Tip O'Neill, former Speaker of the House of Representatives
If you want to see a great study in the evolution of communications, you need only to look at the world of politics. After all, it's critical for campaign managers to reach out to the electorate to motivate their supporters to head to the polls on election day.
Since the 2016 election cycle is ramping up, now is a good time to take a look back to see how people have effectively used the different media available to them.
|James Polk's campaign handbill|
|President Herbert Hoover campaigning from the back of his presidential train|
|FDR conducts one of his fireside chats from the Oval Office|
After World War II, television became the next big thing. Now, not only could people hear or read about the candidates, they could also see them. That was a big step forward, because studies have shown that the words we choose convey only 7% of the message we communicate. The rest comes from the tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. Dwight Eisenhower was the first candidate to use television ads for his campaign, to great effect. Lyndon Johnson would later use one of the first negative ads to great effect against his opponent Barry Goldwater.
|Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign website|
|Barack Obama's 2008 Facebook page|
Who knows what communications outreach tools will help win elections in the years to come. But, one thing is certain, a wise Public Information Officer will take the time to study how people whose mission to communicate effectively with a wide number of residents accomplish their task and apply that knowledge to their communications plans.