PR? Image? Perception?

The newBP sure enjoys third person phrasing.  For example, when discussing the Premier’s recent travel figures Alliance founding member and former UBP chairman Michael Fahy said:

"The Alliance is disappointed and indeed stunned at the figures released by the Government in respect of travel costs.”

Conversely when discussing recent tourism statistics current Alliance Member of Parliament Shawn Crockwell suggested:

"The Alliance supports and encourages all visitors who comes to the Island, but there must be a focused and strategic effort at encouraging more traditional air passengers to our shores,"

The issue with these two examples is that phrasing their party in this manner can create a poor perception counter to what they’re likely hoping to achieve.  “Alliance” has different connotations than “Party” and the way it’s phrased makes it seem like it is a cold oppressive and imposing organization far removed from the common man – exactly the perception the newBP is attempting to step away from.

Referring to themselves in the third person creates an ‘us vs. them’ perception that likely could drive away potential supporters and make their climb to relevance all the more difficult.  Rather than doing so the newBP may be better served rephrasing such statements to be more inclusive and welcoming.  Contrast the above statements to these simple modifications;

“Members of the Alliance are disappointed and indeed stunned at the figures released by the Government in respect of travel costs.”

How about:

“Followers of the Alliance support and encourage all visitors who come to the Island, but believe there must be a focused and strategic effort at encouraging more traditional air passengers to our shores,"

Suddenly you’ve taken very exclusive and imposing phrasing and made it sound inclusive and more welcoming.  Not only that, you boost the perception that the newBP has members and followers, increasing their perceived relevance.  Further it subversively suggests that Bermuda's newest party is about more than just the front men and that all followers or supporters of the party agree on the core value supporting tourism.  If these are the gains, why would you choose the cold and archaic sounding "The Alliance"?

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15 thoughts on “PR? Image? Perception?

  1. You see Dennis this is where you and I differ. Your too quick to ‘jump’ on it.
    As you say, it’s perception. And in fact you make me laugh with your comments about the “newBP”…..
    Irony. Your ‘nit-picking’. I will vote for the Alliance aka NewBP aka Bermuda Democratic Alliance.

  2. Rummy,
    There’s an old saying that in politics perception is reality.
    Let’s remember for a moment that I’m neither a member nor supporter of the newBP. Then lets consider how little they’ve actually done to distinguish themselves from the UBP aside from their rather unoriginal name. Finally, recall that I’m simply a commentator, little more.
    I call “The Alliance” the newBP simply because they allowed themselves to be defined as such by not launching prepared with a name picked out. They earned themselves the new Bermuda Party moniker.
    My purpose in writing this piece isn’t to ‘nit-pick’ but instead to point out a means to improve their PR and begin defining themselves rather than letting themselves continue to be defined, just like I do by continuing to perpetuate “newBP”.
    While you may cast it aside with little consideration, how you say something is as important if not more important than what you say. How they refer to and present themselves to the public will have deep ramifications on the frame people construct in their minds around the image they’re trying to portray.
    This frame will help cast people’s preconceived notions long before it comes time to tick the box. Eg, you’ve already pledged to vote for them regardless of what they stand for because you’ve placed a frame in your mind around the present parties as being unelectable no matter what they do or how good they could be for the island. The newBP could pledge to do ridiculous unrealistic things and yet your frame will keep you convinced that they’re the best option vs. the other two.
    As for ‘nit-picking’ I counter that it is instead strategic political analysis worth considering if you’re in their shoes. For example, I did a very similar thing with the number of times Premier Brown referred to himself in a 2007 pre-election speech ( The reason being the same. A large part of the reason Premier Brown is perceived as being all about himself is because he’s largely helped frame it that way. By making his speech and public appearances very self focused he’s led the people into subconsciously perceiving him as self interested.
    Similarly with the UBP. They did so little to counter the long term attempts to frame them as the evil white party that now they’re fully perceived as such. It really doesn’t matter what in truth they did or didn’t do in the past because now public perception is that they most likely did, which is a hard image to overcome.
    Remember that in politics perception is reality.

  3. Well my friend I will vote for the “Alliance”. It matters not whether your a member or not.
    If perception is reality, then welcome to another 100 years of PLP.
    Apples and Evil White Parties have nothing to do with the BDA.
    Have a good day. Appreciate your response.

  4. When I read your “About” and your random musings I wonder what you really support.
    Who do you vote for.
    Did you vote in the last election.
    Your vote, was it party or for the person.
    Eva Hodgson has the best line since Sir. George Somers waided ashore with a lobster in his powder bag…………………
    “I’m concerned that their empasis is once more on responsibility rather than isues”.
    That statement will go down along with E=Mc……
    4 more years will be the rally cry for many more too come. What a comment to solidify a party and votes.

  5. Alex,
    If I relied on other people’s assurances to cast my opinion of our political parties I would long ago have joined the PLP or the UBP.
    The newBP (New Bermuda Party) has yet to do much of anything to distinguish themselves aside from spout “Obama-like” rhetoric.

  6. Rummy,
    I’m an independent. I don’t ‘support’ any party at present for if I did you’d see me playing a much more active role.
    By the way, wasn’t Ms. Hodgson’s quote “I’m concerned that their emphasis is once more on personalities rather than on issues,”
    With that I agree with Ms. Hodgson. My focus is on the issues, not the personalities. “The Alliance” remains a personality to me as they have yet to clearly identify their stance on the issues.

  7. For me, it’s just another example of the arrogance and unpreparedness these guys have shown from the start.
    From the “If you don’t get rid of Mr. Swan, we’re taking our ball and going home!” “Ok, bugger off then. We’re keeping him.” “Oh… um… ok… Um… yeah… fine.” thing that started it all, to the loose amalgamation with no name they expected us to believe in, to the lack of promised PLP members (don’t tell us you got ’em unless you got ’em!).
    The third person, “Big Brother”-esque feel of “The Alliance” is just another sign that these guys don’t really know what they’re doing.

  8. I suspect they use the party name alot to try to reinforce the idea and remind people that this is not the UBP talking. It sounds a bit odd, but they just want to get the name out as they’re new I bet.

  9. Normally you’d just say “we”, but they’re going to pains to distinguish that they’re not the UBP unless I’m reading too much into it.
    I don’t see it as too big of a thing. I doubt it bothers too many people and will probably settle down once they feel that they’ve established their identity.

  10. I get the “branding” aspect of it, but repeating “The Alliance” over and over is starting to creep me out.
    Plus, wouldn’t it be better to go with BDA?
    Not “The BDA”, just “BDA”.
    If not, why use the initials?
    I know one thing. I WON’T be voting for them until they do something I can get behind… or do anything at all!
    And I live here and can vote!

  11. The sheer number of comments on this piece indicates I didn’t phrase my own argument very well. Rummy, there’s your irony if you’re looking for one.
    I’ve written a follow up that helps explain framing, which is what I was trying to get at.
    As for the use of “BDA” I think they’re a bit stuck. You see, they never secured before choosing their party name. Thus, they’re trying to brand themselves “The Alliance” so people associate with It’s just another case where they were rather unprepared and rushed into things before figuring out what is actually feasible or not. If that is any indication of how they’ll govern than I don’t hold out much hope that they’d be any better than the PLP.

  12. I think you phrased it very well Denis. In this day and age people have a short fuse and knock the messenger but can’t fathom the message if in anyway it varies from their standings.
    As for the irony part thats your feelings.
    Keep up the great work. I don’t dispute anything you have written. It’s all relative and as my old friend Albert Einstein was told me ” I can’t believe that God is playing a game of dice with the world”.
    Others may be.
    Irony is that “Ein is a beginning and an end”.
    Food for thought.

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