João Doria is no ordinary politician. Since his victory to become São Paulo’s Mayor, Doria has been constantly surprising with the usage of communication strategies and storytelling.

Against all odds, Doria was elected mayor with 53 percent of the votes in the first round. No poll had hinted at such a resounding victory mainly because this was Doria’s first time running in an election. He is an important business man in Brazil, best known for his previous work as a journalist and for being the Founder and CEO of Grupo Lide.

One of Doria’s main goals has been to distance himself from the existing protocol and bureaucracy of the Administration. Hence, his refusal to be referred to as a politician, but a worker: “João el Trabajador” (João the Worker). So, how exactly has Doria become a game changer for political communication?

Many people could consider Doria’s success as beginner’s luck. However, a journalist such as Doria recognized the role that communication can (and in many cases, must) play in city management, just as it does in any company. His strategy is based in a clear, consistent and well-structured communication as the key management tool.

What are the keys to João Doria’s storytelling?

In Doria’s narrative, this Mayor is the hero built in opposition to his predecessors, the bureaucracy and all that represents inefficient city management (the villains). It is in this way that, the Mayor generates empathy with his target audience (Brazil as a whole?) and creates an emotional bond with them whether is positive or negative.

Mayor Doria has personified people that coexist in the day-to-day life of the city; not a character who kisses children or cuts ribbons, but rather one that stars in roles that require management and action. Through the use if storytelling, he has successfully created a human character, hard working, capable of making mistakes and dedicated to his work, but overall he has managed to separate himself from the distant and cold businessman, so criticized at the beginning of his tenure.

No story, no matter how well built it is, can work if not correctly communicated. It is here were Doria’s biggest accomplishment lies. Through the use of his personal social media accounts, he has created a two-way communication strategy, where direct messages predominate. To this day, the mayor has had over two million visits to his Facebook page and over 300 thousand followers on Twitter, in addition to this he has published over 150 videos speaking directly to the citizens, bringing to them issues of every day management and including the population in the decision making process.

Overall, he has achieved a masterful use of communication and has transformed it into a tool of governability worthy of analysis. In this context it is difficult not to associate the power communication can have whilst governing and not have it confused with manipulation; on the contrary, it should be considered as a mastering of the ability of expressing and persuading.