Empathy, accessibility & authenticity and their impact on both the US Elections and PR

What the us elections can learn us about pr

Launching Talking Birds Public Relations on the day that Donald Trump got elected as president of the US feels a bit bizarre. I was really with her. Meeting Hillary Clinton and getting the opportunity to talk to her about climate change and the financial crisis in 2009 has changed my life and has inspired me in many things I did.


From another perspective, these elections confirm that the main values I want to base Talking Birds Public Relations upon, are spot on. I believe that the key values for both PR as well as politics are empathy, accessibility and authenticity.



It’s all about being able to get a good feel of your audience. There’s more than polls: what is crucial is the deep understanding of what people feel and want. It’s being able to see beyond the numbers and the data when defining your vision and strategy. Use, but don’t blindly trust your intuition. Try to ‘live’ the people you want to address. If this result learns us one thing, it’s that Donald Trump was just better in doing this.


I see accessibility not only as offering services that are affordable to companies and organizations, but also realizing that communication is all about translating your message in a comprehensive way. Although clearly offending and populist, Trump knows how to tell a comprehensive story. I do not agree most of his vision but he excelled in addressing his audience.



When I met Clinton in 2009, I genuinely found her an authentic politician. And in a way, I still do. People will always follow, listen and vote for people they believe to be genuine, and so do I. Realizing that an important majority of the people in the US doesn’t agree with me in my appreciation of Hillary Clinton shows just how easy it is to be biased and that extrapolating your own (culturally biased) views to a broad audience is a risky starting point.


Bram Boriau

Talking Birds Manager

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Commentaren: 1
  • #1

    Thierry Deligne (dinsdag, 15 november 2016 07:04)

    Good analysis Bram, we, as Europeans will never fully understand how US people are convinced to vote for or against something. The biggest problem over there is that you only have 2 choices.. and when 1 is not good in their (or the media 's eyes) they will choose for the other party. Unfortunately this division was also the reason why Obama was not able to deploy his original ideas, because a few months after his election, the parlement and senate switched to the opposition.. so he was the "bad" guy at the end.. The 3 qualities you explained are indeed a good analysis to explain the surprises we experience every day. It is not because that you have a long experience in politics, that you can convince ordinary people... The same applies in a lot of organisations; only the best managers can move things and people forward.