Branding Your Advocacy 101

Utilizing a brand to take your advocacy efforts to the next level

All too often government relations offices find themselves in conflict with their companies or association’s marketing department. What if that wasn’t the case? How could these two teams support each other’s needs through advocacy? Some of the best advocacy efforts often take advantage of a strong brand identity.

So what is your organization’s BRAND? Better yet, what are the best things that will identify your members to policy makers and the public?

When considering how to incorporate your brand into an advocacy effort, your branding becomes more than just using a dictated company style guide. It is also about incorporating what makes your organization different – finding your raison d’être.

By adding the things that make your company, association or profession stand out, you add a factor of authenticity and ultimately, help make your communications more memorable. On top of that, it can also be a confidence builder to help connect your advocates with more familiar items and activities.

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So where do you start?

  1. Work outside of your team: Your marketing department probably has loads of information and plans related to public perception and opinion about your company or industry. Seek out ways to collaborate. After all, a politician can help reinforce your brand when meeting with other groups of constituents.
  2. Think about the positive: What are the benefits your company or association’s members provide to their customer? Figure out how those benefits can promote your organization’s agenda.
  3. Avoid one-time gimmicks: Focus on the long-term goals and objectives. Don’t dwell on a single campaign, but rather use each campaign to build on the next one.
  4. Remember your audience: Your advocacy program is directed towards policy makers and people who are able to influence these lawmakers (i.e., constituents). These individuals may not be part of your normal customer base, so make sure the elements you use are relevant.
  5. Stay in the confines of the law: If you are in the automotive industry, you know you can’t give away a free car, but you can use your branding to sell your points. Consider creating a legislative agenda to look and feel like a showroom sales guide; use an invoice sheet or a window sticker as the leave behind or an economic impact brief.

I know there are a lot of creative ways to connect legislative issues and a company’s brand or professional/trade association’s member identities. However, too often it’s the time and not the cost that prevent these efforts from coming to fruition.

So, are you using your brand to support your advocacy efforts?

Adam M. Melis
Director, Grassroots Consulting


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