Honourable Amama Mbabazi literally froze the internet after he declared his intention to stand as a presidential candidate in the 2016 general elections.
The YouTube video on Monday June 15, 2015 offers many lessons in effective online communication.
The video scored highly on content development. The message was well thought out. The video message does not pass off as a village quarrel but an intellectual debate.
Big media houses no longer control the agenda of public debates. It is content development that matters. He chose a conversational and engaging approach.
He says “I greet you wherever you are” and “I come to you”. Introducing a candidate is like selling new soap. You need to exploit all news angles not making noise.
Timing was perfect. There is something magical about Monday. Most Ugandan viral nude pictures and videos always hit on weekends through Monday. Video was released at the start of a new week in the early hours.
The world now operates on 24/7 news cycle because of the internet. It was a time the public was still internalising the National budget and the President was away in South Africa attending an AU summit.
Using YouTube was a great tool of effective communication to Ugandans. Online media continues to guide how news is sourced, reported and consumed. Internet gives anyone an opportunity to tell it all because of citizen journalism.
You can have all the space without limitations. Social media energises all voters because uptake cuts across all age groups. Social media was crucial to Obama’s victory in 2008. Amama has an active website and social media platforms.
Online political PR dictates that participation is simple.#Amama16 did set the stage for political hashtags.This is likely to be Uganda’s first hashtag election.His slogan “Go forward” was on spot.
The memorable slogan encourages conversations. Online media is not one-sided like traditional media. Mobile phone penetration in the country continues to increase with internet usage not only among the rich.
Sports betting may explain the presence of smart phones among Uganda’s Boda boda Community. World Bank 2013 report said only 16.2% of Uganda’s population use the internet.
Social media should never be undermined with its ability to get anyone famous overnight. Justin Bieber is one such success story of YouTube.
There was attention to detail in the video. The perfection in branding and video portrays Amama as a competent person. It would be a different debate if the video was not clear.
The Concept of a flying crane and slogan ‘Go forward’ is commendable. The black flying crested crane is as symbol of change.
The AMAMA also has branded items like mathematical sets and exercise books. The green plant in the background of the video brings out environmental activism and calmness.
His outstanding seductive PR skills has enabled him do a teaser campaign of sorts that has always kept people waiting for months since he was dropped from cabinet.
The tactic of releasing information in bits should be commended. It keeps you a head of competition. He has always said “I will tell you when I tell you.” Releasing less information helps assess feedback.
Third party endorsements have worked for him. Other people have been communicating his presidential bid as he is silent. Amama seemed not pressured to say more than what was necessary on the morning he released the video before a swarm of journalists.[related_posts]
He simply asked the media to take time off to internalise the video and wait for a press conference in the future. This was a wrong move.
Amama’s message in its entirety was full of PR brain aspects of strategy, media relations, research, partnerships, events, branding, CSR, and crisis management. Digital PR is about emotions, hype and persuasion.
Always remember that political communication requires both tender and loud channels of delivery. He chose the tender tactic. Amama message was effective since top NRM officials rushed to respond. It continues to be a hot topic of discussion on social media, TV, radio and in newspapers.
Ivan N Baliboola
PR and organizational diagnosis specialist