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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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In electoral campaigns, transmitting messages in the most efficient way as possible, has always been one of politicians' main concerns.  Nowadays, online social networks have become ideal platforms for politicians to interact with their potential voters. Is a big challenge how to maximize the number of followers in social media, winning the sympathy of future voters. In our country the most popular social media platform is Facebook.

This was my main reason for choosing the mentioned social media network. Facebook users are the perfect target group for a politician. When talking about electoral campaigns Instagram probably wouldn't lead to the same success, as it's a different target group, a younger one so it wouldn't be the best solution to directly reach our voters and to our potential voters. With more than 1.50 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the market leader for social networking sites, with a target group of ages 18-35. In Romania Twitter is not as popular as in the United States, where Obama did an impressive and very good planned campaign on Twitter.  “The importance and popularity of social media in politics became clear with Obama's campaign for the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections and his famous tweet: This is history...  ”, posted just after winning the elections.

Also the reasons why I have chosen this study it is that I've been working in the political field, taking part in two different electoral campaigns (presidential elections in 2014, and local elections in 2016). Working at a political party I've learned about politics, electoral campaigns, how to use the PR tools in the field of politics. Working side by side with politicians, political analysts, lawyers who were involved in the campaigns, and also PR specialist, I got the chance to understand the electoral campaigns better. I consider public relations my main field of interest, I have worked and am working continuously in PR campaigns of several events. The above two were my main reasons while choosing a subject for deeper analysis.

In Romania this was the first electoral campaign (2014) which received a significant online accent, especially in social media. Current study analyses the methods, that lead to the success in the second round of the electoral campaign. Why Iohannis a better political brand, than Victor Ponta?  Can we consider a politician a brand? Branding himself was the plan itself.

Ce urmaresti in lucrare? Si cum ajungi la rezultat? Care e ipoteza?

My main research question is How did social media aid the campaign of Klaus Iohannis?

The hypothesis of the study The PR tools used by Klaus Iohannis in his campaign were….?

1.Verbal and non-verbal communication  - general points

There are a few studies which deal with the relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication, or with the changes, over age, of the usage of non-verbal communication behaviors It is understandable, that investigation was more focused on verbal communication in social sciences, than in the non-verbal communication.

1.1. Verbal communication

A messages or information is exchanged or communicated through words we are talking about verbal communication. It may have two types: written and oral communication. Verbal communication takes place through face-to-face conversations, group discussions, counseling, interview, radio, television, calls, memos, letters, reports, notes, email etc.

“Words do have a magical effect – but not in the way that the magicians supposed, and not on the object that were trying to influence. Words are magical in the way they affect the minds of those who use them. A mere matter of words, we say contemptuously, forgetting that the words have power to mold men`s thinking, to canalize their feeling, to direct their willing and acting. Conduct and character are largely determined by the nature of the words we currently use to discuss ourselves and the world around us. “  

1.2. Verbal behavior in politics

We are talking about verbal behavior, when a message is transmitted from A to B. Word choice may have been guided to evoke the desired response.  Political messages reach and affect a large number of people, mass media, political actors, high level public official, verbal transaction in an open or closed political meeting. Politics is a field by word power. The choice of proper language is often very hard, what is the most effective verbal approaches in different situations.   “An understanding of politics depends heavily on verbal symbols which lack extraverbal reality, when we characterize a country as a “democracy” or a “dictatorship”, we are presenting verbal images of relationships which have no reality beyond the verbal. Language permits us to generalize, to organize wide ranges about physical and spatial changes in the world around us.”

1.3. Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication is every interaction between A and B without the use  of words, through a communication channel. It can include behaviors such as facial expressions, eyes, touching, and the paraverbal communication trough the tone of the voice. Another important message in politics can be the outfit, clothing, posture, the position of the hands and so on.

“The scope of definitions of non-verbal communication varies mainly according to the parameter of intentionality, deliberateness, or consciousness (on the side of the sender and, partially, also of the receiver) and secondarily according to the (usually implicit) conception of verbal language. The most usual border is drawn between definitions based on the concepst of information and non-verbal behavior versus definitions based on the concepts of communication as interaction . While in broad definitions non-verbal communication includes any kind of non-verbal messages (or non-verbal signs) proper to informative processes, more narrow definitions restrict it to non-language (or better non-linguistic) phenomena that are interrelated – often in an intricate way – with verbal language and can be found in interactive or communicative processes.”

2. PR Tools

Well-planned PR strategies are powerful tools, takes advantage of unpaid communication channels such as local and regional media, the internet, business networks and community and customer relationships. Marketing focuses on promoting actual products and services, public relations focuses on promoting awareness, attitudes and also behavior change.

By using proven public relations (PR) tools and activities, we can promote positive attitudes and behaviors. PR tools are very cost-effective, and often they have a better degree of control than more broadly targeted advertising campaigns.

The most used PR Tools are:

• Press releases

• Newsletters

• Events

• Blogging

• Social Media marketing

• Design – design plan 

2. Political - electoral campaigns - general points

2.1. Communication and political campaigns

Political election campaigns are campaigns of communication; besides this we can find other important features, numerous forms of combinations of economical, sociological, psychological, and historical features. All these factors become important in the electoral system, trough the offices of communication. A campaign begins with the political communication. Individuals announce verbally that they will apply on the elections. Besides verbal communication posters, flyers nonverbally announce the beginning of the elections. The whole campaign is full of verbal and nonverbal communication, the candidate and the PR team often appear on television, take part in debates, answer call-in questions on television, radio or talk shows. The team prepares and presents messages for media commercials, take part in important events, they are all over the news. They publish and post in the social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, where they connect with their followers and their future-followers as well. As nonverbal factors they shake hands, kiss babies and children, transmitting the message that they are friendly with everyone. All this effort is taken to communicate with the electorate, the media and with other political parties.  

2.2 Image and campaign style

“Imagery plays an important role in the consideration of style. All candidates, whether they campaign using the strategies of incumbency or those of the challenger, must do and say whatever it is that will enhance voter perception of them. They are concerned, in other words, about their image.”  

Imagery plays an important role, for example in the television, the electoral commercial of a candidate are used to build an image of that particular person. The candidate is surrounded by the family, walking a dog, standing in the front of the national flag, or memorials, talking with senior citizens, all of these pictures are well planned, they are designed to build or maintain certain perceptions of the candidate. Political images are more complex, than the image of how they present the candidate to the voters. Image is the impression of what the voters have, what they believe to be true or untrue.

2.3 The media and the political campaigns

With the appearance of the media like television, radio and now the social media, the sources where we can do a campaign is in unlimited. Television and radio increased the number of the campaign strategies, because candidates no longer were forced, to depend on national speaking tours to become well know to the public. Nationwide television and radio speeches, a series of well-placed Tv and Radio spots, or appearance on TV shows. The computer and internet, has made a profund impact on the political campaigning. It`s speeds up the information processing and its ability to allow web based interaction with the target group, or identifying and communicating with specific publics or raising funds. Communication technologies, like social media, social networking, the personal computer, smartphones, all kind of application changed the nature of a political campaign by allowing the voters to interact with the candidate. In this way, they can ask questions, write comments etc. The digital revolution had made an enormous change in the process of campaigns for elective offices, person to person campaigning without leaving the office or the campaign trail. Mass media has become a two-way communication. Other important technologies that have made a huge impact on campaigns, is the use video website like Youtube, Vimeo, as well as podcasts. They can create YouTube videos of the candidates on the campaign trail as well as giving major speeches, or from the offices of the campaign etc.. It must be a videos, that are designed to introduce themselves to voters. The internet is another technological innovation that is having a major influence in the way in which candidates seek they votes.

2.4. Styles and strategies of campaigns

Campaign styles are sets of communication strategies employed at times by all candidates.

2.5. Communication is mass media

Mass communication has become the center stage for all major political events. For example, bloggin, websites, campaign websites, daily newspapers and weekly magazines keep political people and issues in our minds. Even with the rapid acceleration of bloggers and blogging, it is still television and television news programs that have mostly dramatically linked us to large-scale political campaign events such as presidential debates. Mass media campaigns also aim to raise community awareness , inform and change attitudes towards being active, and ultimately, to influence physical activity.  Mass media can be used to communicate many and varied physical activity-related messages to large audiences or to targeted segments of the community.  

 “We define mass in a standard way as consisting of people representing all social, religious, and ethnic groups, from all regions of the country. Moreover, they are anonymous (do not necessarily know one another) and therefore act not in concert but spontaneously as individuals. We us the terms mass channels and mass media interchangeably to refer to the primary means of mass communication (radio, television, the internet, newspaper, and magazines). While we would not deny the existence of other modes of mass communication such as books, music, and motion pictures in the political campaign any more that we would refuse to recognize forms of “mini communication” such as posters, billboards and campaign literature, they are simply not as important. The major perspectives have been generated from studies of radio, television, newspapers and magazines, although we believe that the internet will be added to this lists as more studies are undertaken regarding its use.”

3. Short overview: Communication and image of Romanian presidents between 1989 – 2016

Ion Iliescu from 1989 December 22th  – 1990 May 20th,  from 1990 May 20th -1992 October 11th, and from 1992 October 11th -1996 November 17th .

Emil Constantinescu from 1996 November 17th  until 2000 December 10th

Ion Iliescu from 2000 December 10th  -2004 December 21th

Traian Basescu from 2004 December 21th- 2014 December 21th

Klaus Iohannis from 2014 December 21th – present

3.1. Ion Iliescu

On October 11, 1992 at the first presidential elections under the new constitution, won 61.5% of votes. Joined the presidential race in November 1996 for another term, with the program "Let's continue together, changing for the better of Romania", in the second round of the elections tilted the balance in favor of his rival, Emil Constantinescu.  Following elections in November-December 2000, proposed and supported by PDSR, Ion Iliescu get a new presidential term program entitled "Close to the people along with them." In its statement of 20 December 2004, the last day of the his second term, Ion Iliescu presented a review of the period 2001-2004 including the main achievements of the 4 years: strengthening the rule of law and democracy, economic recovery and social by returning to the principle of economic growth and, on this basis, improving the living conditions of the citizens; reforms to modernize the country and access to the world the values of democracy and the progress of contemporary European and Euro-Atlantic or receipt Romania into NATO and national reconciliation, peace and social stability.  -

3.2. Emil Constantinescu

With the fall of the communist dictatorship (December 1989), engages with other fellow academics and intellectuals in Romania democratization effort in defending the rights and fundamental freedoms in building civil society.  At the University Solidarity proposal, supported by the Civic Alliance, she was nominated a single candidate in the presidential election of CDR in 1992. He entered the second round and got 38% of votes in confronting incumbent.  After this first important political experience, CDR chose him its President (1992-1996). A period of continuous struggle for the affirmation of the democratic opposition and its government program. As a result, CDR won in 1996 local and parliamentary elections and Emil Constantinescu was directly elected Romanian President for a term of four years. Between 1996 -2000, Romania has undertaken a broad reform process in the economy, judiciary and administration.  The coalition government formed by CDR together with the Union of Hungarians in Romania - UDMR and the Social Democrate- USD accelerated the privatization and restructuring of state.  As a mediator between the state powers, President Constantinescu managed to act together political forces and civil society in overcoming moments of crisis governmental, parliamentary and social in solving essential issues concerning the legal status of property, Romania's attitude towards the conflict in Kosovo and entitlement Aircraft overflight of NATO forces .

3.3. Traian Băsescu

Traian Băsescu is ship commander and politician. For 10 years, from December 2004 to December 2014, he served as president of Romania. At December 21, 2014 and has taught mandate as head of state predecessor, Klaus Iohannis, the winner of presidential elections in November 2014. He is currently president of People's Movement.  After the fall of communism in Romania, Băsescu entered politics, becoming a member of the National Salvation Front. After the fall of this party in 1992, he became a member of the PD. He held several positions on all local and central administration. It was the capital's mayor between 2000-2004, depending on who resigned when he became president. Traian Băsescu was also Minister of Transports during 1991-1992 in two offices. After being years Petre Roman's right hand in the Democratic Party, he has removed him from office and took over the presidency of the Democratic Party, the party chairman in between May 2001 and December 2004.  

4. Klaus Iohannis – short biography

Klaus Werner Iohannis was borned in Sibiu on the 13 th of June, 1959. Although, they parents emigrated in the `90 in Germany, he choose to stay in Transylvania. He attended the Faculty of Physics of the University "Babeș Bolyai" in Cluj Napoca. Since 1983 he was fulfilling his dream to be on the other side of the chair at the high school where his career has begun. He taught in many schools and high schools in Sibiu, including at the "Brukenthal" after that, until 2000, worked as an inspector in the same field of education. Since 1990, is the member of the German Democratic Forum of Romania. Being the president of the Forum for 12 years since 2002, and in 2000, he was nominated as a candidate in the elections for mayor of Sibiu. In the month June of that year, he was elected mayor of Sibiu and continued to be the first choice for the Sibians in all elections that followed.  

Political career of Klaus Iohannis in Sibiu. Achievements as a major. During his mandate as the mayor of Sibiu, the city was named "European Capital of Culture" in 2007 - together with Luxembourg - and has hosted many foreign officials - heads of state, dignitaries, ambassadors. He declares on his official website that, Sibiu in a small scale is what he wants for Romania. On February 20, 2013, signed the National Liberal Party memberships. A day later, he has been voted to run for office in the party leadership. In the Extraordinary Congress in February 2013, he was elected first vice president of PNL. A year and four months later, with 95% of votes in Congress delegates from across the country as president of the National Liberal Party after the candidate for the presidential elections.  

The website sibiul.ro wrote about him with a big respect:  “The man who, as mayor, he has led the Sibiu 2000 and to date, may be included in a select gallery of figures who have made history in the city on Cibin.” In the polls at 2004 and 2008, Klaus Werner Iohannis established a real national "record" he was the only county seat chosen in the first round with an overwhelming majority of 80% of the vote. These results have imposed general attention. He initiated contact with the offices of the European Union and has received numerous honors including honorary senator that of the "Babes-Bolyai" University of Cluj Napoca. On 28 December 2007 the President of Romania, Traian Basescu Romania's Star National Order awarded him the rank of knight. Even if not wholly attributable merit nomination in 2007, Sibiu (along with Luxemburg) as Cultural Capital of Europe, Iohannis is the man who knew the peculiar ability to manage excellent this time. That status has brought huge material benefits but also image of the municipality Cibin. Major changes occurred in the life of the city in 2000 were recognized almost unanimously by Romanian and foreign delegates, politicians or business, and even by his opponents.

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