Trump vs. Clinton: The Power of Public Relations

Trump vs. Clinton: The Power of Public Relations

Regardless of your opinion about Donald Trump and his bid to become the next US President, his campaign style and approach show the undeniable power of public relations (PR) and the cost savings that can be achieved through a PR versus a traditional advertising approach to getting attention.

While you or your company are not Donald Trump, and you should never try to get away with some of his tactics in an attempt to get attention, it's hard to deny the fact that he is good at getting a message out without paying for it.

Clinton, who is running a very traditional campaign, has spent approximately $57 million, as of mid-June 2016, on election advertising - $25 million from the campaign itself and another $32 million from pro-Clinton Super PACs. Comparatively, Team Trump has aired $3.6 million in ads, with all spending coming from outside groups. Interestingly, the news I've read around these numbers positions this as Clinton's advertising "advantage" compared to Trump – not a surprising assertion from organizations that rely on revenue from advertising to stay in business. But, I disagree, it isn't necessarily an advantage at all.

Next time you have 30 free minutes, turn on CNN to see for yourself – the correspondents spend countless hours during their programs talking about Trump and every aspect of his campaign – Clinton comes up during the commercial breaks through paid ads when you are up making toast or feeding the dogs.

Can you tell me what Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan is without looking it up?

Do you know what Trump's is?

I am willing to bet that far more Americans (and even Canadians) know that Trump wants to Make America Great Again – but might struggle looking for the common words and key messages from the Clinton campaign.

Whether you like Trump's message or not, it provides an excellent illustration of the difference between utilizing public relations to get a message out versus using traditional marketing. And, in my opinion, It shows that impressive costs savings can be achieved using the former.

So if your next initiative is about getting the word out – think about the power of PR before you start spending money on advertising. Want to learn more about the power of PR? Contact us to set up a conversation to see if it is the right tactic for your next campaign.

- Peter Pilarski, CIPR Vice President