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An Analysis of Public Relations Campaign

Over the last few decades, public relations has rapidly transformed from a simple art on effective communication into a complex system of preparing and executing image building programs, on a sustained basis, for corporate entities, the bureaucracy, institutions, celebrities and even political personalities. While before communicating with a specific public was done basically through the print and broadcast media, today’s brand of public relations is a lot broader and each and every public relations campaign requires careful and extensive research and planning to fit into the needs of a client.

Gone were the days when issuing news and photo releases to announce an event, project or program were done or prepared on a piecemeal basis or the hand to mouth approach. The emergence of modern communication technology calls for a new concept on public relations, both as a profession and as an important component of both business and governance. Today’s kind of public relations requires extensive planning and programming before a public announcement or launching is undertaken.

A lot of considerations need to be looked into. For one, there should be a clear line as to what will be the expected end result after a Public Relations Program or Campaign shall have been fully implemented. Failure to painstakingly draw up a well engineered Public Relations Plan or Image Building Program may actually result into a Public Relations crisis situation. This is something that a Public Relations practitioner should deliberately avoid.

Public Relations in Clinton-Obama Candidacy For purposes of a clinical discussion of a public relations campaign, let us then take a closer look on the Public Relations Programming being applied in the on-going presidential nomination derby involving Democrats Hilary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois. One may recall that early last year or at the start of the nomination process, Senator Clinton already had a much defined outline of her campaign.

Her Public Relations Campaign was centered on the need to address the serious problem of global warming and of creating some five million jobs in the next decade to keep the American nation on track. This rather sophisticated outline of a Mrs. Clinton presidency could be partly attributed to the fact that she is surrounded by planners and technocrats with extensive hands-on exposure on the nitty-gritty of running the American government. This also explains why Mrs. Clinton had a good start in the nomination process.

In fact, early on she was already considered the leading democratic contender. The seasoned and well-planned Public Relations Campaign is attributed to the Senator being a former First Lady and powerful figure in the Bill Clinton administration. The latter’s governance and Public Relations tactics were passed on to his wife, who has long been looking for an opportunity to show what she got and her abilities, not under the shadow of her husband. In contrast, the Public Relations blueprint of Senator Obama was very amateur on the surface.

As everyone by now knows, his Public Relations blitzkrieg started with a simple question logged on the internet:”How can we engage more people be interested in the democratic process? ” (Obama, 2008). One may say that it was plain luck that the question generated a surprisingly high response of close to 20,000 individuals during the initial days after its entry in the Internet. It can also be called a strike of a genius because it immediately generated a lot of interest.

Since then, Obama was able to achieve a higher level of interest and consciousness not only among Americans but the international community of nations. It has reach to a point that he was able to catch up and even overtake Sen. Clinton as the campaign trail is nearing its close in two months time. The situation at present is one that maybe described as too close to call. Despite some setbacks, Mrs. Clinton has managed to inch very close behind Obama to the point that the Democratic nomination process may be recorded in history as the toughest one ever.

The situation should now drive the Public Relations planners and advisors of both camps to go back to the drawing board for adjustments to the original Public Relations plans. Something dramatic should be hatched to enable one to make a decisive breakaway in the homestretch. So intense is the race for the democratic nomination that some concerned sectors within the party have started floating the idea of whoever wins the contest should draft the losing contender as running mate. This was promptly meet with a vigorous objection from no less than Senator Obama.

The “leak to media” of the said proposal was suspected to be a smart Public Relations ploy by the camp of Senator Clinton in a clear effort to assuage the growing concern of party members and supporters that the hated campaign may ultimately weaken the party itself. At this point in the campaign, whoever has a better Public Relations team will be known by the kind of debate and information drive that will be initiated in the coming weeks for the remaining states where the nomination fight will more or less be decided. For Senator Obama, launching a massive and strong Public Relations blitz in the remaining states would not be a problem.

He has more than enough funds in his campaign coffers to bankroll the kind of information program needed to make the final push for him to become the first black American to capture the White House. On the same token, the latest victory of Senator Clinton in Pennsylvania should be enough basis to inspire her think tank to come up with the needed surge in the remaining states to ultimately catapult her back to the White House, this time no longer as the First Lady but as Her Excellency the first woman President of the United States and commander-in-chief of the American military.

The above Public Relations battle in the Clinton-Obama presidential candidacy brings us back to the point raised in the book “Public Relations: The Profession and the Practice” by Lattimore et al (2004), where in Part 3 thereof it stressed the need for practitioners to have a clear understanding of its “Publics,” who actually are the courier and recipients of a Public Relations program or message (Lattimore et al, 2004, p. 175). In this particular instance of the race between Mrs.

Clinton and Obama, whichever between their Public Relations teams can effectively use or exploit media in convincing the American democrats in the remaining states that she or he is the rightful party candidate for the Presidency, will be the victor. A question will emerge as something like this: Will Obama pursues his Public Relations line of his being the new hope for America or make a drastic change in Public Relations strategy to kick Mrs. Clinton out of the race?

On the other side, the factors to be considered by Mrs. Clinton’s political and Public Relations team should be to drive home the point that America needs a woman Chief Executive for a change or that she is the better prepared person to assume the Presidency. Whoever between the two can effectively communicate to the workers, students, business and the cross-section of the electorate in the remaining states will, in the end, bag the required number of delegates needed to claim the democratic nomination.

It is of paramount importance that the Public Relations strategists of the two contenders should be able to accurately assess the issues and concerns in the concerned states in order to be able to run away with the much needed number of delegates. A misfire even on the speeches or pronouncements of either of the contenders may result into a crucial error that will spell disaster to the entire campaign. Very clearly, the Public Relations planners and implementers of both Clinton and Obama will play pivotal roles in enabling their presidential bets end up as official party candidate.

As both of them already knew that their Republican counterpart, Senator John McCain of Arizona, has long ago started preparing for the final showdown later this year, it is equally vital for them to move with precision from now on because errors in the campaign at this point in time could bring in the final nail to a losing presidential bid. The Public Relations Campaign in the Clinton-Obama battle manifests what Lattimore and his company was saying about the nature, importance and a clear as well as an effective understanding of the profession and its practice.

As emphasized in the book, a good Public Relations program, either done by an individual or firm or an agency will be crucial in the successful campaign for either a product, career in business or even politics. In presenting to the public the growing significance and effects of Public Relations, Lattimore and his group presented the theoretical specifics and practical applications of the field and how they have impacted not only on the life of an individual but to the undertakings of a nation and the policy-making of its leaders as well.

The said Public Relations book proved to be helpful to people of all concern, from a simple working individual to smart and powerful presidential candidates in the persons of Clinton and Obama. In sum, Public Relations campaigns, being necessary in gaining public awareness and support, should now be considered as integral part of both corporate advancement and nation building. Through well planned Public Relations campaigns, people are driven into working for a common goal.

Undeniably, it is through an interesting, effective and beneficial Public Relations Campaign that one’s destiny or a nation’s future can hold. Failure to effectively use Public Relations, as a tool in communications, may result in lower production output or even turmoil or chaos in society.

Reference

Lattimore et al. (2004). Public Relations: The Profession and the Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill. Obama, Barack. (2008). How can we engage more people in the democratic process? Yahoo! Answers. Retrieved April 27, 2008 from Yahoo database.

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