A common mistake businesses make in their public affairs strategy: assuming that it’s only by directly communicating with a legislator will help them solve their problems. But as lobbying is an attempt, there is no guarantee of success. For this attempt to be successful, companies must present a compelling argument supporting their lobbying goal. This is where advocacy comes into play. So, what is the difference between lobbying and advocacy? And why should companies engage in both?
Advocacy is essentially raising your voice on an issue to raise awareness and influence change. Through activities designed to gain public attention, mobilize public support and engage stakeholders, it aims to bring the desired behavioural, political or social change. Despite being an effective approach to shape public opinion, advocacy activities alone will fail to be effective on the public policy domain. Therefore, it must be supported by high-level dialogue as well.
Lobbying, on the other hand, is a very specialized form of communication. It is a direct and issue-specific approach aiming to influence policymakers or regulatory bodies on a specific issue. Businesses can attempt to sway policymakers’ stance against existing or pending legislation, or they can attempt to influence the policy prior to becoming an agenda item. Lobbying is a professional activity that requires in-depth knowledge about the country’s political climate, regulatory framework and dynamics of the business world and must follow ethical and ethical and transparency standard.
So why both? Advocacy and lobbying are complimentary. A powerful advocacy campaign gathers public support and engages stakeholders to adopt a certain position and brings it to policymakers’ attention. As public opinion often translates to voter behaviour, advocacy campaigns set the ground for strengthening the lobbying objective. Thus, it is essential for companies to support their main public policy objective with an effective advocacy project and lobbying strategy.
As a public affairs agency in Turkey, CORPERA develops and implements a tailored public affairs strategy that integrates advocacy and lobbying. Check out our Public Policy service or get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help your business achieve its strategic business objectives.
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