Don’t underplay the power of a spin doctor in a democracy

By Afzal Hasan

Dear Eager Aspirant of Public Office,

Take heart. Even if you are someone who is a feral village bumpkin, with ideas about his legendary importance to the world that might be better passed off under the category of ‘Hallucinations’, we can transform you. Prepare to become a colourful city slicker, suitably equipped with all known clichés and stereotypical views, for swift political ascendancy!Indeed, you will find we offer complete essentials: campaign strategy, personal branding, advertising, public relations and communication plans. Our services are hailed as being crafted carefully and executed deftly.

In your particular case, a typical schedule of actions would comprise of elements pursued in the following manner.

First things first

Attire: Must impart a well-bred image, despite disbelief amo ngst those who know you. In photographs, videos, public meetings and other gatherings, we recommend dark-coloured suits, starched white shirts and flowing red ties.

Grooming: Must display freshly combed hair and ideally, a clean- shaven face. If sporting a beard, kindly ensure that it does not obscure the afore-mentioned flowing red tie.

Body language: Must maintain straight posture whilst standing, chin up and confident, with a mild, gentle smile, instead of the familiar crooked one.

Oratory skills: To avoid conveying the impression of someone talking when chewing quickly, speak in measured tones, and at a comfortable pace that does not require large gasps of air, especially when delivering text.

Personal slogan: We will give you your very own slogan that celebrates the square opposite of what you actually stand for — A Soldier against the Status Quo. It will also be the chorus — “So against the Quo!” — of the catchy ditty we will arrange to be composed for you.

The strategy

Message: That you represent the very essence of change, a change that is urgently needed; that you will vehemently push forward ground-breaking policies if elected, in support of more than just your immediate family, friends and livid money-lenders.

Focus:  You will play on the frustrations of voters. Focus on the dire need for safe hands, by raising yours often.

Target for you: We need to demonstrate that your candidacy can generate great enthusiasm and interest, without instigating panic.

Walk the walk: When it comes to making comparisons between your achievements and those of the Opposition, be sure to dwarf their mountains and exalt your molehills. Do this without any proof, and do it repeatedly.

Other recommendations

  1. An itinerary of events for your mandatory visibility
  2. A selection of safe bullet-proofed venues
  3. Audience: extroverts chosen meticulously from amongst professionals, businessmen, sportsmen, housewives, students and children, who do not live in your constituency.
  4. A range of subjects to discuss, tailored for each occasion and frequently taken from folklore.
  5. Trouble-shooting Advertising and PR plans to follow successive stages

Important: For a glimpse of the warm, human side of the candidate’s personality to arouse trust and goodwill

  1. Impromptu ball game with uninterested school children
  2. Feeding leashed pets from a distance
  3. Visiting a famous shrine, in a demure robe
  4. Admiring a flower patch in the garden, with family

Note: Clebrate success with grace, humility and much waving of arms

Reality Check

Dear candidate, if public office is your real calling, good luck to you. Remember, as wise men have said, the world does not need another politician, it needs a leader, one who can help improve the lives of people, and substantially enhance the system under which they live.

But if, on the other hand, you are someone interested purely in the perks and privileges of political placement, please step back. You will soon be discovered, ruffled up unceremoniously and thrown spinning into the stratosphere of political infamy.

And that is, most likely, not the kind of ‘spin’ you would want!

letters@khaleejtimes.com

The author is a retired CEO and member of Public Relations Society of Amerrica

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