Mudslinging: Can we not?

By Suzanne Buzek
May 23rd, 2016

Art reflects life, and life reflects art … Right? Business and politics have a similarly weird and parallel relationship, and the excitement lies in competition. The chase for new business (or the nomination) can be an intoxicating one. When things go your way, you rejoice. When you lose, it hurts.

How you talk about yourself sets an important tone when nurturing client relationships. It’s the “persuasion dance” – the artful balance between not talking too much about your accolades and capabilities, while still communicating your tireless ability to understand your clients’ problems. Switch out “clients” with “supporters” and “business” with “votes” and you have the basic objective of any political campaign.

Any election year has abundant media coverage and sound bites intentionally and deliberately crafted by candidates’ PR teams. Marketers and communicators in every sector live that daily (no matter the stage of the election cycle). Exploring angles and approaches of persuasion for 2016’s election cycle could populate a blog for months (and will probably will for some thought leaders). I’d like to propose that one approach disappear forever: Mudslinging.

It may seem obvious that professional communicators should be above such an ugly tactic. But the ubiquitousness of mudslinging may gradually wear down our collective sensitivity, to the point that it might even be argued as savvy PR.

Let’s not let that happen. Mudslinging cheapens our craft, and we have the power to set the impressive, authoritative tone in our work that says so. Let’s keep our eyes ahead and focused on continued work with clients while attracting new ones, using performance metrics as a means of self-awareness and self-improvement. Competition will never go away, and the excitement that comes with it will sometimes captivate us, but remaining ambivalently dismissive of the competition can help accomplish a lot more than resorting to elementary-level playground taunts.

If we can set aside the mudslinging, hopefully our politicians can, too.

 

By | 2017-03-12T18:27:49+00:00 May 23rd, 2016|Public Affairs, Uncategorized, Vr3|Comments Off on Mudslinging: Can we not?

About the Author:

Suzanne doesn’t know what it’s like to be bored, and does everything possible to keep it that way. She thrives on being able to huddle with a team and move quickly in the face of business realities while taking the time to brainstorm the Next Big Idea with a client.

Prior to joining Vehr, Suzanne helped manage communications to support 1,000 national customers at Cintas. She developed toolkits to educate 30,000 employees; created sales presentations, branding campaigns, collateral materials and more; and managed the company’s agency partner relationships.

Suzanne moonlights as VP of Marketing Communications for American Marketing Association Cincinnati. She lives in Northern Kentucky with no plans to give up her 513 area code (she is from Westwood, after all). You can find her enjoying the local music scene and trying to keep up with two book clubs—luckily one of them is more focused on sampling rosé than on actually finishing what they read.