Persuasion & Public Opinion

I’m the first to admit that I have not been a devoted follower of Canadian politics. I tend to watch the debates prior to an election and hope that it a fairly representative view of the candidates so that I can make my election decisions.  It is something that I feel is my biggest challenge as I embark on a career in public relations.  Because of this, I didn’t have any strong knowledge of Justin Trudeau in the time leading up to his election as the leader of the Liberal party. Truth be told, my initial perception of him was that he was a young, inexperienced politician who would most likely win the leadership race by riding on the coattails of his much beloved father.  I didn’t have a lot of faith in his ability to lead our country.

Once he became the Liberal leader, my first real exposure to Justin Trudeau was as a result of his response to the attack ads launched against him by the Conservative party.

I watched in horror as our current government blatantly ridiculed and attacked this man in the name of politics.  Still, I had to admit that the comments about his inexperience still rang true for me.

It wasn’t until I viewed his response to these ads that my opinion of Mr. Trudeau changed.  And changed, it did…immediately and permanently.

I was so impressed with the approach that he took to respond to the attack ads.  He was never defensive, he addressed the attacks directly, and he was believable in his delivery.  Is Justin Trudeau inexperienced?  Yes, absolutely.  But does this mean that he can’t be a good leader of this country?  I don’t believe so.  In fact, I think Canada needs a change and Mr. Trudeau might be just the one to offer it.


There are many factors that influence my decision-making process.  These factors vary dependent on the type of decision that is being made and the importance and/or repercussions of my actions.  One example I can provide is related to giving blood to Canadian Blood Services.  Donating blood is not something I think about on a regular basis.  I am fortunate that I have never been in a situation to require a blood donation, nor has anybody close to me.  However, I am drawn to donate any time I see a clear and concise message which appeals to my self-interest.

If an advertisement for Canadian Blood Services resonates with me, I will immediately contact them and set up an appointment.  Sadly, this doesn’t usually last.  I have never just contacted them out of the blue to make a donation.  It is always spurred by a persuasive message that draws me in.  From another perspective, I suppose Canadian Blood Services can be proud of their skill at persuasive communication!


For me, thinking differently about an issue is usually fostered by a sense of credibility of the deliverer of the message.  Maple Leaf Foods drew wide-spread criticism immediately after the listeriosis outbreak in 2008.  Like many people, I was shocked at the deaths that occurred and was quick to blame Maple Leaf for poor quality control and an assumed priority for profit over consumer safety.  After watching the apology of President/CEO, Michael McCain, my perception of Maple Leaf Foods and their culpability in this tragedy changed dramatically.

Because of the heartfelt and very credible message delivered to the Canadian public, I believed that this was a company that deeply regretted the incident and was willing to take full responsibility for the deaths, even despite the very real possibility that the company had done everything it could to avoid such an occurrence.  This credibility made me think about Maple Leaf Foods and the entire listeriosis outbreak very differently.  The strongest proof of this is the fact that I continue to purchase meat products made by Maple Leaf.


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