January 18, 2012

Learning PR Tactics from the Presidential Candidates

Since we’re in an election year, more than ever I am realizing the similarities between PR campaigns and political campaigns.  Campaign managers for President Obama, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul, take note!

In PR, you have to not only react to breaking news, but also anticipate it.

You need to make sure that your spokespersons are well messaged and know how to clearly articulate their views.

You need to make sure that you use every interview as an opportunity to proactively articulate your message—regardless of the tone or nature of the interviewer’s questions.

You need to learn to block a tough question that you don’t want to answer, and bridge to a point that you want to make.  And you need to know what your answers are well before the interview takes place.

I cite a famous Henry Kissinger quote—“Does anyone have any questions for my answers?”—as a great example.  He knew what he wanted to say, even before the question was asked…and he figured out a way to work his messages into his answer.

I could go on, but all this said, there is one key differentiator between PR and political campaigns.  PR practioners, nor their clients, are allowed to openly and aggressively call their competitors names or hold them out to be crony capitalists or socialists!  Let’s leave the muck throwing to the politicians.  PR people: focus on getting your positive messages out.