Public affairs matters greatly. We can describe it as a culmination of efforts that organizations make to organize, engage and track their external business processes. We can also define public affairs as the relationships of an organization with its stakeholders.
An organization or company has to deal with a number of groups or individuals throughout its tenure for its operations. These groups or individuals are those with vested interests in the organization’s affairs. They include:
- civil servants,
- politicians( including MEPs, MLAs, AMs and MSPs etc)
- local communities
- Think tanks
- Trade associations
- Business groups etc.
Public Affairs- What it does
Many question the importance of public affairs for an organization. The simple truth is that public affairs is of exceptional value for any business because it engages the stakeholders who are crucial to the business.
Public affairs undertakes the responsibility of explaining the organizational policies to the stakeholders, expressing views to them on public policy issues. It also plays a significant role in assisting legislators and policy makers in laying down or amending better legislation and policies for the company.
Public affairs personnel use factual information and provide statistical data to lobby on issues that largely impact the organization’s operational ability and success. Those who’re aware of lobbying and its important will know that it is an important political function.
Part of the primary responsibilities of a company’s public affairs department is to express the views of the stakeholders to the policy makers. By doing so, they manage to bring about the development of a more refined and beneficial legislation.
There are various kinds of functions that a public affairs department performs for a company. These include a combination of:
- media communications
- government relations
- social and corporate responsibility
- issue management
- strategic communication advice and
- information dissemination
All of the efforts of public affairs professionals aim to influence public policy discover common interests with stakeholders and establish cordial and strong relations. In turn, it helps establish a powerful and unbeatable reputation for the company they’re serving.
Every organization that prioritizes its interests always strives to establish a powerful public affairs strategy. The focus remains on the ability of succeeding in work for nonprofits, trade associations and corporations, all which revolves around the policy at local, state and federal levels.
Public Affairs- Why a Company Needs it
If a company wishes to harvest and reap tremendous business results, it must have a public affairs team in it. This team would always play a crucial role in influencing the policy landscape that will boost the public perception and profile of a company.
Many company owners commit the mistake of looking public affairs as a cost centre, when in truth it really is a profit centre. With a solid public affairs strategy in hand, a company can develop meaningful and rewarding relationships with the government and all other resourceful influencers.
It is important to have such connections if organizations wish to sway public decision-makers. All the campaigns that have a major affect on all aspect of public life depend largely on the support of public affairs. It can be anything and everything, from automobile retailers pushing for lower duties on cars to campaigns for animal charities and more.
What many companies still fail to realize is that public affairs is a powerful arm of communication and befitting to invest in. Because of the absence of this vital awareness, they do not invest in a public affairs team and lack a solid communication plan.
If only businesses would realize that there are not one but several critical reasons why public affairs deserves to be a key part of their business strategy.
Public Affairs- Brings Change from the Top Down
Public affairs is extremely important because it is that one tool that can help you achieve your business goal. Regardless of what your business wants to achieve, the best approach is to try and cause a change from the very top all the way till the lowest tier.
For example, if you a retailer who has suffered greatly because of the humungous increase in tax on the sale of food items, what would be the best approach? We tell you, the best approach will be the one to make a case against the government that has caused the tax increase in the first place. The best approach would not be to practice compensatory measures later since the damage would still exist at the roots.
Influencing the government in the first place will help not just your business but others as well to prevent problems even before they materialize. And who can influence the government at top level? Yes, you guessed it right: your public affairs team can!
When a competent public affairs team can forestall problems before they take shape and implement a solution and change proactively, it makes for long-term effective use of budget. This would your business to conduct its operations more optimally and easily. Who plays the most vital role in this long-term benefit for the company? The public affairs personnel of course!
Public Affairs- Builds Good PR
In case you still doubt the importance of public affairs for your company, you’d find it pleasing to note that it builds great PR. If your public affairs team is influential, insightful and informed, it will maximize your chances for influencing the government into making regulatory changes for your benefit. Moreover, the same public affairs will also become a critical component for your public relations strategy.
A healthy and competitive public affairs department can make a huge contribution to the success of an organization and also to public life. Public affairs personnel have important data, influencing skills and other valuable assets that help government and public bodies make important decisions.
While many look at political lobbying as a negative thing, the fact is that this same practice of public affairs enlightens decision makers on existing issues. It also prompts them into taking action and resolving issues, which we can easily define as public service. This very act of public affairs does many positive things, including saving jobs, improving health and business outcomes.
There is one simple fact of public affairs: if a business works alongside the governments, it emerges as the breadwinner in the long term.