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How Can Companies Strengthen their Reputation and Build Leadership in the U.S. during the Presidential Election Year?

April 29, 2024
By Yvonne Park and Ron Boehmer

While many organizations are focused on the 2024 election and the expected outcomes, the next six months are critical in preparing for a range of scenarios. FleishmanHillard is working with companies in Korea and around the world to analyze their businesses and industries, identifying threats and seeking opportunities. With politics shaping the future of business, finance and trade, companies must do all they can to be prepared for a changing political and regulatory environment. Engaging in – and investing in – public affairs is critical to building relationships, strengthening reputations and helping ensure successful outcomes.

On April 26, a special session was held at George Washington University, co-hosted by the Washington branch of the Korea Trade Association and FleishmanHillard. The event focused on the communication strategies of Korean companies in Washington DC, ahead of the election. Panelists included James Rhee, author of the bestselling book “red helicopter”; Dr. Hyun-jung Je, Chief Representative of the KITA DC office; Yvonne Park, President of FleishmanHillard Korea; Ron Boehmer, Vice President of FleishmanHillard D.C.; Kevin Lawlor, Chief Political Affairs Officer at DDC Public Affairs; and Prof. Kichan Kim, Co-chair of the GW Global Korean Entrepreneurship Forum.

Here are the key takeaways from the discussion regarding actions Korean companies – and, by extension, global companies operating in the United States – should take in the months ahead:

  • Companies should conduct thorough analyses of their businesses and industries over the next several months to prepare for any election outcome. This period of demographic, social, and political change in the United States presents a unique opportunity for companies to showcase their businesses and products, and to connect intimately with consumers, advocates and policymakers at all levels.
  • Korean companies should understand how their brands and industries are perceived by foreign governments, especially in the United States, and anticipate potential actions by the next Administration or Congress.
  • It is crucial to recognize the influence of external forces, such as labor unions, the media, and academia on the business and political landscape.
  • Corporate communications professionals should focus on communicating their company’s values and aligning them with ideals that appeal to broad demographic groups.
  • Engaging at the state level with local stakeholders and forming alliances can effectively communicate a company’s value proposition to individual communities, highlighting a commitment to and investment in key areas.
  • Developing thought leadership on pertinent issues, not just products, can position company spokespeople as respected experts, creating a halo effect for their products and services.
  • Korean companies should creatively articulate their narrative to resonate with U.S. stakeholders by integrating business success factors with entertainment elements.

At FleishmanHillard, we collaborate with many partners – including in-house communications and marketing teams, government relations firms, legal counsel and others to ensure that strategies are aligned and companies are optimally positioned for success.