Amama video: Here is how he scored on effective online communication

Honourable Amama Mbabazi literally froze the internet after he declared his intention to
stand as a presidential candidate in the 2016 general elections. The YouTube video on
Monday June 15, 2015 offers many lessons in effective online communication.
The video scored highly on content development. The message was well thought out. The
video message does not pass off as a village quarrel but an intellectual debate. Big media
houses no longer control the agenda of public debates. It is content development that matters.
He chose a conversational and engaging approach. He says “I greet you wherever you are”
and “I come to you”. You need to exploit all news angles not making noise. Noise means
same angle is published by many journalists.
Timing was perfect. There is something magical about Monday. Most Ugandan viral nude
pictures and videos always hit on weekends through Monday. Video was released at the start
of a new week in the early hours. The world now operates on 24/7 news cycle because of the
internet. It was a time the public was still internalising the National budget and the President
was away in South Africa attending an AU summit.
Using YouTube was a great tool of effective communication to Ugandans. Internet gives
anyone an opportunity to tell it all because of citizen journalism. You can have all the space
without limitations. Social media mobilises all voters because uptake cuts across all age
groups. Social media was crucial to Obama’s victory in 2008. Amama has an active website
and social media platforms.
Online political PR dictates that participation is simple.#Amama16 did set the stage for
political hashtags.His slogan “Go forward” was on spot. The memorable slogan encourages
conversations. Online media is not one-sided like traditional media. Mobile phone
penetration in the country continues to increase with internet usage not only among the rich.
Sports betting may explain the presence of smart phones among Uganda’s Boda boda
Community. World Bank 2013 report said only 16.2% of Uganda’s population use the
internet. Social media has its ability to get anyone famous overnight. Justin Bieber is one
such success stories of YouTube.
There was attention to detail in the video. The perfection in branding and video portrays
Amama as a competent person. It would be a different debate if the video was not clear. The
Concept of a flying crane and slogan 'Go forward' is commendable. The black flying crested
crane is as symbol of change. The AMAMA team also branded items like mathematical sets
and exercise books. The green plant in the background of the video brings out environmental
activism and calmness.
His outstanding seductive PR skills has enabled him do a teaser campaign of sorts that has
always kept people waiting for months since he was dropped from cabinet. The tactic of
releasing information in bits should be commended. It keeps you a head of competition. He
has always said “I will tell you when I tell you.” Releasing less information helps assess
feedback. Third party endorsements have worked for him. Other people have been

communicating his presidential bid as he is silent. Amama seemed not pressured to say more
than what was necessary on the morning he released the video before a swarm of journalists.
He simply asked the media to take time off to internalise the video and wait for a press
conference in the future. This was a wrong move.
Amama’s message in its entirety was full of PR aspects of strategy, media relations, research,
partnerships, events, branding, CSR, and crisis management. Digital PR is about emotions,
hype and persuasion. Always remember that political communication requires both tender
and loud channels of delivery. He chose the tender tactic. Amama message was effective
since top NRM officials rushed to respond. It continues to be a hot topic of discussion on
social media, TV, radio and in newspapers.
Ivan N Baliboola
PR and organizational diagnosis specialist
Twitter:@media surgeon