Public Affairs deals with the interactions and communication between a company and its stakeholders. Stakeholders are people with a vested interest in a business. This can range from employees and customers, to the local community and the government. Public Affairs also involves public relations with the media and taking any type of action to allow a business to voice their opinions, as well as engaging with customers and managing responses to unfavourable circumstances. In order to effectively manage the public affairs of a business, a boutique public affairs firm is responsible for helping their clients device goals, a strategy and tactics that can be used to improve the overall public perception of the business and its success.
Before devising a strategy and tactics, a business must first come up with a list of goals. The goals should be SMART:
- S – specific
- M – measurable
- A – agreed upon
- R – realistic
- T – time-bound
Once the goals have been decided upon, a strategy can be devised.
A public affairs strategy is about the long-term business success. It focuses on where the business is now, where it should be in the next few months/years and what methods should be used to get there. The public affairs strategy is a plan to achieving success. It outlines what the business will improve about itself but not the specific method of how, i.e. the tools and specific actions. Once the strategy has been finalised, tactics are used to slowly bring the goals and strategy into fruition.
Tactics are more time and action oriented. They outline methods to implement strategy, when and by whom. By assigning actions to people to be accomplished by a deadline, tactics allow for the business to slowly accomplish their goals and move onwards with their public affairs strategy.
Desiree Peterkin Bell is the owner of the boutique public affairs firm, DPBell & Associates, and is an expert on the topic of public affairs. To find out more about Desiree’s expertise on goals, strategy and tactics, connect with her on her website.