Trump + Public Relations = Scandal?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

When candidates for the Republican nomination for president were jockeying for position last summer, I asked a friend what advice would he give to then long-shot Donald Trump.

how-much-donald-trump-makes-in-speaking-fees-compared-to-everyone-else

Presidential candidate and reported publicist Donald Trump. Image source: Business Insider.

My friend, a very experienced and accomplished public relations strategist, said, as I recall: “If I were to offer Mr. Trump counsel, I would advise him to start speaking on the issues and address why he’s qualified to hold the office of president.”

In the 10-plus months since that conversation, Mr. Trump has, indeed, spoken about a lot of things. Some, okay many, would argue that he really hasn’t tackled critical issues facing the nation — the economy, immigration, terrorism threats come to mind — in light of the fact he sure knows how to talk and has done so voraciously.

And, as to why he should be president: The candidate flaunts his business acumen and success as a builder of buildings and creator of jobs.

Another skill required by presidents is to interact effectively with the media. According to a report last week, Mr. Trump has practiced this skill by returning a reporter’s call in 1991 under the guise of a Trump publicist named John Miller.  And, on other occasions, he was publicist John Barron.

As a public relations professional who has done his fair share of media relations, I offer Mr. Trump this advice: Please refrain from posing as a member of the public relations community.

Doing so is unethical because it violates many accepted values and provisions established by the Public Relations Society of America,  like honesty and open disclosure of information for starters. Plus, it takes away billable hours from a real public relations guy or gal!

In another era, the “Trump-posing-as-publicist” story might have ended the candidacy.  It would have been a scandal.

Today, it’s just another chapter it what is culminating in one of the most bizarre and “spirited” political campaigns in history.

Think I’ll reach out to my friend and ask what counsel he’d provide presumed Republican nominee Trump now.

 

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Questions On the Eve of the Iowa Caucus 2016

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka the PRDude)

Unless you’ve put away all electronic devices, tuned out conversation on politics and dropped off the face of modern reality in America today (to modify a counter culture phrase from a long time ago) you should be aware that the state of Iowa will hold its caucus tomorrow.

The prize, of course, is first bragging rights in the presidential elections in November.

Pundits and pollsters, people and political animals have stomped and shouted about the virtues and shortcomings of the many men and two women who are seeking the nod to represent their party for the highest office in the land.

Questions have been asked.

But not by me.

So here are three questions — all communications-based because that’s the focus of this blog after all — from the PRDude regarding the national election ahead.

Many people believe America always has been great. I would think a billionaire would agree.

Many people believe America always has been great. I would think a billionaire would agree.

1. The Trump Campaign Slogan. Donald Trump has stormed out of the gate — and continues to rank on top in Republican race — through barnstorming, bluster and bombast. (Won’t mention his casual use of facts, because that’s another story.)

The question: If Mr. Trump believes it’s time to “Make American Great Again!” wasn’t it great these past few decades when he made his fortune? He repeatedly points out that his bankroll is huge, perhaps due in part to our capitalism and economy. Also, one may argue that the nation was great from its founding days.

2. The Creative Use of Punctuation. A candidate needs to

Yes! Great idea!

Yes! Great idea! Who’s next? You never know; there’s still time in the campaign …

stand out from the pack in a crowded primary race. After all, this is an exercise in marketing.

The question: If Jeb Bush can incorporate an exclamation point after his first name — Jeb! — why don’t other candidates employ this simple tactic? Thought for sure someone would have locked in the hashtag (#), the percent sign (%) and for sure the dollar sign ($) by now.

Perhaps a better image would have shown the candidate seated at a desk talking on a land line.

Perhaps a better image would have shown the candidate seated at a desk, sans shades, talking on a land line.

3. Clinton Image with Cell Phone. During her years as Secretary of State, Democrat Hillary Clinton assuredly spent a lot of time sending and receiving email messages. And, as you may know, there was a controversy surrounding her use of a private email server for government-related correspondence.

The question: Given the dust up over the email issue, why is there an image of Mrs. Clinton on her official website holding a handheld and wearing dark glasses? Frankly, she looks kind of suspicious.

There are other similar questions that might surface between now and election day on November 8. What concerns do you have?