The 2022 Philippine presidential election is the most contentious national election in recent years. It was fueled by vicious bashing on top of platform clarity messages drowned out by Facebook memes and icons; dazzling TikTok videos; Instagram images and one-liners that exasperate or make you happy depending on which side you are on. Not to mention the heated discussions exchanged in private Viber chat groups and text messages, it all pretty much describes the campaign period.
Among the Philippines’ global trading partners, Filipinos’ political maturity and respect for law and order are under close scrutiny, a key component of a nation’s stability and an opportunity for lucrative business. Whatever the outcome, the Filipino electorate and the spectrum of income classes and generations must think beyond themselves and their opinion and come to terms with the results of the election.
In this race to Malacanang, here are some of the political marketing lessons that could be learned:
Emphasize message platform over personality. After all, the latter will become synonymous with the former. An intrusive, relevant, clear and concise message platform with fewer gimmicks generates interest and buy-in from the electorate. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s (BBM) message remained focused and consistent on nationalism and unity as the first step in recovering from the pandemic. At the advance meeting held in Parañaque on May 7 and at the Philippine Arena Uniteam announcement rally on February 8, BBM called on Filipinos to unite, while the Philippine flag, a major symbol of the brand, took center stage at both major gatherings. .
Leni Robredo started with a Laylayan and Lugaw campaign and ended with a new campaign, “gobyernong tapat, angat buhay lahat” (honest government uplifts everyone). The original message was not maintained, changing several times halfway through. Obviously, the changes depended on what the strategists thought would be better creative execution. What’s pretty consistent, however, from the start is Robredo’s branding as a personality that inspires selflessness and volunteerism and the color pink. In the final three weeks of the campaign period, brand team Robredo belatedly unveiled another makeover of its pink rose symbol incorporating the Philippine flag with three stars and a sun. Sadly, the importance of the Philippine flag took a back seat at Advance’s Miting rally populated by artists drawing large crowds.
Recognize the strategic value of market research results rather than slander them. Instead of harboring suspicion against legitimately conducted presidential polls and wasting time and effort debunking and denigrating professional polls, the skilled and professional strategists of aspirants must recognize this as an opportunity to objectively assess the reason for the result. The role of a professional and insightful marketing and branding strategist is to develop branding strategies to address dredged ideas and reported gaps that prevent achieving empathy with their desired electorate(s). candidate(s).
Very recently, MORES, the Marketing & Opinion Research Society of the Philippines, a professional organization of market research and marketing and opinion polling agencies, confirmed the results reported by both SWS and Pulse Asia, where both agencies have always adhered to scientific methods in obtaining research data surrounding the 2022 presidential survey. Both polls reported a nearly 1:2 victory in favor of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates from Uniteam.
Legitimate presidential polls follow a scientific method where random selection of respondents is required and the criteria of a registered voter are met.
There is no room for arrogance and righteousness when it comes to objectivity and strategy. Heartwarming images versus hateful and vicious images are much more engaging. The recent presidential campaign has sparked countless vicious images on social media. Often it’s the endearing images and heartwarming video cuts on the Youtube channels of presidential hopefuls that are likely to engage and convert skeptical, cynical and undecided non-voters, as these heart-healthy videos become topics interesting conversations. It was the execution strategy that brought the first young black American family to the White House in 2008 despite all the slander, racism, deviousness, etc. skeptical and cynical non-voters. The 2008 US election attracted the greatest number of new voters among young people.
Execution is the other half of the strategy. While strategy provides substance, well-crafted execution can help convert undecided voters. The recent advance fight has turned into a showdown between the two top presidential aspirants and their team. Robredo’s last rally was a sight to behold with incredible drone footage. The crowd-drawing power was not limited to the cult brand personality of Leni Robredo, but more so, the drawing power of the many artists whose fans spanned all ages, from Vice Ganda to Coco Martin, Angel Locsin, Eli Buendia. , Yeng Constantino, Anne Curtis, Moira, Gary V, Regine and Ogie Alcasid, and even the very popular boy band, Ben&Ben, who ensured the final miting of advance.
BBM’s lead miting was far too traditional, looked and felt amateurish – clearly a throwback in directing and production to the 1990s. It paled in comparison to Robredo’s final rally with flawless production and curated post images. One wonders if serious thought and effort went into the final activity. The saving grace was the Filipino flag that stood tall and mighty center stage, reminding the electorate that the vote to be cast was for the good of the country and the Filipino race.
While the artists artists which included Willie Revillame, Toni Gonzaga, Andrew E, Pops Fernandez, Budakel, DJ Loonyo have their own fan base, the guest artists combined were far too homogenous, empathetic only to one socio-economic group and one demographic age.
Obviously, we forgot that the advance miting was an important closing event that encapsulates the images and messages that a brand wants to leave in the minds of consumers. It was the substance and adherence to the clarity of the messages of unity and nationalism that saved BBM’s prominence and legitimate voter turnout. BBM (at press time he is the presumptive winner of the presidential race) must now confidently speak to the new generation and middle to upper incomes, whose influence should not be ignored – groups that his advance miting failed to reach. embrace in their public participation.
It is up to the Filipino electorate to realize and accept the outcome of the presidential election. There is a saying that you have to see the forest beyond the trees. Globalization takes precedence and the Philippines’ trading partners around the world are on the lookout, observing whether citizens will respect the voice of the electorate and the laws of the country. —INQ contributorThe author is the Chief Brand Strategist of MKS Marketing Consulting and is an alumnus of the SAID Graduate School of Business Strategic Leadership and Strategic Marketing Executive Education Program at the University of Oxford and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Strategic Marketing Executive Education. She is a member of the Global Strategic Consulting Network. Comments to [email protected]
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