovalam MLA were consolidated and promoted through a website. An on-ground intelligence report collected over months gauged the responses towards his activities, promises and development; it was very favourable. Despite the UDF strongholds collapsing in the local body polls, Vincent was widely loved. A Wikipedia page was created and a solid social media presence was ensured through creative posters and testimonial videos.
On analysing the mandate, Political PR proves to be an emerging and inevitable part of election campaigns. With the focus on image makeover and reputation management through careful and advance planning, campaigns, surveys and creative content, like what Team DPC did for Adv. M. Vincent and the people of Kovalam, Political PR is a sure shot idea.