Corporate communications and Public Affairs – shall the two never meet?

At first, I only thought it was because I was in the wrong place. However, I begin to see that my suspicions are substantiated. Corporate communications/ public relations and public affairs/analyst relations practitioners rarely or never work together. Which is a pity for all because we’d achieve so much more. By working together, we’d reach different corporate audiences and with a magnificent cross-fertilization as a result.  

Yes, I know, I have all but two months experience from the European Parliament – but I speak with 15 years experience as a Communications/PR practitioner, and during those years I rarely worked together with my PA/AR colleagues. Rarely had any, come to think of it. It even seems like much of the Public Affairs/Analyst relations are outsourced to consultancies, or is that a Brussels thing?

Why is this? Surely, whatever the abbreviation, they are two sides of the same coin. And aren’t we all trying to achieve some kind of change? When speaking with decision makers and analysts you need to hone your skills in pitching, really show that the MEP can benefit with your proposal, to the analyst how this product/solution will change the industry, and above all present a clear case. How does this differ from PR/corporate communication?

 I sometimes apply for jobs where the scope is closer to public affairs/analyst and the first question I invariably get, is related to the size of my Rolodex. Let me tell you folks, it is ridiculous.

 Do you not think my dear reader; it is to underestimate MEPs and analysts to assume they only speak with people they know since before? Preferably, from the old boy’s club?

It is simple to address an MEP – you need to know how a decision is taken, where it is in the process a decision is and which MEPs that are dealing with the question. You also need to know your issue and how to present it to the MEP. Approximately the same goes when speaking with an analyst. After all its human nature – we want to do our job better and dislike having our time wasted. This knowledge does not come from a thick Rolodex, it comes from following (preferably shape) the news stream from Parliament and industry and honing your pitching skills.

Or is the industry that immature?

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