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Advocacy, communications, public relations – they are all part of the mix when it comes to getting your message where it needs to go. Here’s a quick refresher on what’s what, and what might work for you:

Communications is the umbrella that public relations and other specialist areas sit under – that includes things like crisis management, event promotion, content creation and more.

Public relations (PR) is about managing your brand reputation – what you want people to see, think or feel of your brand. A lot of the time, this is done via the media.

Advocacy is about mobilising around an important issue where you want to have influence of seek change. This includes industry advocacy, where you might want to influence a sector to change practice, or government advocacy, where you might want policy or regulatory change. In some organisations advocacy is a comms function, and in others advocacy sits in a policy team.

At HC, we do all three. Here are some examples of the advocacy results we have been able to achieve alongside clients, and how we could help you, too.

  • Our client Freshmark represents businesses in the fresh produce supply chain. Over the past year or so, we have helped them develop and refine their key policy positions and worked with them to create submissions to five major government reviews. They’ve been successful in being quoted in the interim and final reports of several of those reviews and, more importantly, a number of their recommendations around policy change have been adopted.
  • We worked with the National Landcare Network to develop an advocacy campaign in the lead up to the last election, calling for increased funding for vital work they do. This included creating a compelling business case and getting it in the hands of the right people in government, and supporting their calls for funding by mobilising local groups to engage with their local MPs. We also helped draft letters to ministers and shadow ministers on all sides of politics to generate support and create pressure. The campaign was successful – three potential levels of funding were put forward and a commitment was made to implement the highest level.
  • We have worked with a number of other clients including major industry bodies to prepare position and policy papers, draft letters to government and activate supporter networks to achieve advocacy goals.

Each of these approaches achieves different things, but all are about letting the right people know what you need and why, and what they should do about it.

If there’s a problem you need to solve by getting government or industry on board, talk to us about how an advocacy program could help.

Kendi Burness-Cowan