The importance of effective Washington-based strategic communications, digital media and grassroots strategies for countries and international firms should not be under estimated. In the last few years, stakes have been high for countries and international firms seeking to influence U.S. Government decisions. Many countries and international companies have been tremendously affected by trade policies, regulatory scrutiny and misperceptions in the court of public opinion. With today’s 24-hour news cycle and the digitally connected public, the stakes have never been higher and traditional lobbying activities are often not enough to ensure success.
In recent years, it has become even more important for internationally engaged countries to develop Washington-based strategic communications and grassroots efforts. Wisely, such public relation campaigns have recently been developed alongside traditional lobbying efforts focused on both the Executive and Legislative branches. Many countries and companies understand the significance of influencing members of Congress and White House staff, but few truly understand the power of harnessing the power of public opinion across the U.S. to influence legislation through the dissemination of key messages through the US media and the mobilization of grassroots efforts to influence legislation. Particular attention must be given to (targeting) “Beltway influential” media, stakeholders, key “media of record” within the US, and congressional districts of key Members of Congress.
The White House and Congress are now more focused on domestic and election issues regarding the economy, jobs, health care rather than the traditional Free Trade Agreements, Foreign Aid Assistance, environmental issues, security and other critical issues of importance. Countries and international companies affected by policies levied by lawmakers in Washington, DC must develop robust communications strategies, effective messaging and mobilize grassroots campaigns to ensure their interests are protected rather than left to chance. In an election year, influencing key stakeholders, improving public opinion and controlling your message can be the difference in success or failure.