The new queen of the dance floor Theresa May – Can’t help but wonder why?
PR is your answer. It’s all PR!
Mamma Mia! The prime ministers dancing AGAIN! When I saw the video of Theresa May dancing her way onto the stage at a Tory conference to Abba’s popular hit Dancing Queen I cringed for my life. It was incredibly awkward to watch and all I could think was…WHY is she doing that? I’m sure I wasn’t the only one stuck for words, but I knew she wasn’t dancing (if we can even call it that) because she felt like it.
On numerous occasions people have asked me what I’m studying at University and when I tell them PR, they always ask, ‘What is PR?’ and ‘Is that them people standing on the streets on holidays handin’ out leaflets?’ For those of you that don’t know, PR is short for Public Relations. The Chartered Institute of Public relations (CIPR) define PR as creating or managing the reputation of a company or a person and their publics (like their audience and employees etc). PR is not only powerful in the world of businesses and entrepreneurs, but it can also be extremely effective for groups and public figures when it’s done right.
An example of an effective and very successful PR campaign is Lacoste’s ‘Save our species’ campaign, where they partnered with UCN (Union for Conservation of Nature) to raise awareness on the condition of endangered animals. Lacoste changed their logo from the popular crocodile to 10 endangered species on limited-edition polo shirts with proceeds going directly to the preservation of the chosen species. This campaign was a simple, yet effective idea that helped raise awareness and money for a great cause but also increase brand engagement.
PR is all about reputation and in this case Theresa May’s reputation. It’s about what you do and what you say and Mrs May went all out and tried to ‘bust a move’ (and that she did). This wasn’t the first time Mrs May was seen dancing. During her trip to Africa she enjoyed a little ‘boogie’ as she was greeted by kids singing and dancing. Theresa May’s performance was not accidental on any occasion, each performance was strategically planned to suit the visit, her actions and her words. It certainly wasn’t a spur of the moment, it was done for Theresa May’s reputation and with the intent to make her ‘seem’ more fun, approachable, down to earth and let’s not forget to help people remember the event! It may seem as though the ‘dancing’ was to make her look silly (which it did), however her appearances became more memorable because of the dancing and as a result of this they received a lot of media attention. It’s a win win for Theresa May and her PR team.
Throughout Theresa May’s public appearances and negotiations for a Brexit deal the public are feeling insecure, confused and increasingly worried about the decisions being made for them. The future of borders, trading for businesses and heading off on your holidays without any trouble lies in the hands of the Prime Minister, so no one can blame us for being worried.
Why did Theresa May’s PR team make her dance? – Perhaps we can assume it was to impress the public or maybe she wanted to express her love for ABBA? Who knows? Although, we can be sure it wasn’t because she’s a talented dancer. We can only wonder where some of the PR ideas come out of, but whether the decision is a good move or a bad move it’s still publicity and the public will always have something to say. Perhaps the dancing wasn’t such a great idea, especially with Brexit being such a sensitive issue and the public could think she’s making a joke out of it all. Or maybe the fact that she can’t dance makes her relatable and flawed just like everyone else. Regardless of the public reactions, we all know the saying – ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity!’
Whether Theresa May’s PR team got the reaction they had hoped for or not, it’s working! It’s going viral, and yes people are making memes out of the video. Yes, it seems as though people are mocking her, but becoming a meme is basically giving her a celebrity status for our generation. Her actions are receiving a lot media attention and getting people talking which means they’re engaged and waiting for the next big thing. I can only assume that something big is coming once this fizzles out because Theresa May and her PR team have the public right where they want them!
PR can be a well thought out, long winded process but it can also be something that happens in the moment and might I remind you a very powerful one! Therefore, suffering through Theresa May’s awful dance moves has taught me two things. Firstly, I am not as bad of a dancer (thank God). Secondly, PR is a wonderful tool used by even the Prime Minister to try and get the publics attention, so if the Prime Minister can utilise it, why can’t we?
Kerrieann Curran is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @KerrieannCurran ; Linkedin – http://linkedin.com/in/kerrieann-curran-765420137