We’re excited to join the conversation. 

The connections between PR and politics – on many different levels – makes this one of the most fascinating times in history for our country, for all strategic communications professionals, and for all of us at Vehr Communications.

Our Country:

There has never been a more exciting presidential election in our lifetime.  As a country at war abroad and in financial turmoil at home, it also may be the most important.

From an historical communications perspective, it will always be the first presidential campaign of the Web 2.0 world.  1996, 2000 and 2004 were influenced by the Web, each more profoundly than the one prior.  But, no campaign has ever relied as much on the Web for shaping and managing reputations and developing and maintaining relationships like the Obama campaign.  That, of course, is pushing the McCain campaign which, in turn raises the stakes for both. 

It is too soon to know what influence it will actually have on results – the “purchase decision” – votes cast for either ticket.  Here’s betting the influence is dramatic.  And, the use of the Web this November will only jumpstart its influence beyond politics post November 4.

Strategic Communications Professionals: We’re just gonna learn a ton.  Both campaigns are breaking new ground.  The thousands of other candidate and issue campaigns here and around the country are pushing their own envelopes. 

  • We’ll know more after November than before about handhelds as a tool to influence consumer decision-making. 
  • We’ll have a better sense for the value of monitoring blogs to preserve, protect and promote a corporation’s or a brand’s reputation.
  • The light and heat of a presidential campaign have pushed the limits of online donations – just imagine what non-profits can learn to raise $ for their mission.
  • Of course, the list is nearly endless.

At Vehr Communications:

We hope we’re like all the other PR folks out there.  We’re soaking things up like sponges and considering applications for our clients.  Here’s a few thoughts:

Despite the speed and scale of “relating” online, we’re betting that:

  • Authenticity and relevance will still drive the purchase decision.
  • Solid strategy with disciplined execution will win out over shock and flash (awe?).
  • Decision timeframes will be shortened by enhanced access to information and opinions.
  • The need to be in the conversation – or at least aware of it – will be more and more important.

Curious of other thoughts.  We like politics because it is great learning/training for communications professionals.  Every campaign, no matter the size, requires, tests and hones skills in strategic thinking, marketing, crisis communications, media relations, community relations, collateral material development, and more.

More important, we also think it is important for our country and community.