Democracy was declining in the country of Georgia. The opposition to President Mikheil Saakashvili knew that in order to win the next election, they needed to raise their profile in the United States and Europe.
Leading up Georgia’s Parliamentary elections, many critics expressed concern that Georgia was no longer the democracy that the West had hoped it was. Then President Saakashvili’s government created a climate of fear and intimidation for journalists, watchdogs and opposition leaders, resorting to unfounded fines, jailings and even violence to suppress the first real challenge to their party since the 2004 Rose Revolution. Critically, many Western leaders were unaware that a legitimate and democratically minded opposition party existed; the Georgian Dream, led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, did not have a presence in the United States or in Europe.
In partnership with several international government affairs firms, we launched a fully integrated public affairs campaign to raise awareness among influencers in the United States and Europe about the true nature of what was happening on the ground in Georgia.
In the year leading up to the elections, kglobal worked to garner support across the globe for free and fair elections in Georgia, and to help raise the profile of the Georgian Dream as a legitimate opposition choice. To do this, kglobal deployed a comprehensive communications strategy and earned media campaign abroad and deployed Western- style campaign techniques and tactics in-country.
The centerpiece of this strategy involved building a coalition of politically minded Georgian-American citizens — Citizens for Democracy in Georgia — and serving as the voice of that coalition through rallies and digital assets including a website, Facebook page and Twitter presence. On the campaign side, kglobal served as the English voice of Ivanishvili on Twitter and produced a biography video piece to introduce him both in-country and abroad.
We won the election.
Georgian Dream captured a significant majority in parliamentary elections. Ivanishvili went on to serve as Georgia’s Prime Minister for two years.