Jose Raymond is no stranger to being in the spotlight. As a former journalist of close to 10 years, Raymond then took up prominent positions including press secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (now known as Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment) and senior director, corporate communications and stakeholder management at Singapore Sports Hub. Safe to say, he has been in the public eye for a majority of his career.
“I think I am probably one of the very very few communicators that ended up entering politics, and probably the only one who has been a senior communicator and journalist that has entered and ended up on the other side of the fence on the opposition party. A lot of journalists have either ended up becoming PAP candidates or part of the establishment, so yes for me it is a very different path,” he told Marketing during the podcast session.
When asked how he tackles it all, he said having a “good sense of humour” certainly goes a long way. He added: "The good thing is that because we play in the online space and we are communicators we know how to tell a story and make people smile. And we also know how to create talking points and narrative that will make people feel employed and important and that’s important for me and different from me.”
Marketing: How does it feel like to be the face, the client, the strategist and the PR person all in one you are campaigning?
Raymond: I have never been in such a position before. It is usually either I am fronting campaigns for clients, or for office holders, or chief executives but for me to be everything is like the bao ga liao - a term which is used for someone who does everything. That has been quite an experience.
I was my own communicator, I was my own hatchet man, and I was my own strategist, it was not easy because we were in the midst of a political campaign. And basically, trying to man all roles meant I had to be sharper than usual, and sharper than everyone else around me to be able to spot mistakes or anything which needed a fix very quickly, and the questions coming through that needed work.
So yes, it was not easy but I took it in my stride and I told my entire team that it was going to be an interesting nine days, and we that should come out of it having an entirely good time. We should laugh along the way and make friends and that ways key to us being able to get through it. If you had seen us throughout the campaign, we were smiling most of the time! Smiling because we were actually enjoying the role?
Marketing: Which part of you played the most dominant role? The PR professional, the campaign strategist or the politician?
Raymond: Actually it was the campaign strategist more than anything else. Because we needed to be able to respond to feedback I was getting from block visits and house to house visits immediately as it was happening. I needed to respond to emails and messages I was getting from residents who had gotten my manifesto, and needed to respond to feedback that was coming through immediately after speeches or content had gone out. So the campaign strategist was critical because I was also responding to ground sentiments along the nine days.
For example, if I was in one particular precinct and I had realised that I had perhaps better than normal support, then I had two options on the table: Do I go deeper and get a much more better support than I already have? Or do I head into an area where I sensed that my presence was needed a lot more because the sensing is that I was slightly weaker there? So there was a lot more campaign strategising than anything else.
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