For the Democrats, their supremely well-executed convention was almost marred when it was “discovered” that the party platform had left out any mention of God or the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For the Republicans, their top-of-the-ticket candidate made his acceptance speech without a mention of the men and women serving in our Armed Forces. Both faux pas were unforgivable, especially in light of the razor-sharp election taking place just a few weeks from now.
So how could the planners and the political professionals involved have prevented these potential PR disasters?
In public relations, when we work to manage risk and crises, the best practitioners know to plan from the outside in. This means we take the time to step back and ask ourselves, “What will our publics expect us to do or say when it counts the most?” This seems like an obvious approach; after all, don’t people usually consider who they’re talking to before they say what that say? Well, that may be true, but people often do forget to say something they were supposed to say.
We can be quite sure that a lot of attention was paid to the look and the feel of the conventions, and plenty of effort was devoted to the speeches and the platforms. But in all the preparation, a few of the most obvious words went missing. You can’t forget to mention God and the troops when you’re a presidential candidate making a major speech, or a committee writing a significant political position paper for your party. Somehow, both the Democrats and Republicans did just that. Fortunately for both, their faux pas didn’t derail their big parties. Your thoughts?