The leadership and communicators of the largest opposition party in Ghana, New Patriotic Party (NPP), must wake up and study hard the political sentiment of the electorate and tap into it or the party will wallow in opposition for a long time. Reason being that the party has a problem with messaging.
Messaging refers to how an individual or organization packages its vision and delivers it to inspire following and obtain buy-in.
Recently at a thanksgiving service for the 2012 Presidential Candidate of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Osu Ebenezer Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 15, 2013, he was reported (by XYZ news) as saying that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) only message for the electorate is 'edey biiii K3k3'.
Nana Addo was complaining that the NDC had no message rather according to Nana Addo NPP had the right message. The question is if NPP has the right message why is the NPP in opposition now? The answer is simply put messaging. Messaging remains a major challenge for NPP. Certainly, I am not naïve to believe entirely that only messaging wins elections but it does account for a large percentage why a political party wins power. Messaging has inspired and won more following than any other factor when it comes to inspiring following and achieving buy-in. Remember phrases like 'I have a dream' and 'Yes we can'.
Consider what Nana Addo described as the message of NPP,
Our message is about the restoration and improving of the national health insurance system so we can give quality affordable healthcare to every single individual in our country. Our message is about ensuring that the youth of our country are equipped to fight the battles of the 21st century; the battles of technology and economic development. That is the message we are giving out and that is why we are saying that at this stage in our history, we want to make sure that every Ghanaian child has an opportunity for free secondary education'. He further state that, 'our message is about the need to transform our national economy. That we move it away from an agricultural raw material economy to an industrial economy producing goods and services for export to the rest of the world. That is the message that we are putting out and that is the programme we are going to implement when we win, by the grace of God, the elections of 2016
Is the message well intended? Yes. Does it sound good to the ear at the time it was being spoken? Probably yes. Is it reasonable and thoughtful? Yes. Can the audience remember it and associate with it easily? I seriously doubt that. Remember, the NPP must win power before implementing any of this salient vision. The question is how?
Consider the NDC's message 'Edey biiii K3k3' as postulated by Nana Addo. Loosely translated to mean 'it is so good' The NDC borrowed this already popular phrase from a popular Mobile phone company in the country. The irony is that a large percentage of the customers that subscribe to the services of this particular Mobile phone company know and understand that there are serious issues with regard to the quality of service they the customers receive and yet the company has the largest customers relative to other competitors. Isn't that interesting?
Anytime a voter sees and hears a non-political commercial from this company with the phrase 'Edey biiii K3k3' in it, the probability that the voter will remember and associate NDC and its candidate with it is extremely high. And that is the creativity of the NDC's communication team; their communicators beat the NPP team in terms of getting the voter to resonate with the message. Think for a moment, this is a party that has succeeded over the years mostly getting the electorate to vote against their own interest and as well as wining the hearts of some powerful institutions to help the party to win and to retain power.
Consider again the 'All die be die' statement made by Nana Addo. The spirit of it was not diabolical but the NDC communicators made it sounded and seemed that way which put the NPP folks on the defense anytime it is raised.
Until the leadership and communicators of NPP understand they are boring and that the political brain is not a rational but emotional one and then improves upon their way of communicating the party will be losing many presidential elections which they should be winning.