Communicating the Democrats’ worldview – one year on

Vincent Wijeysingha

The communications Unit at the May Day RallyThe Singapore Democrats approached GE2011 on a broad-ranging media strategy. Government control of Singapore Press Holdings, Media Corps and their affiliates has elevated the online media as the key source of alternative (and often, more truthful) information and insights. Our media strategy was, therefore, a key element in the campaign.$CUT$

The task was spearheaded by an experienced media manager who oversaw the entire communications programme. Drawing from the lessons built up over the GE phase, we entered the post-election period with a coherent communications strategy strengthened by the blueprints developed during the elections.

The SDP Communications Unit, as a constituent part of the Party Organising Department (POD), was formed immediately after the elections. The Unit established three focus areas: 

We view these priorities as overlapping spheres which support our mission statement. The Unit’s mission statement reads:

To reach out to the electorate with the SDP’s message through the traditional media as well as the new media and to maitain an effective presence on the internet through various social media tools.

As part of the Unit’s mission, I was invited to address the Foreign Correpsondents Association at a lunch it organised shortly after the election. In addition, the unit has held regular briefing sessions and lunches with journalists from a range of media outlets. The Unit’s Media Desk now has an efficient working relationship with the Fourth Estate.

An elderly couple’s medical needs

Among our “deliverables” during early 2012 was a profile piece on Dr Chee Soon Juan which was published onYahoo News. Feedback from the ground was positive. We also made a short film documentary on the plight of the elderly ill which was a precursor to the publication of ourNational Healthcare Plan in March this year.

Other productions, are the range of videos produced by the Unit over the year, including our block parties,walkaboutsFutsal tournamentmessages and greetingson various national holidays, and a moving speech by Ms Teo Soh Lung on World Human Rights Day last year. The Young Democrats were also roped in to deliver a blilingual Chinese New Year Message.

Chinese New Year Message 2012

The Unit was also heavily involved with the party’s May Day Rally that was held on Labour Day earlier this month. It supported the Organising Committee with the publicity peripherals such as handouts and fundraising materials as well as a line of t-shirts that were launched on the day. “I roped in my long-suffering husband to design the t-shirts for us! We were very pleased with the results!” quipped a member of the team.

Moving forward, the Unit is focussing on a range of video products to be launched in the second half of the year. “We’re quite excited about the work plan,” one of the Unit’s techies shared. “We’re also working on improvements to the website which we will be rolling out soon. It’s gonna be a busy time!”

Dr Vincent Wijeysingha is the Treasure of the SDP and Head of the party’s Communications Unit.

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