Firm News

What to Consider When Launching a Public Affairs Campaign

June 22, 2017

The 45th President of the United States of America Donald Trump will soon be reaching his first half-year in office. Since the inauguration, many Executive Orders have been issued, various investigations, committee hearings and events have occurred in Washington, D.C., but in terms of legislation being passed, not much has happened.

In the near future, we expect high profile debates on super-charged topics such as health care and immigration, but there are countless issues facing the nation and thousands of worthy causes that deserve the attention of the American public, Administration, Senate and House of Representatives. With the attention of the media and citizens focused on the story or issue of the day, how can those pushing their well-intentioned causes cut through the Congressional clutter and make it count when they get their day in D.C.?

Here are a few items to consider when launching a public affairs campaign, whether you’re taking the fight to our nation’s capital, your state’s legislature or your city council:

  • Build a diverse coalition – The more diverse the coalition of the cause’s supporters, the wider net you can cast to those you are seeking to educate, whether lawmakers or citizens. Diversity in industry, demographic, etc. will portray that supporters from different walks of life, cause or business are coming together to get behind something important to a range of people.
  • Define your target audience – This may sound like a no-brainer should you want to get legislation passed to benefit your cause – lawmakers. However, it is important to also determine who may help carry your message across to certain citizen demographics, businesses or non-profit/non-governmental organizations that are not only interested in the issue, but can also provide support in spreading the message of the cause.
  • Ensure an immediate connection between lawmakers and constituents for the greater good – Lawmakers have various reporters, constituents and groups communicating with them, as well as their staffs, on a daily basis. In order to stand out, you have to be able to easily connect your cause to the benefit of their constituency, whether for health, safety, educational, preservation and/or economic purposes, and shift the issue from a “would be good” to a “need to” have.
  • Be wise with your words – Simplifying your message and then keeping it consistent is key. First, determine the words that you never want to use in outreach, then simplify your message with those good keywords that will resonate with your target audiences. Many legislative issues tend to be confusing for those who are not the policy wonks. Ensure that Jane and John Q. Public can easily understand what you are fighting for and how it affects them and do not divert from the message.

Ryan Evans is a Managing Supervisor at Bond Moroch.

Photo Credit: "Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC 2.0