President Obama launched his PR campaign this month to raise public awareness of the danger imposed by the impending ‘fiscal cliff’, educating and empowering Americans on the issue to put pressure on Congress to approve legislation to stop it.

In essence, the fiscal cliff is a convergence of tax increases on the middle class scheduled to coincide with significant government spending cuts at the end of the year, which, if allowed to occur, could send the economy into a tailspin.

The importance of an educational campaign

An educational campaign is different from selling a product or company. It is truly selling an idea, getting across a clear message to an uninformed or partially informed audience. In this case, it is important to remember that perception isn’t always a reality and that starts with the need for education.

An educational campaign must be a delicate balance between emotions and facts, and that is not your typical PR campaign. When running an educational PR campaign you have to approach it differently – understand your audience, the pain points, the solutions available and the emotional chords to strike on the road to understanding.

The power of an educational campaign comes from the ability it has to empower individuals to make more informed choices.

And, the educational component of President Obama’s campaign is proving to be quite powerful. In a recent visit to a Pennsylvania Toy factory, President Obama warned that it would be a “Scrooge” Christmas if Congress does not pass legislation to extend the tax cuts received by 98% of Americans, and it is the visibility of this issue that is driving all other aspects of the campaign.

Of course, there is a social media aspect to the campaign. The goal is to mobilize Americans to take action once educated to put pressure on Congress to come to a consensus, tagging messages of this type with the hashtag #my2k.

President Obama’s educational campaign message shows an understanding of the American audience, gearing up for the holidays during difficult economic times with the looming possibility of tax increases if Congress does not act. He has painted a picture of the fiscal cliff in terms that they can understand and act upon… so that “Scrooge” does not ruin Christmas.

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