I know you’re not supposed to talk about politics in polite conversation and since I know only a little about lots of sports I probably shouldn’t talk about that too much either, however I think the sporting and political events from the past few weeks included a few PR lessons thrown in for good measure.
As I write this post Queensland’s state government is on a knife edge and looks to change with a slight Labor majority. The premier of last week, Campbell Newman, has lost his seat. There had been rumblings for months about this scenario unfolding, and now it has.
The Socceroos’ Asian Cup campaign climaxed on the same day as the Queensland state election, with the result causing millions of soccer fans (old and new) to celebrate with the top team in Asia.
Both events played out in front of us over months and both reached their conclusion last Saturday night, but there is a vast divide between the winners and losers from that day. I think these differences are where the lessons lie.
This Socceroo squad had received mixed reviews in the lead up to the Asian tournament, and were often compared with the highly successful team that performed beyond expectations in the 2006 World Cup. But they just kept on doing their job, following direction from their coach in preparation for the big game and it paid off.
One the other hand, Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) saw its leader and many MPs toppled in a result that reversed the 2012 election, where the party gained the largest majority in the state’s history. Where did it all go so wrong? I’m no political analyst, but it seems that LNP stopped listening to what its constituents wanted, continuing to push an unpopular agenda despite vehement protest.
The Socceroos show us that you can aim big and succeed, but you need to stick to the plan and possess enough agility to adapt to any situation that presents itself along the way.
LNP and Campbell Newman show us that having a comfortable position is never guaranteed. Sure, it was their role to govern and make the tough decisions for the greater good, but equally they failed to hear what it was that Queenslanders wanted. Listening is key to all relationships; we need to listen to our audience to understand what they need.
It will be interesting to see the PR opportunities that are presented to the newly-crowned Asian Cup winners and Queensland Labor.