Actions speak louder than words

With less than a month until election day, the presidential candidates are strapped for time. Assuming we have all caught CNN at one point or another over the last couple weeks, we have probably heard the insults and the “he said, she said” go back and forth between parties. In this post from The Firm Voice, an interview with CEO and President of Xenophon strategies, David A. Fuscus, reveals all of the valuable lessons PR practitioners can take away from watching the presidential race unfold. I especially liked Fuscus’s response to the question: How is this relevant to agencies and PR people not in politics?

Fuscus responded:

“Emphasizing action over messaging is important in communications overall—not just in politics. It depends on the situation, but messages have to be built around your actions and not the other way around. For example, you have to take definitive action in the consumer field if something happens that will result in a loss of confidence.”

I believe action is key in expressing confidence during times of crisis… whether on Wall Street or as a PR executive working on a client’s campaign. From watching the presidential race from a communication perspective, I agree with Fuscus that it is important to (1) act quickly and (2) find touch points for your public, meaning simple messages to touch people as individuals. Do you agree with Fuscus’s perspective on what we can learn from a presidential campaign? What lessons, from a communication standpoint as a PR student, have you taken away so far?

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4 Responses to Actions speak louder than words

  1. ccharvey says:

    I think that Fuscus really stresses the importance of PR in his blog. Throughout all of his answers it’s clear that without PR, firms and companies are not as strong in their communication as they can be and crisis situations are more likely to occur.

    Especially in the presidential campaigns, I have learned that PR is a very important aspect of communication. Where would Sarah Palin be if the news of her pregnant daughter was handled in a different way?

  2. cate415 says:

    Action is perhaps the most important aspect of pr. A pr agency that can act quickly, whether it be to a client’s crisis or an innovative method of communication to their client’s stakeholders, can ultimately be successful. Acting does not only mean reacting to a situation like in political campaigns, but it also means taking preliminary action. Also, simple key messages are essential to a successful pr campaign. If your audience isn’t clear on your message, it will not be effective.

  3. cclark2 says:

    I like this post because I think so much of the presidential campaign can be related to PR. After all, the campaign is just a communication effort to gaining voters. I think we see all types of communication and PR during an election such as spin, publicity, crisis (Palin’s pregnant daughter), misinformation and disinformation.

    I think it is important for us to carefully watch how each campaign handles situations throughout the election. For example, the accusations that Obama’s mentors have been radical terrorists or that McCain was involved in the Keating Five Scandal. I agree with Fuscus, action is the most important part of an effective crisis communication plan.

  4. mara2009 says:

    I agree with a lot of what Fuscus said. After all, PR practitioners are involved in political campaigns, and voters tend to remember the candidates’ actions just as much, if not more so, than their words. Fuscus pointed out that good presidential campaigns have a lot in common with good public relations campaigns. Similarities include reacting quickly with positive information to negative press and ensuring that actions match words. I agree with both of these.

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