3 ways in which digital really is changing public affairs

In EU public affairs, many view message distribution through social and paid media as the end-point for digital communications and campaigning.

A sound digital strategy should probably include elements of content, social and paid media. Done well, they are useful (although done badly, a waste of time).

But most organisations would benefit enormously from having a more ambitious view of what digital can offer, especially across the following 3 areas.

Digital advocacy

As Brussels and the issues handled here become more political, being able to build, demonstrate and harness support from key constituencies is key to success. We can now do advocacy in a highly targeted and methodical manner, and at scale, using data and digital.

Potential advocates in corporate-land are sometimes obvious. Think pharma and patients or agrochemicals and farmers. But advocates can be even closer to home. Employees and your supply chain for starters.

Across the pond, digital advocacy is now an integral part of most public affairs programmes. It has to be, as increasing numbers of policy-makers won’t even meet with corporate lobbyists. No doubt this will be the case on these shores too, yet uptake of digital advocacy remains abysmally slow.

Enhanced intelligence gathering and analysis

Beyond basic commoditised intelligence gathering like monitoring, public affairs professionals now have a series of AI-enabled methods at their disposal. For instance, we can now do the following:

  • Predict positions and coalitions of policy-makers more quickly and efficiently by distilling huge amounts of data, from past voting behaviour through to public statements.
  • Determine public sentiment and the likely public response to a policy position by distilling millions of viewpoints rather than through unreliable and expensive polling.

No need to rely on guesswork any longer.

Online platforms for managing public affairs

Last but not least, digital platforms like Quorum and Ulobby allow us to track and manage issues and stakeholders in one place. All public affairs functions can benefit from using these tools, especially those managing multiple dossiers. Consolidated information enhances efficiencies: it saves time and reduces pointless duplication, clearly. But having intimate knowledge of what everyone else is up to within an organisation will invariably help raise levels towards the highest common denominator. What’s more these tools also include advocacy and intelligence functionality. Using them should be a no-brainer.

So please: move beyond bloody tweets and adopt the elements of the digital toolkit that will truly enhance efficiencies, intelligence, reach and influence.

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