Thursday, January 30, 2014

Summing up Labour's Breeder's Bonus communication cockup

Institutionally Labour is a person who can’t write but who is also ignorant of the fact that he can’t write. You know, he’s that guy who says “what do you think of my article/post/chapter” and when you politely say “um, it needs work” he looks at you like you just stabbed his puppy to death. Because he is unable to see that his article/post/chapter is a piece of shit. It’s not just that he’s a bad writer; he’s a writer so bad that he does not know the difference between bad writing and good writing.

That’s Labour.

Labour can not communicate. It does not know the difference between sensible effective communication and nonsensical ineffective communication. When you politely say “hey, that press conference/interview/facebook post wasn’t handled well”, well you’re just a puppet of the right-wing PR machine, probably on the Crosby Textor payroll.

There’s a laugh-a-minute subject for you, Crosby Textor. Labour hates that outfit. Hates them so much. And the reason is simple: Crosby Textor is a campaign-strategy consultancy firm. It is good at communication. That’s its business. And since Labour does not know the difference between good communication and bad communication, Crosby Textor’s effectiveness is a total mystery. Labour can’t understand with this slick well-paid organisation is so effective in the service of its clients, because in Labour’s eyes there is no difference between what Crosby Textor does and what the Labour comms team does. Labour is ignorant of the fact that it is not as good as Crosby Textor. And that makes Labour crazy. It’s hilarious to watch.

Labour doesn’t understand that having the Leader say something different from what the policy actually is might be a big deal. Labour doesn’t understand that getting the press pamphlets and web infographics right is important. Labour doesn’t understand that having the Leader make his big speech on a Monday, on the Auckland Anniversary public holiday, on the Australia Day Australian public holiday, on the day of the Grammy’s with Lorde up for two big awards, might not be good timing. Labour doesn’t understand that having David Clark come out and accuse Facebook of being a paedophile network that should be shut down ON THE MORNING AFTER THE LEADER’S BIG SPEECH might have a negative impact.

Labour doesn’t realise that these things are bad until after they happen because it’s only after they happen that someone says to Labour “hey, that wasn’t handled well”. Then Labour acts like you stabbed its puppy.

Of course this isn’t to say that there aren’t effective communicators within the Labour comms team, it’s Labour the organisation that has the problem. As Danyl mentioned above the fact that the senior comms staff get sacked after every leadership change might have something to do with it.

Comment by @simongarlick — January 30, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

A long read, but the summary is a salutary example of being on message with your comms at all levels.

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