5 Things to Learn from the 2016 Presidential Candidate Pool

What can PR pros learn from the 2016 candidates?

RNC hopefuls
It’s like the Brady Bunch…only with more Rogaine and polyester.
Credit:

The NFL just got done with their Big Game, as did the Weather Channel…so now, it’s time for the Super Bowl of Politics to take shape. The question for pundits, hacks, and those of you we don’t really know: are…you…ready?!

Let’s get ready to bumble!

A gaggle of 33 people would love to load up a storage unit and bringing their bag of questionable morals and non sequitur talking points to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And that’s just the Republicans.

Amidst this big top full of elephants, I found this week’s #5Things for our PR edification: 5 Things to Learn from the 2016 Presidential Candidate Pool. 

1. Resumes Aren’t What They Used to Be.

You would think that, after you become a GOP Governor of a progressive state or a U.S. Senator wasting taxpayer dollars on Capitol Hill, people would gasp and swoon at your credentials.

Then you run for president and realize no one is really that impressed with you. You expect a few Governors and Senators, but among the GOP group is a former Secretary of State, a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a couple of corporate CEOs, and even the first person who successfully separated Siamese twins conjoined at the head. Do any of them stand out? Not really.

In PR, you can have a sweet resume with dazzling recommendations, but if you can’t get someone in HR to notice you and care, it won’t matter. In a saturated market, you need an edge — or at the very least, someone on the inside. (In case you missed it, Harrison Wise of Wise PR gave us some tips on that front last week.)

less is more2. Less Is So Much More.

Governors, Senators, and Ambassadors, oh my! The latest GOP straw poll shows there a few muttonheads…eh, people driven to serve their country. Let’s see: 2…6…10… 33! Close to three dozen people believe they either have solid aspirations or a surefire shot to become the nation’s conservative choice for president. Democrats? Please! Everyone with a DNC card in their wallet is scared of a certain woman whose name starts with a “C.”

PR is much like this — clients believe that press releases and pitches need more when they really need so much less. SEO will thank you for slimming things down, and journalists will definitely appreciate the solid.

Who knows, maybe media interest would come your way more often if contacts knew your talking head weren’t set to explode like Mount Vesuvius.

3. Experience Can’t Beat Awareness.

Every individual in the federal horde wants awareness (including Joe Biden who really doesn’t stand a chance). Speaking of which…the guy has been VP for almost seven years. He is an attorney and was one of the youngest people ever elected to U.S. Senate at the age of 29. Although he farts-and-falls-down tripping over his tongue on a weekly basis, Biden has skills.

Great experience aside, is anyone “aware” that he would like the DNC nod in 2016? Nope. Consider your client that way. He or she became a CEO because of skill, ardent passion for the industry, and a keen understanding of business, but who in the world cares about all that if no one has heard of the company?

Chris-Christie-Cowboys4. Headlines Have Their Advantages.

Everyone knows Chris Christie has his eyes on the White House, but no one was really interested in discussing policy with the guy since that whole traffic cluster on the G.W. Bridge and the audit over that MWW campaign

So what’s a dude to do but look more like a dude? That’s why he became besties with Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones during the playoffs.

You couldn’t stand it?! Imagine how my fellow Texans felt watching him ravage the defenseless buffet table in the owner’s suite. And would you believe his approval rating went up after that bout of jetsetting? Headlines make people forget about the doldrums and the time in-between hits, don’t they?

Christie has experienced some down time, scores a positive headline and…touchdown! You could be the same way. Get a solid outlet talking about your client and see what happens.

5. News Can Come from the Most Surprising Places

You never know when your next hit will arrive…or from where. We have all said at least once, “That reporter liked my pitch?”

Sure, you have skills and confidence, but don’t even try to get all Svengali-like with your media friends to score those headlines…or have the nerve to get all giddy when it happens. Hey, it happens to the best of us: you could get a headline from Cleveland, of all places!

Speaking of the Cleve, the home of 2016 Republican National Convention is in Lebron’s backyard next year, so it’s safe to assume that the fine folks of the Rock N’ Roll Capital of the World are thrilled to have another headline in the town other than Johnny Manziel and his drinking issues.

The point? We would all love the above-the-fold magic in that one national “Journal,” but a cover story in your client’s favorite trade publication certainly doesn’t suck.

2016 should be fun…