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Monday, July 23, 2007

Several websites and blogs report on the John Edwards campaign. This image is from

Politics and business

Paul Herring of Spry Construction in Baton Rouge, LA has observed an interesting and effective association between political volunteerism and marketing.

"I did something tonight that was a marketing activity that I did not see coming," he wrote to me. "My wife is politically active and I (am too) to a lesser degree. She had organized the welcoming party for former U.S. Senator John Edwards when he arrived in our home town tonight to give a keynote address at a large function.
"Among about 70 people who were waiting for the Senator to arrive tonight, we had some discussions about political issues of all sorts," Herring writes. "My profession and business came up in conversation and I ended up staying an hour after the event because people were running me down to talk to me about what we do and how they might contact me.

"I would never really put my politics into my work ...but I realized something . . . Like minded people politically would naturally be attracted to working with a contractor who was like minded. So although this did not start as a marketing opportunity it did indeed end up as a very good one!

"I am sure this thought has hit someone else . . . but it i s a little new to me. It makes me wonder about how I can present myself among those with 'like minds' more often."

Herring's observations are both interesting and important. I think he succeeded here largely because of his wife's (and his) central role in organizing the event -- this put them at the centre of the 'universe' and near the top of the influence hierarchy -- especially among committed Edwards supporters.

I've seen how other businesses link politics, celebrity, and their enterprise to create positive publicity and more importantly positive links between their business and potential clients. The risk of course of doing this is being seen as insincere or overly direct. It isn't a quick hit (though the results can be like that at the key moment).

Voluntary and community service leadership, regardless of the politics, are powerful marketing resources. Plugging into the U.S. presidential election -- in a city very much in the news -- is effectively a marketing home run. If John Edwards wins the presidency, things will go to an entirely different level.

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