Anthony Scaramucci was planning to turn the White House
press office around before
he was unceremoniously removed from the Trump administration
this week, just 10 days after he was hired.
a draft memo Scaramucci prepared, the former White House
communications director intended to establish several new
protocols to whip an otherwise frenetic communications
team into shape.
Among the proposed changes, Scaramucci sought to establish five
priorities for the press office:
On setting the news agenda, Scaramucci apparently wanted to help
the White House get ahead of the news cycles that have so easily
beset the Trump administration since day one. He also wanted
to stop the communications office from being further
hamstrung by contradictory narratives coming from within the
administration — including from the president himself.
Priority #1 — Improve the Culture
This is the key — everything is possible with a good culture,
nothing is possible without it
a) meet with media members (MSM, conservative media, and new
media), where possible, on their home turf to build bridges and
foster better working relationships. WH should leave old
grudges behind, but never forget.
b) meet with WH and cabinet communication staff to seek
constructive input and convey that good ideas are welcomed
regardless of the source. This should be an ongoing modus
operandi, not an isolated initiative.
c) Implement a series of professionalizing initiatives
immediately. For example, no WH communication staffer goes home
without returning all calls, emails, and texts. People may not
like our answers — but they should always be treated
professionally and respectfully (obviously, this starts with
the new Director of Communications)
d) Recognize good work in a consistent and formal way.
Establish a meritocracy where real contributions to Comms are
recognized. Make it clear that horn tooting and denigrating
colleagues is unacceptable
e) No more threats about leaking and internal game
playing — anyone who takes actions that do not serve the
President will be dismissed — period. We will eliminate the bad
eggs and send a powerful message to the remaining staff that
well-intentioned mistakes are acceptable, but misconduct is
f) Upgrade talent incrementally — prioritize culture. New
communication staffers must make others better/more effective.
We need to be a great team, not a collection of talented
individuals with their own agendas.
g) Reach out and collaborate with Cabinet, Congress, the RNC,
and surrogates and validators throughout the country. People
want to help POTUS succeed, but they need to feel welcomed,
appreciated and empowered. Comms, justifiably or not, has a
reputation as fiefdom that is difficult to work with. We need
to improve the quality and quantity of interactions between
Comms and its various constituents.
Priority #2 — Comms is a Customer Service Operation — POTUS is
the Number One Customer
-before undertaking new and creative initiatives, Comms must
more effectively handle the daily/weekly blocking and tackling
of a WH Comms shop
a) Comms needs to be structurally re-organized to serve its
-a group dedicated to serving as a PR department for POTUS and
his family members. Comms need to humanize POTUS and
burnish his image. For example, POTUS is the best golfer to
serve as President. Perhaps, we embrace it with a national
online lottery to play a round of golf with him….or a charity
auction. POTUS has a funny and irreverent side which was
shared with the electorate during the campaign
-a rapid response group dedicated to handling hot issues/crises
to insure more effective responses while enabling Comms to stay
on point/message and conduct normal operations (i.e. the
Clinton White House Lewinsky model).
-a strategy group to work cooperatively with colleagues
throughout the WH to develop communication strategies and
specific executable plans that are coordinated with Cabinet
officials and the Hill for a select group of important
-Responsibilities need to be clearly defined for certain
important roles — managing relationships with the Hill, Cabinet
comms, and surrogates/validators. Clear structure will provide
better performance and accountability.
b) The media is an important Comms customer
- POTUS can choose to fight with the media, but
Comms can not.
- -Comms should seek to de-escalate tensions with
- -Comms will continue to challenge stories that
are unfair/untrue, but also express appreciation for good and
fair coverage. Comms can be strong without being combative.
- -Comms should establish a constructive “complaint
box” for the media to make complaints. Where possible, Comms
will seek to make changes that make sense. Regardless,
relations with the media will improve if their complaints are
welcomed and considered
- c) Cabinet members and their staff are customers
- -Comms sets the message, but cabinet members will
better serve POTUS if they are supported and treated like
members of POTUS’s team.
- -Comms talent throughout the administration has
been underutilized. This can be remedied by sharing information
freely, soliciting input, treating colleagues professionally,
and coordinated empowerment
- d) Surrogates/validators are important customers.
They need to be serviced, supported, and coordinated better.
- e) All Comms actions/decisions need to be
evaluated through one and only one prism —does it help POTUS.
To this end, I will lead by example and make sure that my
overall conduct, tweets, internal and external comments meet
Priority #3. Make the News — We Go First
a) Execution is everything!!! Diagnosing the problems is easy-
fixing it will be hard work.
-Comms needs to be run like a news channel with producers,
scripts, and narration
-there needs to be clear individual responsibilities,
accountability, and a complete dedication to the
-Comms needs better players at many positions. We will give
existing staff the opportunity to raise their games, but expect
to make changes in a considered, no/low drama way
-Comms should not fix things that aren’t broken; but should
move quickly (without rushing) to fix things the numerous
things that are
-Comms should assess and evaluate all work product and
processes. “This is the way it is done” is not an acceptable
explanation. Communications tactics and strategies should be
evaluated based upon measurable metrics.
-Comms needs to act as a gatekeeper/air traffic controller over
all external communications from the small (i.e. email blasts)
to the large (i.e. cabinet member appearances on Sunday shows).
To do this, Comms must be super responsive. For example,
Cabinet members need to be well-informed, well-prepared, and
fully supported in a timely manner (i.e. not on the morning of
-Comms needs to do a much better job anticipating media
follow-up and reaction. If we say X, they will ask Y. We need
to be prepared for Y. Most Ys are predictable. It is
Comms’ responsibility to be ready with a response and to have
surrogates prepared for the inevitable Ys.
b) the refined Roger Ailes theory- we exercise influence
over the news cycle because POTUS and the government make
news — (i.e. do things on a daily basis that matter). An
effective Comms shop will dictate the news of the day on most
c) Comms must control who gets on the air/talks to the
press….always. We want our people talking to the press. We just
want it to be coordinated and effective. Comms should arm and
empower our people. Comms is a service operation (not the bad
cop)- we want our people to look better/succeed.
d) Comms needs to better explain how POTUS’s actions are
helping Americans. For example, deregulation is an abstract
concept to most voters. We need to illustrate, with real life
examples, how lifting burdensome regulations produces jobs
e) Comms needs to start earlier (chronologically). Tomorrow
will be won today. Tomorrow morning is too late.
f) Every Comms message needs to have a nexus to Make
America Great Again and jobs
g) Comms needs to equip POTUS with opportunities to make many
more positive announcements. The ratio of positive to negative
is out of balance, and the responsibility to correct this lies
with Comms. There are achievements/wins throughout the
government that go unpublicized. Comms should help POTUS
convey a Reaganesque “happy warrior” image by sourcing and
packaging these wins. Comms should study the ratio of “good,”
“neutral,” and “negative” communications from POTUS and help
move the ratio towards the “good.”
h) Comms should use Kellyanne Conway more. She has
consistently been the President’s most effective spokesperson,
and she provides a direct link to the President’s historic
Priority #4 — Fill the Content Void
a) to quote Obama Director of Communications,Dan Pfieffer
[sic], “there is an insatiable appetite for content” and
“traditional news outlets don’t have the resources to produce
the amount of content that the internet requires on a 24/7
-in addition to written word production (i.e. speeches, talking
points, and press releases), the WH should vastly
increases the amount of visual, video, and graphical images
that it produces to communicate our message(s).
-for example, Comms could produce short (3–5 minute) videos
with selected visitors to the WH
b) comms need to identify and engage a broader network of
surrogates/validators to make TV appearances, write op-eds,
etc. The traditional media has a significant (albeit finite)
amount of tonnage. Either we fill it, or they will
c) POTUS should regularly provide op-ed pieces to major
publications. The op-eds will (almost always) produce the story
of the day, and POTUS will be setting the terms of the
discussion. Op-eds provide a vehicle for him to articulate his
policies and ideas in a well-reasoned, thoughtful and
persuasive way. Most Presidents have used op-eds sparingly to
maximize effect. But, the media world has changed, and POTUS
should write frequent op-eds to advance his agenda (and use
adversarial newspapers to his own advantage).
d) People are fascinated by the lives of their Presidents and
the operation of the White House. POTUS is the greatest TV star
in history. Comms should produce video content that
constructively operates as “The President Donald J. Trump”
show. Obama scratched the surface of this. POTUS should take it
to the next level.
e) Rather than traditional press conferences, POTUS should
take questions from real citizens via Facebook live and/or
other social media platforms.
f) Comms should consider a range of ideas including a
modernized fireside chats where POTUS sits with a Cabinet
member (and/or senior government official) to discuss the
relevant issues. Perhaps, Sarah or Kellyanne could act as a
moderator. These videos should have running times of between
g) text polling should be evaluated as a means to produce
engagement. Obviously, the polling topics would need to be
h) find ways to connect POTUS with Presidential history to
capture the importance, power, and grandeur of the office.
Perhaps, Comms could produce “this day in Presidential history”
-There is an inherent challenge in flooding the zone with
content while broadcasting a focused message. However, the
audience and mediums for each objective are quite different.
For traditional media outlets, Comms needs to do a considerably
better job at producing a focused daily message that is
reinforced and coordinated throughout the day.
Priority #5 — Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
a) “it’s the economy stupid” should be “it’s the Trump
economy.” The media (and the voters) will make POTUS own the
economy (which is doing very well) if it goes the other way, so
he should own it now. Comms needs to emphasis the economy early
b) The message should be that businesses are investing more and
creating more jobs because they have confidence. The source of
their confidence is the election of a successful businessman to
the Presidency. Obama bred uncertainty amongst the business
community. Trump breeds confidence. Confidence=more jobs. Would
the stock market have galloped from election day to year end
2016 if HRC had won? Of course, not.
c) Comms will coordinate with Commerce, Treasury, State, etc to
identify a steady stream of examples of the Trump
administration providing support to small and medium size
businesses. POTUS can take credit and publicize these wins (big
and small) while complimenting the great work of people in
d) Every positive piece of economic data needs to echo
throughout the Comms eco-system, and Comms needs to find ways
to connect positive economic data to real people. The growth in
new jobs is life changing for every day Americans. Comms needs
to bring a spotlight to these people/stories
e) When the media or Democrats attack POTUS, Comms should pivot
to the economy. For example, real Americans do not care about
palace intrigue in the White House. POTUS is leading and
fostering an economy that makes their lives better. That’s what
real people care about.
Source link : http://www.businessinsider.com/anthony-scaramucci-white-house-communications-plan-2017-8
Publish date : 2 August 2017 | 11:17 pm