We must learn from EU Referendum PR campaign disaster


Should we now remove our star?

Running a micro PR consultancy you would expect me to have views on how the EU Referendum PR campaign was executed these last few months and how the ‘rebuilding campaign’ should be run now.

First of all, I must get this off my chest … the Remain and Leave campaigns were ill advised, ill executed, acrimonious, based on fear, lacking in facts and sensationalist. Both sides made it impossible to decide which way to turn and have largely created the situation we are now in on June 24, 2016 – a hugely negative space and a frighteningly divided nation.

I, like so many thousands of others, was up all night listening to the EU Referendum unfold on my BBC Radio App and even by 1.30 this morning it was fairly obvious Leave was on course to win. The question was by what majority.

If Leave or Remain wanted us to vote from a position of some knowledge – after all that was key to ensuring we voted responsibly – they should have ensured we had the necessary information to vote.

If instead of trading insults, they had spelled out the success that the EU has been, explained the unknowns of leaving the EU (because it is totally unknown despite the rubbish being spouted this morning again), voters would have felt they had what facts there are to make an informed choice.

BUT, when will we learn, that if you run a PR campaign poorly, the result will not be what you want.

But whatever side of the argument we were all on – Leave or Remain – the die is cast and it is NOW time to get on with it.  It is what it is!

As our beleaguered PM David Cameron said this morning on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: the people have decided and that should be not only respected but supported.

So the time has now come to start the work to move forward.

But will all the desperate negative talk, pessimism, criticism on TV and radio really help? Does the continued trading of insults on Twitter and Facebook really move us forward?

The country incessantly talks about mindfulness – well if there was ever a time to be mindful it is now. Those in power need to watch their behaviour, listen to the words they are using, observe the feelings and behave accordingly. There now needs to be hope injected into the future.

If the ‘campaign’ to get the UK back on its feet is as badly run as the Remain and Leave campaigns, then God help us. Let us hope the powers that be do finally wake up – for all our sakes – and finally learn from the mistakes made until now.

And perhaps the British media needs to report more responsibly and less sensationally. It really isn’t about selling newspapers and attracting more viewer and listeners – it is about our future and frankly, it is about our mental health! We must avoid another EU Referendum PR campaign disaster at all costs.

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