Jerrold Tarog's Heneral Luna has gripped the imagination of the M2.0 Office like Game of Thrones before it. The film gripped our imaginations, living up to the hype built by word-of-mouth, social media, and traditional media mentions. The film is an eye opener – not just for Philippine history and current society, which it speaks about eloquently – but also for the perils of leadership and the proper prosecution of campaigns. Its lessons in these areas are as applicable for PR and marketing heads as they are for political leaders.
Be warned there might be spoilers – unless you're a history buff.
1) Successful Campaigns Move In One Direction
Antonio Luna, as amazingly portrayed by John Arcilla, is plagued by personalities that push the Philippine war campaign into different, selfish directions. Even without resorting to history, the result ends predictably. He dies and the Philippine lost its burgeoning independence. In PR, sending different messages in various channels lead to the same thing. PR, digital marketing, social media, and events must beat the same drum to ensure maximum ROI from a marketing campaign.
2) Don’t Compromise Your Principles
General Luna never compromised his stand on the fight for Philippine independence. On the other hand, Mon Confiado's Emilio Aguinaldo did, which caused the loss of the war and the deaths of thousands of Filipinos who found no central government to protect their lives. In the same way, corporate leaders should protect the values that built their company – and the message of their PR campaigns. A company can't advocate a green lifestyle without making plans and taking steps to help the earth. Such blatant hypocrisy reflects an unstable corporate culture, which can tear the company apart. While compromises can be made in form, such as using cheaper digital marketing than expensive TV ads, the core message should stay the same.
3) Send Reinforcements
Luna was stuck in the center of the war's biggest and goriest battles. Unfortunately, he was never sent the reinforcements, both men and material, that was promised him. So he lost. Don't commit to a large marketing campaign – then short shrift the budget. Give it the needed support to guarantee success.
4) Surround Yourself with People That Share Your Vision
Aguinaldo was pushed in many directions. Even if he had truly desired Philippine independence, the whispers of Felipe Buencamino (Nonie Buencamino)and Pedro Paterno (Leo Martinez) would have crumbled his resolve. Luna's men believed in him and his vision, and wasbetrayed by people outside his chain of command. Hire and place people that would help your vision. They shouldn't be mere yes-men but believers who want you to succeed strong enough to tell you when you're doing things wrong.
5) Don’t Take Shit Sitting Down
Epi Quizon's Mabini supported Luna – but wasn't outspoken enough. As the Philippines first prime minister, he could have done more to influence Aguinaldo than Buencamino and Paterno. If he had figuratively stood up and called out the two's lies while in the presence of the President, the ending might be very different. It took a while before Mabini wrote about Aguinaldo’s supposed participation in Luna’s death, but it’s already too late. When your brand message is being compromised and departments are infighting, take an immediate stand. Don’t let it last longer than it has to be and defend your position with well-articulated arguments based on facts. Stand up for your beliefs.
Heneral Luna is an amazing film, which speaks about many aspects of Filipino life. It's worth watching.
What other insights did you learn from the movie? Comment below.