Mainstreaming ASEAN is all about the role and function of political communication from the start of ASEAN, her founding fathers and the present ASEAN composed of 10 countries in the heartland of the globe. It presents ASEAN’s geographic strength and the comparative advantage of each nation constituting the ASEAN Economic Community.

Political communication is a “subfield of communication and political science that is concerned with how information spreads and influences politics and policy makers, the new media and citizens.” Political Communication addresses “issues at the core of Asian democracies. It provides an understanding of the role and significance of media, journalism and information in shaping public opinion.”

Mainstreaming ASEAN presents the unique narrative of Asian democracies viz Western democracies. It presents the ASEAN brand and positioning and leads to a general assessment of politics and governance in the region. Because consensus drives ASEAN more and more, being mobile, agile and hostile defines its global competitiveness. It is not one nation against each other, but a community complementing one other.

Political communication has invaded the boardroom via the Insurgent strategy where principles of political communication have been used to power the so-called underdog advantage to put business on top. The underdog advantage is focused on two lessons: the rules of leadership, business and communication have completely changed; and insurgent marketing and communications works.

Incumbents are bloated, slow, cautious, bureaucratic, change-resistant, and more likely to place “defense” than “o ense” to maintain their power. Insurgents, on the other hand, harbor an attitude of di erence, move faster, and welcome change as opportunity. Insurgents are able to pursue disruptive innovation while incumbents await mergers and acquisitions.

Political campaigns are zero sum games, winner take all. There are no equivocal results – you win or lose. If you didn’t get 50.1% or better in Election Day, you didn’t have “soft results in the third quarter”; you lost. Victory is mighty sweet, but it is the bitter taste of loss that you never forget. Now, transpose this to the boardroom and business plan reviews had to answer a simple question: “Did you win —or did you lose?”

In this age of VUCA, do not act like a leader but continue to act like hungry, scrappy little company that fought its way to leadership in the first place. The age of incumbent power is over. This is the age of insurgency.

by Maria Lourdes N. Tiquia Founder/CEO
PUBLiCUS Asia Inc (
SecGen, Association of Political Consultants in Asia (APCA)