Thought Leadership, Mobile Networking, and Comfortable Shoes
Posted on January 30, 2012
Engaging at the 2012 Political Conventions
As the 2012 election marches on, the focus will increasingly turn to the Republican and Democratic Political Conventions scheduled for late August/early September. While frequently cast as political “parties,” my experience attending numerous of these events is that they are actually serious business opportunities and should be planned for accordingly.
If you have a public affairs agenda, there is no better time than the Conventions to engage with policymakers and thought leaders to advance your positions and highlight your reputation. As you plan your strategy for engaging at the conventions, there are several things to consider to best maximize your company’s impact.
Be Relevant to the National Conversation
This year’s conventions, to be held in Tampa and Charlotte, may bring together representatives from different ends of the ideological spectrum. But there will be one common topic of conversation – creating American jobs. Tailoring your message and activities to this national conversation is essential. Whether you are primarily interested in education, financial services, energy, trade, immigration or any other of the many issues that face elected officials, how your proposed agenda can support job creation will be critical to address.
Demonstrate Your Values
Finding ways to build visibility for your brand at the convention are limitless. From the airport to the front steps of the Convention halls, there are thousands of opportunities to get your name in front of the people who are attending the convention. But consider making the investment in a more meaningful engagement with convention-goers. Thought leadership discussions and keynoted hospitality events are a more strategic way to connect with your stakeholders. Consider demonstrating your commitment to community service and citizenship through volunteer or philanthropic activities. These serve the dual role of providing opportunities to bring employees into your activities while highlighting your organization’s values.
Go Mobile or Go Home
While the traditional media are in force at Conventions, online and social media allow the opportunity to promote your public affairs agenda well beyond Tampa and Charlotte. As we began to see in 2008, blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook will be active with conversation and sharing. Monitoring these platforms as well as engaging in a way that aligns with your overall communications strategy will allow you to have an appropriate place in that conversation.
One final thought. Conventions are networking on steroids – there is no better time to re-connect with colleagues, meet new people and advance your agenda. Take it from a Convention veteran – wear comfortable shoes.