Call in the COVID-19 crusaders!Friday, March 26, 2021
THERE is no doubt that serious times are upon us and, make no bones about it, these times call for serious measures. Irrespective of the side of the political divide on which you stand, many Jamaicans will admit that the Government is doing a valiant job at cauterising the deadly scourge called COVID-19.
On the other hand, some may assert that, as a nation, we have failed.
Here is a simple yet worthwhile suggestion to Prime Minister Andrew Holness: Call in the COVID-19 crusaders!
Mr Prime Minister, you cannot do it alone, you need help; help from the influencers.
Practitioners and students of marketing will attest to the word-of-mouth concept; that the most effective means of spreading the message about a product is by the people sharing their sentiments and experiences with others. It has been proven that signals sent by both “ordinary” individuals and influential ones go a far way in creating believability and acceptance of a product. The current public relations and public education drives are fine, but more is needed.
So Mr PM, let us start rallying these influencers to the national cause. We know who they are — the entertainers, sporting figures, celebrities, and civic leaders. These groups hold significant sway over the citizenry, which will more readily listen to them than to our well-meaning State leaders. We must bring the influencers on board.
You may recall the widespread reaction of the public to the recent utterances of a popular athlete and a top-tier entertainer regarding the vaccines; these individuals have significant reach. So if we can get enough of the influencers to preach the same COVID-19 message, then, just maybe, the people will listen.
The partying, the fraternising, the crowding, all of these are natural, yet dangerous behaviours in the present context. To achieve the desired behaviour modification we must engage the influential personnel. Those who are “rated” by the public can unfreeze the psyche of the ordinary man to get them to understand the consequences of their actions, and how we can collectively save lives and livelihoods through our actions.
So how do we get these stars and celebrities to partner with us? We pay them! Marketers know the value of a celebrity's endorsement of their product, but they also know that it comes at a cost. How about asking what is the cost of a life? Would $100 million be too much to save 10 lives, or prevent 10,000 new infections? How about the economic savings to be accrued from this publicity venture? Sounds crazy? Would we rather continue spending billions of hard-earned tax dollars just chasing our tails with an unrelenting infection rate? Find the funds to enlist these influencers, Mr PM. This will be an investment well worth the while.
We need all hands on deck — even if they are hired hands. If we can make believers of people, we can beat this crisis. Jamaica needs to start breathing again, soon. May God bless us all.
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