As the dust settles from a heated election amidst a pandemic, and the rumblings from the ground quieten into a distant hum, a few things have changed for certain.

GE2020 has become a study in PR and marketing – a study revealing key insights into the minds of voters (consumers) and political candidates (brands). Press releases, social media posts, media interviews and broadcasts, marketing collaterals and campaign manifestos and slogans have been placed under scrutiny the last few weeks. And the scrutiny is amplified by social media platforms left, right and centre.

Some things do not change, however. Honest and authentic stories always capture, a strong brand voice will be heard, and everyone always enjoy a good laugh.

Here are some lessons from a GE2020 in a PR and marketing point-of-view!

1. Social Media Can Make or Break Your Brand

From controversies to campaigns, clever memes to communicating directly with the target audience, everything was laid bare on social media during this GE. And this is just a glimpse of how the power of social media can swing a nation’s future.

As a brand, always use your social media platforms responsibly and wisely to emphasise your brand voice. It is direct communication with your target audience – and your competitors are most probably communicating with them as well. Share insightful and engaging content, establish a brand identity and personality through your brand voice and make yourself relatable as a brand.

Social media platforms are fast becoming the go-to news source and a brand’s online presence, as shown in GE2020, is almost as strong as its physical presence.

Use it wisely.

2. Gen Z and Millennials Want Change

They consume information on social media and share it with their friends. They speak of social issues and call for diversity. They are not afraid to intiate change.

Gen Z and millennials are not their previous generations. As the demographic that is poised to take up more and more voter count in the elections of the future (and also make up the majority in employment, retail, healthcare, homeownership etc.), they want to heard. And they will be.

As a brand, think about how your narratives speak to these two generations. Whether it is through prioritising social issues such as mental health or speaking out about social causes, or engaging suitable influencers who will sway the target audience, brands have to brainstorm for more creative, refreshing and profound ways to connect with the new generation.

3. Be Persistent in Authenticity and Honesty

When something is placed under intense scrutiny, it either cracks or flourishes. We have seen how political candidates and brands persistently find ways to get their message across to their target audience.

Facing aggressive competition, candidates or brands who flourish are those who stay true to their unique voice and communicate it effectively to their consumers. Transparency is key as well – especially in matters such as addressing the public about the Covid-19 situation, addressing conflict and handling a PR crisis.

4. Respond Swiftly in Crisis Management

GE2020 was bubbling with fanfare to the point where controversy and commotion spilled over. Every political party had to deal with media scrutiny and the onslaught of social media attention – and how they responded to crises was amplified further. Every touchpoint and media feature swayed public opinion, and swayed the future of a nation.

Spokespersons and brands that recover well from a crisis are those who respond swiftly and with honesty. They communicate their position with transparency and do not push the blame, avoid the consequences or let it affect their end goal.

Elections have always been an exercise in Public Relations. There are no winners and losers but only those who emerge stronger and wiser after a good fight.