Davidson leads the way IN POLITICAL PR

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.

Politics and Media, an Undeniable Relationship

If we scrutinise the political scenario, there is always an invisible thread that connects politics and media. One cannot almost survive without the other. That demands harmony between both the entities. However, the recent episodes show that harmony is under threat. Everywhere, politicians and media are at loggerheads, and a few politicians have even opted for an extreme measure like boycotting media. Is that a solution? We believe the rift would only damage the image of a politician and the party he or she represents.

History shows that the future of a public figure is indirectly proportional to his or her approach towards the media. From pamphlets and newspapers to television channels and new media, the platform has played a crucial role in changing the way a nation thinks. There comes the significance of politicians maintaining a healthy relationship with the media for survival. There is no dispute over the fact that the primary duty of a public servant is to work for the betterment of society. However, in this changing time of media influx, it is essential that a politician should try to better his or her image.

How can one possibly build a constructive image using the media? There comes the significance of Public Relations.

Here are five Public Relations tools politicians can choose for image enhancement:

1.Right attitude: For a long time, the attitude of a politician had been associated with the attire. Not anymore. A good and clean dress alone cannot help a person win voters. The opinion of the third party also plays a key role in developing the career of a politician or a political party. That opinion is formed through the information delivered by the media. Hence, it is necessary to keep a straight and friendly attitude towards it. In fact, using media cleverly will help one uplift his/her image. Because the media would never get tired of politics. There is always a scope for stories.

2. Build a positive image: This is very important. If we check the current trend, political stories are mostly allegation-oriented. That has to change. Focus on building positive/ impact stories. Use media to communicate developmental activities in constituencies rather than sharing just ‘ceremonial photographs.’ Pay attention to issues the media point out and try to resolve them in a public-friendly way. At the end of the day, people count that. This can also be effectively used during election time. For instance, if there is a new candidate, use the platform to introduce the person or to emphasise the activities his/her party has done in the past.

3. Boycotting is not a solution: Stay media-friendly, even in tough situations. Then only one will be able to communicate well. When a negative story appears, do not feel targeted. Confront the issue gracefully. Boycotting a particular media will not solve an issue. It will only worsen the situation. Check the current trend, one can see that there exists a gap between media and politicians. That should be resolved.

4. Give response: Always give a response. Silence will give scope for speculations, which may ruin one’s career. Once the speculation is out, it is difficult to restore the image.

5.Study your subject well: Before giving a response, study the subject and situation thoroughly. Make sure one is updated about various issues that are happening around, especially before attending discussions. Think many times before speaking. That will save from delivering false or damaging statements.

Behind the Success of Kerala’s first OTT Release, Sufiyum Sujathayum

The advent of the Coronavirus pandemic followed by the lockdown has forever changed the due course of all businesses and sectors, with special mention to the movie industry. It has quite dramatically changed the entire process of the film business, at least for the time being. As the theatres are locked down and off limits to the public, there are almost over 50 major films waiting for a theatrical release.

However, at a time like this, small budget films are getting opportunity for a release through various OTT platforms. The film Sufiyum Sujathayum has the distinction of being the first Malayalam film to be ever released on an OTT platform. Our team has been responsible for the promotions of Sufiyum Sujathayum a much expected release on Amazon Prime.

DPC has extensively worked for its client Amazon Prime to promote the successful release of Sufiyum Sujathayum, with coverage of close to 100 stories, both in print and online media. It wasn’t all done in one go; instead an organised communication strategy was designed that was spread out over 50 days amidst the lockdown. A press release each, was sent out right from the first announcement of the premiere of the film, the release date, to the launch of its trailer and the two songs on the pre-designated dates. This was then followed by extensive promotions through TV, radio, social media and print. No other Malayalam film, prior to Sufiyum Sujathayum had received such an extensive, well-constructed promotion especially during a nationwide lockdown.

PR in Malayalam cinema over the years has been following the traditional methods, which is mainly limited to a handful of interviews, an audio launch and a couple of television appearances on reality shows. Compared to other industries, very little is invested in the marketing and PR of a Malayalam film. It’s high time, Malayalam film industry understands the absolute necessity of a good PR strategy for the promotion of a feature film. An organised and dedicated communication strategy is the absolute need of the hour.

A film that is marketed well, gets that much more reach among its appropriate audience and it earns a substantially higher revenue. Malayalam cinema is well known for its universal stories and beautiful making, but it is still behind in terms of business, provided it appreciates and promotes communication strategies and PR drive of a film. Now more than ever before, it is vital for Malayalam cinema to invest in a proper PR strategy which is unique to each film.