Where did Jokowi’s Lead Go?

Incumbent Jokowi was looking good, even unassailable, in the runup for the Presidential elections.

He had a slick social media campaign, he was popular with a common touch, he could claim credit for massive infrastructure successes from Jakarta’s MRT to toll roads linking cities in Java and in Eastern Indonesia. His supporters had much to crow about.

And crow they did. It is impossible to wade into social media without coming across the snarky, witty comments and memes generated by the Jokowi supporters. Generally one gets a feeling that they look down on the other camp, dismissing them as clumsy, crass, corrupt and beyond the pale.

In the eyes of those sympathetic to Jokowi – and let’s be honest, most of us who pride ourselves as being progressive, modern and liberal fall into this category – Prabowo’s campaign seemed like an exercise in futility. Prabowo was not displaying much enthusiasm as a presidential candidate, his campaign lacked funds because his brother Hashim had said he wasn’t funding him anymore, he had an unholy alliance with the extremists behind the 212 movements, the same guys clamoring for  Indonesia to become a Caliphate.

And to add strength to that perception Prabowo consistently fumbled. His premature defense of Ratna Sarumpaet as a victim of violence before it emerged that the injuries on her face were self-inflicted once from a plastic surgery procedure; his ignorance of Unicorns; his outrages statements about foreigners.

Yet, with less than a week to go before to the elections here we are, with the more reliable polls suggesting that he and Jokowi are running neck to neck with an even larger portion of the electorate choosing not to vote or spoiling their votes.

If this is true, then the question that needs to be asked is what went wrong for the Jokowi camp? How did they squander the advantage and lead that they had at the start of the campaign?

From a communications perspective, it would seem that Jokowi and his supporters had been preaching to the wrong choir.

The Millennials form the largest voting bloc in this round of elections so any politician worth his salt would definitely count them. Jokowi is no exception. The Millennials that Jokowi has been courting, however, are those who belong to the smart set. They are the ones who very much believe in entrepreneurship, the creative economy, having a shot at being unicorns, look on SXSW as the Davos of the entrepreneur. They believe in the goodness of globalization.

They are the ones who would be impressed by Jokowi’s motorcycling stunt for the opening of the Asian Games, his propensity to take selfies, his vlogging. His love for heavy metal and his chops riding customized motorcycles.

Prabowo, however, has been playing the role of High Priest to the Discontents. These are the young Indonesians unable or unwilling to get onto the Hipster treadmill. Success at being funded by venture capitalists do not really appeal to them so they seek alternative means to validate themselves.

Many of them who are Muslim turn to Hijrah, the process of becoming closer to God and Mecca instead of Ted Talks and Davos.

Other young Indonesians with low religious inclination are similarly vulnerable to feeling alienated in Jokowi’s Indonesia that has fallen way short of their expectations. LGBT Indonesians talk extensively of going Golput because of the increasing intolerance that has festered since Jokowi took office. Appointing Maruf Amin only makes it worse.

Those who feel strongly about principles and rule of law are similarly disappointed as the rights of minorities and others are trampled on. A sizeable number of supporters of the Tolak Reklamasi movement in Bali, for instance, are saying they too would go Golput.

The big question now is what would happen to Indonesia after the elections, regardless of who wins. Would the victor end up with an Indonesia where business returns to usual after the excitement of a presidential election; or will he face a permanently polarised society with a rising level of discontent.

If the latter happens, then as Jokowi so sassily observed at an IMF gathering in Indonesia not so long ago: Winter is coming.

Written by Ong Hock Chuan, Maverick Managing Partner

Living the Kingdom Life

Wulandari is an associate in Maverick, who has been working for more than two years. She has been handling clients from different industries, including Microsoft and Bridestory. In December 2016, she took her Personal Development Fund to visit United Kingdom, the country that she has been dreaming of. This is her journey. Read More

Diplomasi Kuda ala Jokowi dan Prabowo

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(Untuk versi Bahasa Inggris, klik di sini)

Kami melanjutkan serial tulisan tentang apa yang terjadi di media sosial. Hari ini Ndoro Kakung menulis tentang reaksi netizen terhadap diplomasi kuda Jokowi.

By Ndoro Kakung

Presiden Joko Widodo berkunjung ke rumah Ketua Umum Partai Gerindra Prabowo Subianto di Bojong Koneng, Bogor, Senin (31/10/2016). Pertemuan kedua elite politik tersebut membuat riuh ranah media sosial.

Pertemuan dua seteru politik pada pemilihan presiden 2014 ini adalah yang kedua. Kata kunci “Prabowo” bahkan sempat masuk dalam daftar trending topic Twitter dari pagi hingga malam kemarin. Sebagian besar netizens menyambut positif pertemuan dua elit politik yang pernah bersaing dalam Pemilu Presiden 2014, meski ada juga yang memaknai lebih jauh pertemuan tersebut.

Baik pendukung Jokowi maupun Prabowo, terlihat senang menyaksikan kedua tokoh yang secara politik berseberangan itu pun sampai sekarang masih menjalin hubungan yang baik, tanpa konflik besar. Nara pendukung Jokowi juga menafsirkan pertemuan itu sebagai langkah politik presiden yang brilian.

Akun @zie_ananta misalnya mengaku begini, “Pak @jokowi @prabowo saya senang lihat foto ini, saya takut naik kuda, tapi saya suka topi bapak berdua .”

Akun @Yosefen_A bahkan menilai, “Jokowi ke hambalang itu ibarat jenderal perang ke tempat musuh berkemah. Ngetes nyali komandan lawan.”

Ada yang mengatakan Indonesia beruntung memiliki Jokowi dan Prabowo, karena selama ini para elite politik yang pernah berseteru jarang melakukan silaturahmi, tidak saling berkunjung ke kediaman resmi masing-masing. Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dan Presiden Megawati, misalnya, belum pernah berjumpa lagi dalam suasana yang akrab sejak Ketua Umum Partai Demokrat itu mengalahkan Ketua Umum PDIP itu dalam pemilihan presiden 2004.

Dari sisi komunikasi politik, safari politik Jokowi ke rumah Prabowo boleh dikatakan berhasil, dengan respons Netizen yang melihat Jokowi menunjukkan kepada publik bahwa hubungan baik dengan lawan politik masih tetap terjaga, bukan dengan retorika belaka, tetapi juga dengan kunjungan langsung ke rumahnya. Ini semakin menegaskan citra bahwa Jokowi adalah figur yang bertindak, bukan berbicara.

Akun Twitter @ubegebe1 yang memiliki lebih dari 13 ribu pengikut bahkan menyebut Jokowi sedang melakukan politik ‘high context’. Jokowi menemui Prabowo. Dilanjutkan dengan SBY menemui Wiranto.

 

Keberhasilan langkah Jokowi bisa dilihat dari turunnya ketegangan di kalangan pengguna media sosial yang selama ini terbelah dalam dua kubu, yang sejak pemilu presiden 2014 hingga sekarang, saling serang di media sosial.

Bahkan publik percaya bahwa diplomasi kuda Jokowi-Prabowo akan menurunkan suhu politik nasional, seperti yang ditwitkan oleh akun mantan pengurus Golkar Indra J Piliang, @IndraJPiliang. “Diplomasi naik kuda yg dilakukan Pak Jokowi dan Pak Prabowo bakal jadi suhu pendingin udara politik yg kini memanas. Lakukan dialog!”

 

Baik kubu pendukung Jokowi maupun Prabowo, sama-sama menyebut keduanya sebagai negarawan yang lebih mengutamakan kepentingan bangsa dibanding kepentingan pribadi.

@ferrywar (Arsitek Ferry Wardiman) menyebut peristiwa itu sebagai, “ Satu langkah rendah hati Jokowi, disambut dengan sikap positif kenegarawanan Prabowo, cukup membuat terlihat siapa yang di luar kalangan.”

 

Akun @DheaMerlinda mengatakan, “Kami bangga Padamu jendral,sikap kenegarawanan yg patut d contoh.Walau d khianati tp tdk menyimpan dendam.@prabowo

 

Sedangkan Arief Pribadi Lubis, penyiar Radio Most Medan pemilik akun @arief_badil, mengatakan Pak Jokowi sungguh seorang negarawan yang rendah hati yang menyempatkan waktu sowan ke Pak Prabowo

 

Reaksi positif itu besar kemungkinan juga dipengaruhi oleh laporan media dan foto-foto pertemuan yang menggambarkan suasana santai, akrab, kekeluargaan, dan penuh canda.

Suasana santai itu bisa dibaca dari laporan akun resmi milik Kantor Staf Presiden @KSPgoid. “Suasana akrab sangat terasa saat Presiden @jokowi bersilaturahim dengan @prabowo di kediamannya, Bojong Koneng, Bogor #BertemuPrabowo

Banyaknya pengguna media sosial yang membagikan foto-foto Jokowi dan Prabowo naik kuda bersama itu menegaskan kepiawaian komunikasi politik tim pendukung Jokowi, baik melalui bahasa tubuh dan foto-foto –semua dengan dukungan media sosial.

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Photo: Kantor Staff Presiden

Political horseplay: The Equestrian Diplomacy of Jokowi and Prabowo

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(For Indonesian version, click here)

We continue with an occassional series of posts on what’s happening in the Netizenry of Indonesia. In today’s post, Ndoro Kakung assesses the impact of Jokowi’s horse-riding diplomacy on the Netizens and their reaction toward the political horseplay.

 

Indonesia’s social media users were all abuzz when President Jokowi pranced into the homestead of Gerindra party chairman Prabowo Subianto in Bogor on Monday.

It was the second public meeting between the political rivals since their showdown during the presidential elections in 2014. This meeting of political elites propelled the word “Prabowo” into a Trending Topic on Twitter for most of the day. The responses were generally positive but some Netizens read much more into the meeting than others.

Both Jokowi and Prabowo supporters seemed pleased that the political opponents were able to rise above their rivalry and maintain cordial relations but Jokowi supporters also interpreted the move as evidence of the President’s political acumen.

@zie_ananta, for example, said: “Pak @jokowi @prabowo I like to see this photo (of Jokowi and Prabowo on horseback). I’m afraid to ride a horse, but I like the hats you wear.”

 

@Yosefen_A, “Jokowi’s passage to Hambalang is like a war general riding into the enemy’s camp. Testing the courage of the opponent’s commander. ”

Other Netizens said Indonesia is fortunate to have Jokowi and Prabowo as leaders because usually opposing political elites who’ve clashed with each other rarely patched up (silathurami) by visiting each other’s official residences. They named former Presidents Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Megawati as examples of leaders who could not come to friendly terms after the Chairman of the Democratic Party defeated the Chairman of the PDIP in the 2004 presidential elections.

From the perspective of political communications, Jokowi’s “safari” to Prabowo’s home seems to have paid off with Netizens looking at Jokowi as a politician not only given to political rhetoric but willing to take pains to nurture his relationship with a political opponent by visiting his house. This further reinforces Jokowi’s intended image as a Man of Action.

@ubegebe1 (13,000 followers) said: The javanese are playing “high context” politics. Jokowi meets Prabowo. This is folowed by SBY meeting Wiranto

 

What Jokowi’s gesture seems to have achieved is a lowering of tensions between Netizen supporters of the Jokowi and Prabowo camps, who have been polarized and at each other’s virtual throats since the 2014 elections.

Former Golkar official Indra J Piliang, @IdraJPiliang, for instance tweeted: “The horse-riding diplomacy conducted by Jokowi and Prabowo should cool the rising political temperature. Make a dialogue! ”

 

Supporters from both camps hailed both leaders as statesmen who prioiritzed the national interest over their own.

@ferrywar, an account belonging to architect Ferry Wardiman, proclaimed the event as, “One humble step by Jokowi met with statesman-like positivity by Prabowo, visible to everyone anyone outside the circle.”

 

@DheaMerlinda added: “We are proud of you General for being statesman-like. Although you’ve been betrayed you do not bear a grudge @Prabowo

 

Radio Most Medan broadcaster Arief Lubis (@arief_badil) praised Jokowi as a humble statesman who took time to pay a courtesy call to Prabowo

 

The positive reaction of the Netizens was probably influenced by media reports that carried stories and photographs portraying the meetings as relaxed, intimate and familial.

This was also the impression that the Presidential Staff (@KSPgoid ) wanted to convey as seen in its tweet, accompanied with a photo of both men on horseback: “The intimate atmosphere when President @jokowi visited with @prabowo at his residence, Koneng Bojong, Bogor #BertemuPrabowo”

Many social media users shared the Government’s tweeted photo of both men on horseback, giving credence to the belief that Jokowi’s team are masters at political communication, through use of gestures and images, all assisted by social media.

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Photo: Kantor Staff Presiden

Anies-Sandiaga’s billboard message seizes the attention

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We begin a series of occassional posts about the goings on in the Indonesian social media scene by Ndoro Kakung, who’s joined Maverick as an advisor. Today’s post is about the controversial billboard put up by the Anies-Sandiaga camp that caused a kerfuffle on Twitter over the weekend.

By Ndorokakung

 

The gubernatorial election for Jakarta began last Friday (28/10/2016) and the candidates and their supporters have not wasted any time in getting their message across in the form of leaflets, posters, billboards, banners, photos, videos, and so on.

In this flurry of activity one of the candidate-pairs, Anies Baswedan and his deputy Sandiaga Uno, reaped perhaps more than their fair share of controversy when they put up billboards featuring a photo of both of them with a prominent slogan beneath that proclaimed “Jakarta Milik Kita, Mari Bung Kita Rebut Kembali!” (“Jakarta is Ours, Let’s Seize it Back!”)

The slogan, with its use of the aggressive verb “seize” immediately sparked questions from the Twitterverse as it reminds Indonesians of a couple of lines in the nationalistic song Halo Halo Bandung in which it calls on Indonesians to seize back Bandung (occupied by the Dutch) that is on fire.

Twitter user @jelantik5 questioned the billboard’s messaging: “Excuse me Pak @aniesbaswedan & Pak Sandiaga Uno, could you tell us who’s colonized Jakarta until it has to be seized back?”

Despite having their Twitter handles mentioned in the tweet, both Anies and Sandiaga did not respond to the question.

Their silence did not stop other Twitter users such as @AndiMartin_

@GubernurKW

and @Pinneng

from asking the same question. Still Anies and Sandiaga, as well as their campaign teams and supports, kept mum over the issue.

On Sunday, when many Indonesians have more spare time to check their social media accounts, the issue surfaced again after @AroonP asked @Pandji, (921,000 followers), a standup comedian as well as an official spokesperson for the Anies-Sandiaga ticket: “Masbro @pandji, any comment? Seize Jakarta from whom? ”

This time the questioners got some traction. Pandji replied on Twitter, “We” refers to us, the citizens, to seize the city from the developers and corporations who use Jakarta for their own advantage. Case in point: Reclamation.”

The conversation between @AroonP and Pandji also involved @ernestprakasa into the mix. The account that is believed to be owned by actor and stand up comedian, Ernest Prakasa currently has 389,000 followers. Ernest is also known as one the stand-up comedians like Pandji. They even had a role together in the movie Comic 8.

Pandji’s mention of the word “corporation” and “reclamation” hit a nerve with some of the Twitterati and raised more questions. Which is the corporation he meant? And what has the reclamation project got to do with anything?

Other Twitter users professed surprise by Pandji’s sudden anti-corporate stand because, they pointed out, Pandji has been the recipient of various sponsorships and engagements by corporations.

@hotradero (an account apprently owned by Poltak Hotradero), an employee of the Indonesia Stock Exchange who has more than 88,000 followers, asked “Do you have any opinion about the reclamation, Pandji? Have you already studied all data and documents? Isn’t Bluebird also considered as a corporation? The last remark was an apparent reference to some influencer work done for Blue Bird by Pandji.

Soon, the issue had escalated into a storm in the social media teacup, with other accounts such as @agussari and @imanbr joining into the fray.

Like so many other Twitwars that have flared in Indonesia, however, the billboard issue subsided after Pandji asked for time to discuss the matter first with Anies-Sandiaga.

There is a truce for now but the lesson that the politicians may pick up is that they need to manage issues that may crop up from anything they do or say, be it in billboards or rallies.

When such things become issues it is up to the team as a whole – the candidates, their social media administrators, as well as their spokespersons and surrogates to be responsive with a unified message or stand. In communications this is called getting your messaging right, aligning your messages and then maintaining message discipline among everyone that has exposure to the public at large. This is something that the politicians have yet to learn to do.

 

There are no 50 shades of crises

It’s always interesting to see how the media usually understands crisis and how it can be lived and diced.

This tendency has us learning about social media crises, PR crises and, in the excerpt below from Campaign, a cybersecurity crisis.”

Culture leaves many Asian companies unprepared for a cybersecurity crisis
Strict adherence to hierarchy means Asian companies have been slow improve crisis planning around information-security, according to FireEye’s global comms chief.

Asian brands continue to make slow progress in cybersecurity crisis planning, due to the lack of awareness about the issue and continued mistakes around how to respond, according to Vitor D’Souza, vice president of global communications at security-software provider FireEye.

D’Souza said that in almost every case of a cybersecurity breach that FireEye has been involved with in Asia, “in terms of communications planning, they did not have any at all”.

“They would have what they would call a ‘business continuity plan’, which is totally different,” he said. “It has nothing to do with crisis.” Coupled with this lack of preparation is a tendency in Asia to cling rigidly to company hierarchy in a crisis, which can be a big mistake if the person handling the crisis is not the most knowledgeable about the situation.

“In Asia, company hierarchy is very important,” D’Souza told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “What I see a lot is that there’s this immediate push toward the chairman or CEO to handle the crisis. But the education of the C-Suite in Asia regarding cybersecurity, just in terms of awareness, is not at the same level as other regions.”

Brand reputation can be severely damaged if a top-level executive is put before the media without sufficient knowledge of the crisis, and it is done to the communications team to ensure that does not happen, said D’Souza.

Read more…

Such distinctions are misleading. The way we see it at Maverick wither your company is facing a crisis or it isn’t. If you’re facing one it doesn’t matter if the action is being played out in social media, on the internet or in the conventional media, you have a crisis. That’s it.

We think that the difficulty the media has is in its careless use of the word “crisis”. To them, any incident that may impact the reputation and/or the bottom line of a company or brand is a crisis. While this definition is not necessarily wrong, it is too simplistic.

Under this definition five or even 50 people tweeting bad things about your company could constitute a crisis. Yet common sense suggests it’s not yet a crisis. What about 200? Maybe yes or not. Often its not yet a crisis if the people tweeting about it aren’t influential. This is the case especially in Indonesia where the swarm moves from topic to topic with the attend span of a gnat. Responding to such tweets may escalate the issue instead of doing something positive for the brand.

So when can an incident be clarified as a crisis?  In our opinion, the key to the answer to that question lies with the cord CONTROL. A company is in a crisis-like situation when it has already lost control of a situation or is in imminent danger of losing control.

If you go by this definition, crisis management is then the art and science of bringing control back to the company facing a crisis-like situation. We feel that the wild be a more intelligent approach to crisis management rather than classifying it into a PR crisis or Social Media Crisis or Cybersecurity Crisis.

A crisis is a crisis. What you need to bring under control or to restore control to the situation is a  carefully selected and well trained core crisis management team (which should normally not be helmed by the CEO, because someone has to run the company even during a crisis) and pre-planned response plans and SOPs so that the team has access to pertinent and verified facts, able to analyze them and take the necessary actions, including effective communications, to bring the situation under control.