It won’t be clear what the most effective campaign tactics were until the votes are counted, but PR professionals can often learn from election-year PR. Unfortunately, it’s mostly about what not to do, given the bitter, partisan flavor of most campaigns and the positions that divide us. As candidates fight it out in local markets, we get a glimpse of many classic PR tactical moves, from bad optics to great applause lines to real-time marketing. A recent example includes featuring the ISIL beheadings in campaign ads, an appalling strategy which I hope will backfire.
It all adds up to one thing: Reporters training sharp eyes on campaign communications, which makes it more challenging for “everyday” news to break through. How can non-political businesses and brands get in on the action? Here are some issues that are particularly relevant this election season:
Jobs. Even with unemployment rate dipping, jobs are still a top issue. Many of our clients are retailers, and holiday hiring, as well as longer-term plans, are story fodder. A startup company with a proprietary new “big data” processing technology can own a piece of the jobs story. In their case, there are simply aren’t enough data engineers to accommodate technology growth.