Theresa. What have you done? Some of us were just trying to wake up from an Easter egg/bank holiday over-indulgence coma – when you spring a “surprise” announcement.
But in times of disarray and uncertainty, it makes complete sense to re-visit your goals, dust off the strategy and refocus your plan. Which is why, in PR terms, it’s crucial to pop your head above the parapet from time to time to assess the situation.
And with news that her director of comms Kate Perrier resigned yesterday, May will need an outstanding PR to take her through the coming weeks and beyond.
Love her or hate her, what can we learn from the PM, and what could she do better?
4 reasons why TM is some sort of strategic genius:
- She is focused on her overall goal. She will drag this country through Brexit like a parent coercing a wayward toddler onto the naughty step.
- She’s being Agile and changing up the plan to her advantage. Perhaps she’s checked the Polls which suggests her reputation and that of her party is at its strongest.
- Her election announcement at first seemed to have kicked the economy up the backside with the £ strengthening. (Or maybe not – later in the afternoon the FTSE started to plummet).
- She’s made something out of a messy situation. Women are not often popular when they make difficult decisions and push forward with courage in their conviction. She isn’t interested in the popularity contest. She has a job to do – interestingly a job so messy, no man was prepared to take it on.
4 things she could be doing better in communication:
- Consistency. She previously denied an election was on the cards. Whilst I support any woman’s prerogative to change their mind, it makes it difficult for audiences to trust.
- Avoid “look over there” tactics. Face up when things got wrong. Don’t cover the arses of your party members who are being investigated for fraud.
- Avoid buzz-phrasery. I still struggle with “Brexit means Brexit” Brexit Means Brexit means very little. And avoid referencing fairy tales. May’s Brexit was becoming like Goldilocks’ seating arrangements. Not too hard, not too soft, but “clean”.
- Listen! Leaders who are strong communicators will consider feedback and use this to make confident, clear decisions about the way forward. The snap election feels like a panicked decision rather than a strategy to restore unity within Government.
It seems that the Prime Minister clearly has something to say, and a clear vision in how to reach her goal. Just don’t ignore feedback from key audiences and stakeholders in getting there.