Posted by eireland 3 years, 6 months ago

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I woke up to an AP alert about Hillary Clinton’s anticipated presidential candidacy announcement this Sunday. The declaration is expected via Twitter taking a page from the Newt Gingrich 2011 playbook. He was the first major candidate to announce a White House run with a tweet. 

I’ve heard these announcements likened to marriage proposals. How you do it and the subsequent orchestration says everything about you. Public relations in its purest form mixed with overwhelming public scrutiny and campaign laws. 

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are learning this the hard way. The Kentucky Republican Senator was called out for a typo this week at the top of the education section on his presidential campaign website. "Rand Paul Opposes A One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Eductation," it said. I don’t even need to mention what happened to Ted Cruz because you have to be living on Mars to not know. Lesson: considering a presidential run? Buy the URL of your own name.

The announcements and how they’re evolving is fascinating, especially now with technology changing so drastically every four years. Targetting voters will need to keep up accordingly. I remember what a big deal it was in 2008 when President Obama declared his road to the White House via text message and email. In 2011, when attention grabbing videos were really hot, we found out about his bid for re-election in a clip posted on BarackObama.com. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush went on Facebook earlier this year to announce his super PAC. It makes sense that many 2016 candidates are slowly revealing themselves on social media, although younger voters may think platforms like Facebook are passé. The youth vote is incredibly important. It cost Hillary Clinton the Democratic primary in 2007 against Mr. Obama. Will she or any of the candidates use Snapchat? So. Many. Questions. 

One thing that remains the same is the events and first speeches explaining to voters the “why” behind the run. How is the candidate better than the rest. Here is Eisenhower's presidential campaign announcement from the 1950s in his hometown of Abilene, Kansas. He is known as the "Public Relations President" because he was the first to leverage television and Madision Avenue advertising.

Senator Cruz made his verbal announcement to run in front of college students at a private christian university in what appeared more like a campaign stunt than most. The feedback for Cruz from students was not very kind on Twitter. Traditional presidential race kickoffs often take place in a candidate’s hometown or government office. Perhaps one of the most interesting and timely proclamations came from John Edwards in the flood-ravaged Ninth Ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He said no city better symbolized the"have and have nots" zeroing in on the economic disparity focus of his campaign. Subsequently, Mr. Edwards stood in front of a house that had been rebuilt to announce his withdrawal from the race. 

We "the voters" are primarily attached to our smartphones regardless of age and life stage so I imagine we'll be seeing a lot with mobile and digital campaigns leading into 2016. The events will be more intimate, moving away from politicians hiding behind a podium speaking to large crowds. Similar to marketing, one-way communication is not enough. The buyer, like the voter, has to feel a personal connection to a brand or it's white noise. Connectedness with these candidates will matter more in this election than ever before. 

It's officially campaign season and we're all invited. Ready. Set. Go. the clock starts now!

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