September 4, 2012

Is Politics Good for Business?

We tell our financial public relations clients not to publicly take sides in the presidential race.

Our rationale is quite simple: given that the country is basically split down the middle in their political leanings, any portfolio manager, investment banker or CEO who goes on CNBC and supports, say, Governor Romney’s across-the-board tax cuts or President Obama’s stimulus plans, runs the risk of alienating half of their clients or prospects. Why take the risk?

On the other hand, the next ten weeks will be dominated by wall-to-wall election coverage by both the general and financial media. What’s a PR firm to do?

Here’s what we are telling out clients: don’t take sides, but be aware of both candidates’ and political parties’ plans and be ready to explain how either side’s policies will impact markets if implemented.

It’s a fine line for would-be interviewees to navigate, but can easily be done with a bit of research and the proper media coaching. Is it the ideal interview opportunity?

Well, that depends. There’s no doubt that most of us are pretty tired of the political coverage by now and I, for one, look forward to this election ending already, but that’s not how the media works and those who understand this and can play the game properly can expect to see a spike in their media appearances in the weeks ahead.

Richard Dukas