By Daniel Henderson
For anyone, from either side of the aisle that is interested in politics and anyone who wants a part in shaping the future political messages of candidates for office, this was the session to be at. Anne Hathaway, the CEO and Founder of Hathaway strategies, a grassroots public affairs campaign, along with Jane Jankowski, also from Hathaway Strategies, presented on the keys to success for political campaigning and rules to live by if working in politics. Both have impressive and lengthy resumes, that frankly are worthy of their own blog post, and can be seen on the PRSSA National Conference website.
The session started with the audience giving their views on recent quotes from the presidential campaign and whether the lines are good or bad for the candidate. They then moved on to their views on how political PR has been turned on its head. The current election cycle, the news cycle shrinking every day, social media, use of surrogates and grassroots support have changed how political PR pros do their job. It expands messaging opportunities but makes controlling the message in the media harder than it once was. Their “Keys to Success,” included: Know why you’re running, tell the truth, be accurate, pay attention to timing, know when to be disciplined, know when you can have a little fun and know when to say nothing.
Some endearing words from the speakers to remember:
“Don’t bring me a problem unless you’re also coming with a solution” -Jane Jankowski
“[Surrogates] are a very smart, very calculated way to get the message out. It’s a choir instead of a soloist.” –Anne Hathaway
“The words ‘no comment’ are still saying something” –Anne Hathaway
Daniel Henderson is a senior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's treasurer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.