Differences between national political campaigns and corporate or public affairs campaigns are slim these days.
That’s according to Iowa native Dave DenHerder, who is settling into his new role as a partner with FP1 Strategies this week after finishing nine years at Burson-Marsteller, including his most recent position as the U.S. CEO of the firm.
“The landscape of communications, be it political communications or corporate communications is changing,” DenHerder said in a phone interview Tuesday — his first day with FP1 Strategies — before catching a flight to London. “If you think about the way that corporations or businesses are running their communications, it is very similar to the way you run a presidential campaign.”
His experience bolsters his opinion.
In 2000, DenHerder worked as the Iowa political director for the Bush-Cheney campaign. He worked again on the next Bush-Cheney ticket in 2004 when he was the regional political director, working on West Virginia, Michigan and Ohio (which he said was probably his most important responsibility on that campaign).
Between those campaigns, he worked as a White House liaison for Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.
After 2004 he moved on to the private sector when he went on to work at Direct Impact, a grassroots firm owned by Burson-Marsteller.
“I think I have pretty differentiated skills that are uniquely fitting with FP1 Strategies,” DenHerder said. “I was on two political campaigns, then I went to the private sector working for a grassroots firm, then I led one of the world’s largest PR firms … My plan is to sort of balance all those together in FP1.”
DenHerder thinks that the digital strategy has to be solid for a successful campaign these days, something he plans on keeping in mind.
"For anything of any particular size, you’re going to have a national campaign but you have to have that local outreach ... word of mouth campaign,” he said. “I say that as both online and offline. The digital is changing everything, it’s not just face-to-face grassroots, but it’s online mobilization [too]."
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