Across the globe, public affairs campaigns have risen both in number and impact. And these are initiated by various parties such as governments, non-governmental agencies, companies, specialist interest groups, and social activists. The purpose behind these is to influence the public stance on various socio-economic issues. Additionally, it can help stir up a challenge against the status quo as well. A public affairs campaign can serve as a lobby for bringing out a change or revolution in the regulations and laws.
Public Affairs Campaign in the Internet era
While the purpose of a public affairs campaign, more or less, has remained the same, the visibility has tremendously increased. Thanks to the advanced technological innovations, organizations find it easier today to create ‘movements’ to support their objectives. The digital disruption has led to campaigns achieving an incredible following in such short time spans that it is almost unfathomable. To give you an example, the renowned show on Netflix, Money Heist, has such an acidly satirical and evocative tune that it helped create the lyrics for a social movement in various continents. Such is the power of the Internet!
The modus operandi of public affairs campaigns
Public Affairs campaigns can either take the mass outreach initiative or a targeted approach. However, the difference is that public affairs campaigns are adaptable and often upscaled on the global front. The campaign itself tends to be more ‘localized’ as the purpose is to address the political and social landscape. Come to think of it, public affairs campaigns are one way of getting by with the slogan, ‘Think global, act local’.
Perspective strategies for public affairs campaigns – The 5D Approach
The first step is to scour the ground realities before embarking on public affairs campaigns. So do your research – primary and secondary – and due diligence. It is a must for kickstarting the process. The reason is delving deeper into ground realities will expose you to the political, economic and socio-cultural nuances. That is, it helps set the tone and the context. Let us say that a particular company wants to educate people and raise awareness levels of sexually transmitted diseases through a media campaign. ‘Sex’ is a taboo subject in several regions, especially conservative countries. To go ahead with the campaign, getting a stronghold of the cultural and religious sensitivities is paramount. If not then, you will be at the receiving end of backlash and nasty blows.
Goals and achievements begin with dreams. Now, this also holds for successful and highly impactful public affairs campaigns. At the outset, any movement can bring people together in unison towards a common goal; and that is the measure of success for public affairs campaigns. Note that most effective and impactful campaigns begin with a grassroots movement. If the audience does not resonate to share your dream, the campaign will lack momentum and dissolve into oblivion in no time. Having a crystal clear end-game is vital for the movement to support the overall objective of the organization. Make sure to focus on the ‘why’ and ‘where’ aspects of your campaign. These two should be made clear to pander to the grassroots and get them involved in the movement.
The next phase is to design the strategy and approach and align it with the overall organizational strategy. When approaching the design, several strategic issues merit consideration. These include resource availability, channels, target audience, organization and planning processes, among others. All of these aspects are vital and impact the overall campaign. Therefore, proper planning is paramount. On the other hand, a lack of strategy and approach will lead to a failure in the execution, and consequently, the movement.
Once the strategy and approach are outlined and drawn out, the next phase is delivering upon these. If not, then the plans are just talks in the air. Efficient and effective tactical planning is crucial to ensure that the resources are optimized and then utilized. Most importantly, the campaign needs to be able to win the hearts and minds of the grassroots. When contemplating the delivery, ensure that you consider the local nuances and nitty-gritty, including the cultural, political and socio-economic factors.
When it comes to campaigns, people are the main driver. It is the convictions and beliefs of the people that shall take the movement forward. With that said, it is integral that you clearly define the people or groups that can help elevate the effects of the campaign. The drivers shall also help determine whether the design efforts can help to deliver the initiatives and messages to the intended audience. Not to forget, sharing the campaign’s dream is also vital. It taps the emotional and relatability aspects. Next up is looking at the role and function of each of the drivers. The drivers help in steering the movement towards the skyline of success. So put in place an empowering environment for your teams, leaders and crew members to achieve your end goal.
With technology getting ahead of its time, there is scope for AI-driven public affairs campaigns. Another aspect of the internet era is the issue of fake news and clickbait informational pieces. This is the clutter that can put your campaign in the backseat. So make sure to consider even the negative aspects of the Internet when curating digital media and public affairs campaigns.