To people in PA hubs like Brussels who understand the value of communicating on issues (fewer than you’d think, given the status of traditional government relations), digital is no longer treated with suspicion. Although there is plenty of confusion around what digital actually entails and an annoying propensity to approach it tactically rather than strategically (i.e. “let’s do Twitter” rather than “who do we need to talk to and what do we need to say”), it’s generally regarded as an important part of the toolbox.
And yet “we do government relations, we don’t need digital” is still frequently heard around Brussels. Why? In actual fact, it’s got anything to with digital per se: the people who say it used to claim, “we do government relations, we don’t need communications.” In an environment where that just won’t stick anymore, given that the need for integration of government relations/advocacy and wider communications can not be disputed in polite company, the naysayers have found something new to dismiss: digital. They like the comfort zone they’ve developed over the years. One where long-term client reputation matters little compared to the ability to get a half-hour sit-down with the right official or MEP.
Wake up and smell the coffee. The sit-down will not matter if you haven’t got a credible storyline to back it up. The storyline needs to respond to real-world matters, and should be delivered to the right audiences via the right channels – including digital.