Lessons for Public Relations from the Presidential Trail
Contributed by Trina Chiara, Senior VP, Media Relations, Ogilvy Public Relations
In 1988, I traveled on a 747 airplane; Seat 24B. I packed light: a reporter’s notebook and pen, a tape recorder, and a couple of “snappy” mix-and-match articles of clothing.
As a journalist for National Public Radio and part of the press covering presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, my mission was to extract “news” from every move the candidate made in the embattled race for the White House.
Interestingly, there are striking similarities between the 1988 and the 2004 elections; and, surprisingly, these campaigns also offer clues to addressing some public-relations and communications challenges. In 1988, like in the 2004 presidential election, two factors played a significant role in turning the election: strategy development and media relations. The candidate’s organization that best understood how to create an effective, broad-based communications strategy, while simultaneously managing media relations effectively, made its way to the White House — both in 1988 and in 2004…