haitian elections, haiti, election strategy, winning Haiti elections
Provisional Electoral Council employees monitoring Haiti's elections in 2015. Photo by Garry Pierre-Pierre for The Haitian Times

By Bobb Rousseau | Columnist

All leaders aspire to take the national stage to become the candidate who wins the election. However, most of them do not give wings to their messages because of their shortcomings in political communication and event marketing.

Winning an election, emerging as the only candidate to beat, or becoming a national phenomenon requires great fortunes because no Haitian leader masters the machine of political communication and event marketing, which comprises seven essential points.

Here are seven highlights for transforming the average candidate into the political cinderella, the sensation of the moment, the anthem of the hour, the public issue, and the national darling. Note that Greta Turnberg applied some of these points to transform herself into a global icon in the fight against global warming in less than a year.

1. Create a movement

Nothing is more disconcerting than a leader without an agenda. A leader should have an inspiring, captivating, and motivating message. The leader’s agenda must be a movement that can only grow and rally the nation. 

Imagine a leader asking High School students to demonstrate every Friday in their respective schools between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to draw public attention to global warming.

Perhaps at the end of the year, this movement will take off and gain momentum across the country because everyone is concerned with environmental protection. Indeed, all classes and other schools in the country will seize the moment; and this quick, this leader is in orbit. Everyone will talk about it. The public will tie this leader to this movement to become the man of the Friday demonstrations or the candidate of the environment.

2. Establish contrasts

Nothing is more disappointing than a leader who plays with prudence and modesty. A leader seeking to be the banner of political decisions must always attack those in charge by claiming that their policies prevent him from conveying his message to the people. He will proclaim that it is foolish that the electoral decree prevents future leaders from declaring themselves as candidates before the period of declaration of candidatures and the opening of electoral campaigns while it makes no restrictions on the government who is spending thousands of dollars every day to shape their reputation on radio stations across and outside the country.

3. Be paradoxical

Either they love you or they hate you for your position. When all the leaders hold the same speech, no candidate holds a speech. While the national consensus calls for eliminating the $ 1.50 fee on money transfers and executing transfers in dollars, a paradoxical leader would use polarization to suggest increasing these fees and eliminating the power to open a bank account in USD. However, he will press that the higher the fees, the more funding for social programs.  He will also ensure to suggest the formation of an oversight agency to control and manage the fees collected.

4. Create an opponent – Anger the opponent – Become a watchdog

The leader must name the name of his opponent from the start. If he does not have an opponent, he must create one or two, assign them names like hypocritical, deplorable, out of reach, lamentable, and threaten them with legal actions. Creating adversaries is an effective communication operation, pursuing that the leader conveys his message in a sequenced and orchestrated manner to his audience.

5. Simple Message – Create Panic

It is not the use of big words that makes a message ambiguous, but its impact on the recipient gives it its simplicity. The future winner will deliver messages that are understandable and push people to act. Usually, he does not only promise, but he also draws the audience’s attention to what is wrong. “The country is in danger, and I want you to panic” will surely capture everyone’s attention, and voters will want to hear him because they think he will tame this danger for them.

6. Build your network

A leader must have messages that necessary personalities endorsed. He must also have a radio station in its ranks, which he can use to viralize his messages. Online or on the air, the leader must form his network to create a presence that commands, arouses curiosity, and attracts him much hatred.

7. Be event-driven

The important thing is to create an event wherever he is, with whomever he is, and for whatever he says. He needs a tweet or a status to announce everything because nothing is small or irrelevant in political communication. There are no appearances, photos, tweets, impromptu speeches; everything must be timed and executed with military precision.

The leader aiming for political prominence must have a relationship marketing team, a protocol committee, and writers to prepare his speeches, establish community reports, and revise his speeches. No faux pas is allowed, but the misinterpretation of his paradoxical statements is always welcome.

In short, every action the leader takes must be a sequenced, orchestrated, and publicized media tour worthy of a rock star so that his name can remain on everyone’s lips, disturb everyone’s mind, irritate the enemy and grow in everyone’s soul and hearts.

Bobb Rousseau

Bobb Rousseau holds a Ph.D. in Administration and Public Policy with specializations in Public Law and Managing Local Government. Dr. Rousseau firmly believes that the Haitian diaspora in the United States is at a prime stage to build an attractive political force that can shift U.S. immigration, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid to Haiti and to advance the Haitian agenda around the world.

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