Oct 19

Too much of anything….

October 19 - information-overload
I think most Democrats and Republicans alike would agree we see far too much of President Obama. He’s here. He’s there. He’s everywhere. As a result, voters tend to suffer from Obama Fatigue. I simply don’t want to see the guy anymore.

Too much of anything is a bad thing, especially for a brand. Case in point: I’m on the e-mail distribution of a certain law firm. Back in the good old, snail mail days, I looked forward to receiving their timely, thought provoking tips, trends and analysis reports.

Now, though, I’m continually bombarded by this very same firm. I must receive a new thought leadership article at least once a week, if not more. At times, I equate the law firm to the Allied invasion fleet and me as the defending German Army hunkering down on the beaches of Normandy as yet another salvo speeds my way.

It’s a shame, because I’m sure the content is relevant and important. But, in an information overload world, too much is, well, too much. I think it’s important for any and all communications to strike the proper balance between ‘just enough’ and Obama Fatigue. As for the law firm’s missives and me, I’ve adopted a Pavlovian response. As soon as I see the incoming article, I reach for the keyboard and hit ‘delete.’

Marketers should be constantly gauging the impact of their communications programs. It’s easy to do and will enable the organization to dial back the frequency and intensity of their outreach. To do otherwise is to court the bane of any communications program: indifference.

Sep 14

Here, there and everywhere

He's here. He's there. He's everywhere.

He, of course, is President Barack Obama. And I, for one, am suffering from Chronic Obama Fatigue Syndrome (C.O.F.S.). Hey, the acronym could be used in his Health Care pitch!

I am sick of seeing this man I admire EVERYWHERE I turn.

September 14 My personal breaking point came Saturday morning with the arrival of the October issue of Men's Health, which is typically adorned with some 20-something hunk's abs of steel. Not this time, though. This time, despite non-stop, wall-to-wall, post-Health Care Speech coverage, who do I see staring back at me from the cover? Barry!!!!!!!

Help! I can't get away. In fact, I feel positively stuck inside a Twilight Zone episode. No matter where I go or where I look, THE ONE is there! Be gone, Barry! Be gone!

Don't get me wrong. I'm into photo ops as much as the next PR guy. So, I naturally cut Barry some slack when he was 'caught' draining three's on the roundball court. And I looked the other way when he drained a pint or two in the Rose Garden with the prof and the policeman. But, ever since his inauguration, it seems that Obama has personified the word 'ubiquitous.'

The man is badly overexposed. Whoever is responsible for managing the Obama brand has done a god-awful job. And, if I'm starting to burn out on Barry so, too, are other erstwhile supporters. While that may not immediately bode ill for '44,' it could wreak havoc on his party in the upcoming midterms.

From an image and reputation standpoint, Obama did everything right in his run for the White House and everything wrong since. In fact, I do believe he's become the Narcissus of politics.

Barry obviously digs being on all 500 cable channels simultaneously, appearing at town hall meetings in hamlets so small ever the locals can't pronounce the name and appearing on the cover of inappropriate national magazines.

W. hibernated his way through eight years in the Oval Office. Perhaps, in response, Obama has decided to rock star his way though his first nine months. I sure hope his ego has been sated though, because if he doesn't stand down soon, he'll be standing down permanently come 2012.

I've contracted a nasty case of C.O.F.S. I know I can recover if given a chance, but I'm less than sanguine that Barry & His Beltway Boys will give me the opportunity.

Jul 01

Will hope once again trump experience?

I just caught a fascinating C-Span retrospective on past presidential elections that raised an interestingBarack_and_mccain question: will the upcoming national election parallel the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon epic?

The similarities are striking.

Both battles featured a Republican candidate who played the ‘experience’ card and a Democratic contender whose message was ‘hope.’

Forty-eight years ago, Richard M. Nixon had just finished two terms as Eisenhower’s vice president, briefly ‘served’ as chief commander while Ike convalesced from a heart attack and famously ‘out-bullied’ Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in the so-called kitchen debate.

Heading into the November election, John McCain can point to decades of service in the Senate, a distinguished military career and a perception of a politician who votes his beliefs as opposed to the party line.

In 1960, JFK was portrayed as an inexperienced lightweight, despite his war record and years of service in both the House and Senate.

Today, Barack Obama finds himself in a similar position, courtesy of the Hillary and McCain propaganda machines.

Nixon and McCain were the safe, experienced candidates. Kennedy and Obama offered hope, and made the case that America could do much, much better than it had in the recent past.

Kennedy won because, in face-to-face confrontations with Nixon, he projected confidence. That image, coupled with his message of hope, carried the day. Obama’s moment of truth will come in face-to-face debates with McCain this Fall.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the upcoming debates will be the most pivotal in recent history. And, it will all come down to which candidate projects the more presidential image. Will hope once again trump experience? Let the games begin. Lights! Camera! Action!

May 14

Ask not who wrote the original draft

Ted Sorenson’s new book, ‘Counselor’ finally confirms what many suspected. He wrote most ‘…first draftsTed_sorensen_kennedy
of chapters’ in ‘Profiles in Courage’ and, along with Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy, authored JFK’s memorable inaugural address.

Sorenson says the significant sum proffered by JFK for contributions to ‘Profile,’ ‘…diminished any interest I might otherwise have had in recognition of my role.’ Hmmm. That must have been some payday.

I’m a huge Camelot fan and continue to read anything and everything I can about JFK, RFK and all things Kennedy. But, this admission is a real image and reputation bummer. It not only confirms that Kennedy wasn’t the intellectual heavyweight many thought he was, but also shines the spotlight on a less-than-honest author.

Beyond his well documented recklessness, womanizing, drug ingesting and other curious lifestyle choices, it seems JFK was also quite content to take credit for someone else’s work.

Despite this latest bombshell, JFK will undoubtedly remain one of our all-time favorite presidents. After all, he’s forever frozen in time as a dashing, daring and direct chief executive who left us much too soon. But, if he hadn’t been assassinated, one wonders what sort of image and reputation he’d enjoy today. I have to believe that, instead of being at or near the top of most ‘favorability polls,’ Jack would find himself listed alongside Franklin Pierce, Warren G. Harding and the current incumbent at the bottom of the barrel.

Dec 10

I agree with Andy Young

Former UN Ambassador, Atlanta Mayor and Civil Rights Leader Andrew Young says he wants BarackAndrew_young
Obama to be president, but not until 2016. Young believes Obama is too much of an outsider and has not built the infrastructure necessary to be a successful chief administrator. As Young put it, ‘you can’t run a government all by yourself.’

I agree. In fact, I tell would-be entrepreneurs the same thing when I lecture at colleges and universities. To be successful in business, one has to build an infrastructure of contacts, content and experience. In most instances, entrepreneurial success is dependent upon who you know, who can open doors for you and who can pave the way. Sure, the blood, sweat and tears are all yours but, in our case, we knew the key agencies, the key media and the key influencers. And they all helped when our turn came.

Obama is a Beltway novice. If he should gain the oval office, I believe he’ll be so stressed in building first-time bridges that he won’t be able to accomplish much of anything. America needs someone who knows the ropes, has an infrastructure in place and can effect change. I’m not saying Hillary’s that person. But, I agree with Andy Young that it sure isn’t Obama.