5 great PR lessons we can learn from President Barack Obama

5 great PR lessons we can learn from President Barack Obama

On Tuesday, a CNN/ORC poll showed that President Barack Obama’s approval ratings were up to 50 percent, the highest they have been in two years. What has Obama done recently that has changed his image in the United States?


1) Showing acceptance

The White House lit up with rainbow colors to symbolize the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

The White House lit up with rainbow colors to symbolize the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage. (blogs.mprnews.org)

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is now protected under the Constitution.


President Obama gave a speech after the ruling in support of the court’s decision. “This ruling will strengthen our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land,” said Obama.


At the beginning of his first term, Obama wasn’t in support of gay marriage. His changing views have been showcased throughout his second term, and with this speech he has truly shown his acceptance.



2) Being authentic

Showing that you are authentic can be appealing to many people. There are many that believe there is a severe lack of politicians that show this trait.


On Friday, Obama traveled to Charleston to deliver a eulogy to Pastor Clementa Pinckney, victim of the Charleston church shooting. The president surprised many at the end of his eulogy when he led everyone in song. It isn’t common for a president to sing following a speech, but Obama didn’t let that stop him from singing the emotional “Amazing Grace.”



This surprising turn of events showed a new side to President Obama.


3) Creating a dialogue about racism  

In June, Obama was a guest on comedian Marc Maron’s podcast. During the interview, he spoke about systemic racism and boldly said “nigger” while discussing the issue. Using this ethnic slur would normally be a bad public relations move.



Obama’s use of the word “nigger” was said as an expository statement rather than a discriminatory one, as shown in the above video.  Many believed that Obama hadn’t been very outspoken on race related issues while in office, but this statement helped change that.


Obama’s honest and bold statements on these important issues ended up helping his image in the end.


4) Promoting humanitarianism  

In June, the Supreme Court saved the Affordable Care Act, that treats health care as a right rather than a privilege. Obama gave a speech on the importance of altruism, following the Supreme Court’s decision.


“That’s when America soars, when we look out for one another and we take care of each other, when we root for one another’s success, when we strive to do better and to be better than the generation that came before us and try to build something better for generations to come.”


Giving a speech about the importance of looking out for one another is a great public relations move.


5) Mending broken relationships

On Wednesday, Obama announced that the United States and Cuba will be opening embassies in each other’s capitals. With the many years of tension built between the two countries, this is an international relations move that can bring the two nations back together.


“The progress we make today is another demonstration we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past,” said Obama during his announcement. By closing the gap between these two countries, Obama was able to generate a better image for himself in both the United States and Cuba.


President Obama may not be able to run for re-election, but that isn’t stopping him from making public relations moves that have been doing wonders for his approval ratings.


What do you think is most responsible for President Barack Obama’s increased approval ratings? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.

Devon Karbowski

Devon Karbowski graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2015. He received a BA in Writing Studies with an emphasis in Professional Writing and a minor in Philosophy. Currently, he is using his degree to pursue a career in freelance writing, proposal writing and social media management. The focal point of his MUI PR articles will involve public relations related topics.

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