The Evolution Of Public Affairs

A couple years ago the New York Times published a story titled “The Unlobbyist” and the premise of the article is that the most effective lobbying efforts are those that work the front lines – steaks and handshakes, walking the halls, working through the committees and rules of the House and Senate… AND simultaneously work their issues at the local level and with the media. The grassroots and communications/brand building side of lobbying has reached equal importance now and with digital media ever more prominent this trend will not reverse.

The Washington Post recently wrote (link to article on our website) about the evolution of association lobbying – telling the story of their members at the local level to make them more effective for their members in Washington (or Texas). These efforts have dual impact – building a more loyal membership base for the association by showing its members the value of their investment in the organization and it’s a terrific recruiting tool by which they can grow their association and therefore their effectiveness on the Hill.

JHL was proud to be a part of the team involved in one of the biggest fights last session in Texas. In this case, it was family owned, community building business (David) v. the newest, coolest, sexiest trendy company (Goliath). By all accounts Goliath had the upper hand – big money being thrown around, a news media darling, an expensive and high powered lobby team… but at the end of the day “David” prevailed. Why?

First, the lobby team working for the family owned businesses is an incredibly effective team. Second, because JHL was engaged to do something few associations have the vision to do - support that lobby team with a strategic and thoughtful public affairs effort reaching into grassroots and grasstops leaders and targeted media in Texas communities. We worked to build a brand around the issue and educated the community leaders about the fight and the potential impact to their community. Then we engaged their support when it was needed and allowed the local leaders to take control of the advocacy to their legislators. We communicated and kept communicating. Kept brand building around the issue – leading into last session and throughout.

The world is changing with information (or mis information) readily available on every phone every minute of every day. Who is protecting your brand and building your message?