Government policies and regulations are bound to affect your business, no matter what industry you are in. This is why every company should have a team dedicated solely to understanding the various government structures that may affect them.
PR and government relations teams often need to work hand-in-hand for a variety of issues. Public relations is essential in developing a positive rapport with not only the public, but other stakeholders such as the media. One of these stakeholders should be the government. However, many PR strategies completely fail to take into account how government relations have the potential to play a crucial role in a company’s business
With an excellent government and public relations strategy in its arsenal, a company can access new key opinion leaders (KOLs), media coverage, strategic partnerships and business ventures. But how does a company accomplish all this? Allow us to tell you how
What is government relations and what does it entail?
A government relations professional analyses policies, develops strategies with a focus on public policies, and finds ways for governments and companies to work together in harmony. Basically, government relations entails education and communication. When your company needs to understand complicated matters such as laws, legislation, policies and regulations that affect your business, the government also needs to be filled in about your company’s area of operations, expertise, and future plans.
Navigating the local government system isn’t always easy. There is even a possibility that in your attempts to establish such a relationship, you would be ignored by government groups. However, with a team dedicated to dealing with the government, companies can get a foot in the door and start working with public officials to realise their business goals.
Here’s how companies can start building government relations:
Identify key stakeholders and do your research
Start familiarising yourself with all the relevant government players in your area, locality, state or district. Find out what they do, the unique portfolios they hold, and how they could be key to your business. Know more about your local ministers, members of parliament, and department head.
Dive headfirst into the relevant policies, regulations, media reports and nitty-gritty details of the people you need to work with. Don’t get in touch with officials unless you have done your homework.
Establish contact and keep in touch
Start with an introduction of yourself, your company and your business proposal. Do everything in your power to impress and charm them – come armed with tons of research, convincing arguments, and well-crafted material. Also consider invited them to a tour of your office, or take them out to lunch.
Don’t be discouraged if the public officials are slow in getting back to you or seem to ignore you – they are busy people, and are probably dealing with more pressing issues than your business proposal. Send them up a follow-up email, or pay them an in-person visit. If that doesn’t pan out, either try to contact their personal assistant to arrange another meeting or reach out to another relevant official instead.
Strike when the iron is hot
Timing is crucial. Avoid trying to contact government officials during their crunch time, which happens to be ahead of the national Budget tabling, party elections, by-elections, or public holidays. If you carefully plan when to send out your initial and follow-up email, you might get a response.
Continue to build your relationship
The work doesn’t stop after you make contact with government officials – that’s where the work begins. The next step, which also happens to be the hardest part – is nurturing and sustaining that relationship. Always remind the government officials about your business progress so you are at the top of their minds. Be consistent in keeping in touch – send them newsletters, periodicals, and invite them to your business functions.
Stay on top of new developments
Be on the lookout for relevant news or issues involving your project or campaign. Cabinet reshuffles, portfolio reassignments and internal changes are major changes which can affect your business and project for better or worse. Watch out for ministers endorsing or condemning certain activities and policies. It’s good to be aware of the official stance on current affairs and topics, and can inform the way you approach government relations as a whole.
Looking for help building your company’s government relations? Contact us at email@example.com, we’ve got your back.