7 keys to winning the Presidency

It's been over four weeks since my last post, and where does the time fly? Since that time, we've been hard at work doing, what else? Seminars and consulting on communications strategies and skills, that's what! 

In between, Laura and I slipped a quick working visit into Washington for a great dinner for IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde hosted by the French Ambassador, Francois Delattre and his equally impressive wife Sophie. 

Besides the charismatic Mrs. Lagarde (left) - who gave an inspiring speech -there were all kinds of interesting folks from the world of media (Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews); the world of writing and punditry (Peggy Noonan, David Frum, Sally Quinn); politics (former Secretary of Defense William Cohen); and the judiciary (Justice Sonia Sotomayer). We also re-connected with some old friends from days gone by.
 Lots of buzz and gossip about the election, of course. Which leads me to this week's blog topic:
7 keys to winning the Presidency
With four months left to go until America chooses a President, much has been written on the Presidential race. Here are 7 keys to determining the winner:
1. A clear narrative that connects with the swing voter. What is that narrative? It is founded on who do you believe gets what Americans are going through. Millions of middle class voters without work; millions of homes either foreclosed upon or about to be; many millions more on food stamps. I could go on, but do Americans believe - either Obama or Romney - has the character to follow through on his word? Right now, there's a big gap in favor of Obama on that. The Obama campaign is defining Romney, but the Romney campaign has not strongly countered the negative labels. However, the Obama campaign shows signs of overkill, which can come across as class warfare. Advantage Obama. But it's by no means a done deal.
2. A believable economic plan to grow the economy, put people back to work and restore American pride. Through the 'noise' one hears cries of 'jobs', attacks on the other guy etc. Too close to call.
3. A coherent strategy - in which the earned media matches the paid media. President Obama is in pure campaign mode - with a structured photo opportunity that reinforces the message of the day. Romney is photographed with his luxurious speedboat on vacation, while Obama is photographed with workers, seniors and other target voters pitching his re-election message. Advantage Obama.
4. Massive fund raising - the magic elixir of politics. In recent months, Romney has pulled ahead of Obama, with no sign of slowing down. This could be a crucial difference in paid media and campaign organization. Advantage Romney.
5. A strong media campaign - including earned media, social media and advertising - that pulls together the message of the campaign, the photos, videos, fundraising and really engages the voters. From what I can see neither has emerged as a clear winner to date on that front.
6. Develop momentum. So critical in all winning campaigns, but so far both candidates have had several weeks of positive news, only to be tripped up for the next several weeks and so on. Right now, after a strong May and early June, the momentum has shifted back to Obama - triggered by the Supreme Court's ruling on 'Obamacare' and the Romney campaign's muddled response.   Too close to call.
7. Focus on the 'battleground' swing states. In as tight an election as this promises to be, the swing states will be the most important factor in determining the electoral college votes, and therefore, the Presidency.  As of now, the swing states are: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. Take a guess: from which state will Mitt Romney choose his Vice Presidential running mate? These states will require a careful, ongoing analysis. Here is an interactive graphic map by the LA Times that is worth downloading: 2012 Swing States Electoral Map

Enbridge's Response to the Michigan Oil Spill
How does a company respond when they are heavily criticized in a regulatory report? I shared some of my thoughts - along with a few other consultants - in this Vancouver Sun story:
Enbridge brand can be repaired, say analysts

The Harper Government's Report Card
Recently, I spent an entire week of appearances on CTV's PowerPlay with Don Martin - in which Parliamentary Bureau Chief Bob Fife (along with Mercedes Stephenson) and I gave a report card on key Cabinet Ministers, as well as the Prime Minister. Of course, all of this was in anticipation of the Cabinet Shuffle that Wasn't. The premise was that, with the Harper government's gradual slide in the polls below the NDP's level of support, that the Prime Minister would have to shake up his Cabinet to put a 'fresh face' on his government. Well, as Mr. Harper has done many times, he confounded the pundits by refusing to do so. And guess what? It's worked for him before, so it may well work again. Just for the record, I gave him an A-.
Here are two of those broadcast items:
  We analyze ministerial performances of Ministers Bev Oda & John Duncan
  We analyze Ministers Lisa Raitt, Joe Oliver, and Prime Minister Harper

Until next time.....

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