Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, 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.”)
Business takeaway: Always keep your audience in mind when going off-the-cuff. Share only personal stories that can further develop a connection.
The Ann Romney advantage?
Lucky for Romney, he has what the Wall Street Journal has dubbed “The Ann Romney Advantage” in his wife who—until recently—had arguably been the most effective at softening Mitt’s image. In an interview Monday, Mrs. Romney was asked about criticism that her husband’s wealth can make him seem out of touch with average Americans. The message she intended was quite eloquent yet the sound bite that made headlines was simply, “Ann Romney doesn’t consider herself wealthy.” Here is Mrs. Romney’s full response, as printed in the New York Daily News:
“We can be poor in spirit, and I don’t even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow.” She added: “How I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people that I care about in my life, and that’s where my values are and that’s where my riches are.”
Business takeaway: Be prepared for the worst possible questions and practice the answers. Be conscious of what could become a sound bite, because comments are often used out of context. Do take a cue from Ann Romney in being understated and authentic, yet confident in expressing your point of view.
Kid Rock endorses Mitt Romney
Romney’s campaign theme song is Kid Rock’s “Born Free” and the politician scored a coup by persuading the rock star to perform it live at a Michigan campaign event. According to CBS News, the two met at Kid Rock’s Michigan home where they spent an hour discussing topics of shared interest, including commitment to country, Detroit and the troops. Kid Rock wanted assurances that if elected president, Romney (also Michigan native) would help him help the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit.
Business takeaway: Align your brand with endorsers your audience relates to. While Romney seemingly has nothing in common with Kid Rock, somehow their relationship makes Romney’s aspirations to help Michigan more credible to voters.
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