Influencing public policy, whether in the nation’s capital or on the steps of any statehouse in America, is a complex and demanding endeavor. Government relations professionals and their close colleagues in the business and professional and business association community know this all too well.
One challenge faced by those involved in public policy and advocacy is using limited time and resources as effectively as possible. Here are five reasons why your government relations team should consider ramping up the focus on public policy events today:
1. Politicians are Event-Oriented Professionals
Let’s begin with a simple fact: Elected officials are event-oriented people from the start. Elections are increasingly won through digital engagement and data-driven analytics, but they are also stubbornly and unquestionably in-person affairs. The public demands debates, town hall meetings, community meet-and-greets and endless neighborhood canvassing precisely because they want to see, touch and meet their representatives (whether in person, or by observing these behaviors via television or other media).
The same is true for the issues those representatives address, and this means that producing a live event is an ideal way to engage elected officials because they are familiar with, and believe in, the value of live events themselves.
2. Public Policy Events Connect the Three P’s
A live public policy event allows you to make a direct connection between public policy (your advocacy platform or position), public relations (the use of the event to generate media engagement and attendance that leads to coverage), and public outreach (leveraging the event for digital and traditional outreach to new potential constituents).
Events are able to do this because they lend legitimacy and a sense of the ‘real’ to something that is often esoteric and hard to understand. The impact of rolling back a federal excise tax on medical equipment imports sounds esoteric. Seeing people discuss the issue and its real-world impact, however, makes it real and also creates a sense of urgency for the press. Using live streaming as well as recorded media to distribute the experience makes it personal.
3. Events Leverage Multiple Activities in Unison
Don’t just limit your horizons to the typical “press conference on the capitol steps” when planning your public policy event. Instead, connect the dots for your attendees and stakeholders. Combine a public policy conference, a fly-in or legislative visit day, a business or innovation announcement, and perhaps, even, a demonstration or other public engagement component to bring the message home. It also allows you to showcase the motivation and commitment of those who are activated on your issue(s).
4. Events Position You to Frame the Issue
When you produce an event, you are able to define and position the issue your way. You choose the speakers, you (generally) establish or approve the scripts, and you choreograph the experience. This means that you can create a clear and compelling case for your issue that doesn’t become as easily confused or distorted as it may in other contexts.
5. Events Prove the Presence of the Grassroots
Perhaps the greatest hidden value of public policy events is that they overcome the enormous (and legitimate) public skepticism about the legitimacy of public policy efforts to begin with. In a world overrun by ‘astroturfing’ and general public frustration about the influence and manipulation many interests exert over the political process, nothing can stop negative speculation like a true presentation of grassroots engagement.
Have true, average, issue-motivated people present and then use your grasstops influencers to validate and expand on their message. It’s truly an outstanding time to drive public policy engagement through effective live events that involve public officials, grassroots supporters, grasstops leaders and the full range of stakeholders who can have a voice in support of your position.
Apply Strategic Creative for Event Success
Begin your journey to government and public policy event success with a clearly defined methodology for event execution. One proven model is Strategic Creative, which was developed by the team at TalkingTree Creative, an award-winning Washington DC event production company.
To learn more, please enjoy this three-article series about Strategic Creative:
> How Strategic Creative Leads to Successful Corporate Events [Article 1]
> The Layers of the Experience for Successful Corporate Events [Article 2]
> Showcasing the Power of Strategic Creative in Corporate Events [Article 3]
Learn more about corporate event production in Washington DC by contacting TalkingTree Creative today. Call us at 202-684-2225 or email Craig Weisbaum, President & CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About TalkingTree Creative
Talking Tree Creative is an event production company that creates memorable experiences and lasting impressions on screen, on stage, and online. Headquartered in Washington D.C., TalkingTree Creative serves clients in the corporate, non-profit, association and government sectors as a leader in the event production field, infusing its work with elements of creativity, entertainment and engagement.
For more information, please visit talkingtreecreative.com. Follow TalkingTree Creative on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn to stay up to date with our latest projects. Get a dose of visual inspiration by checking us out on YouTube and Pinterest as well.
Image Credit: gsfc (Flickr @ Creative Commons)