Ericka Stachura Archive
Election season is in full swing and a thread of political dialogue will no doubt weave its way into most news broadcasts from now through November. You may have caught full blown election fever yourself after tuning in for notable speeches from the candidates, their spouses and Hollywood elite, including Clint Eastwood and his infamous empty chair.
This year’s conventions provided plenty of fodder for pundits who analyze every move made and each word spoken at the DNC and RNC. But the pundits aren’t the only ones analyzing the conventions. As a PR practitioner, the elections appeal to me just as much for the politics as for the real-time, high-stakes case studies they provide on how to (or how not to) stay on message, build an image, connect with your audience and deliver powerful sound bites.
Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republication, primary season teaches us all some lessons in public relations. In honor of Super Tuesday, we’ll take a look at how the political image industry is making headlines this week and highlight key takeaways for businesses.
Romney remaking image ahead of Super Tuesday
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is a case study in branding. The Washington Examiner, complete with a picture of Romney wearing faded blue jeans and an open-necked Oxford shirt, writes this week that Romney is trying to “erase his image as an out-of-touch elitist.” Yet his efforts to show his human side ahead of Super Tuesday have painted the opposite picture (i.e. Romney saying he doesn’t follow NASCAR but has “some friends who are NASCAR team owners.”)
Working in PR is an exercise in discipline. We assume responsibility for everything from strategy to execution details, all of which can change on a moment’s notice. As Beth points out in her 33 Signs You Work in PR piece, #22 is “You are perfectly capable of writing a press release while tweeting, updating Facebook and watching Mad Men at the same time.” A successful PR practitioner needs discipline to carve out time for tasks essential to our job function, particularly the non-tangible elements like reading. It sounds simple enough, but with a daunting to-do list full of deliverables, reading can seem like a distraction when its intent is to provide inspiration and ideas.
Something about September makes me yearn for a new side project to tackle. I chalk it up to a combination of back-to-school withdrawal, the crisp fall air and my general inclination towards multitasking. I read a Wall Street Journal article about a new concept the author dubbed “work-work balance,” juggling your main work duties with more experimental side projects. The concept is intriguing and many of the most innovative companies already encourage employees to take time for “unofficial” activity to spur creative thinking. InkHouse is no different and making space for creativity is something we all strive for on a daily basis.
Twitter is full of surprises. Usually I’m surprised by what people are tweeting – wild rants ala @CharlieSheen or breaking news I’ve seen on Twitter before anywhere else. Lately I’ve been surprised by certain Twitter handles that I never would have expected to find here – those seemingly without a clear product or consumer brand to promote.
Following are some of the unlikely Twitterers I’ve encountered recently and the key learnings I took away based on each one’s messages:
We live in a non-stop communications world where content creation, 24-hour news cycles and constant social Web interaction are the norm. As a marketer, I know the rules about creating meaningful content, distributing it and finding quality interactions with audiences that matter. But following the rules is only going to get you so far.
When brands are competing for consumer attention amongst so many other messages, how can you help your clients rise above the noise when creating content? It helps to take a step back and start by asking yourself what messages get your attention as a consumer. Then work backwards and decipher the elements to figure out what makes the message resonate with you. For me, it’s all about the Allstate Mayhem commercials. The TV spots are memorable and have strong brand association – there is no chance I’m going to forget who the commercial is for after it is over.