What is government relations?
Government relations (also known as government media relations) is a type of public relations that focuses on communication between organisations and the government.
For any business that depends on government regulations, it’s an essential PR tool that aims to teach CEOs, industry leaders, and organisations what the government process is and how to communicate with the public about legislation.
The role of PR in government relations
PR in government relations builds relationships between organisations and the government and aims to create positive interactions between the two.
Legislation determined by the government has a major impact on businesses, so it’s important for organisations to understand current policies. This is where PR can help.
PR professionals are experts at explaining and identifying government policies and regulations. Those who specialise in government relations can help business owners develop strategies to influence public policy.
They also monitor issues at all levels of government to achieve results across all jurisdictions.
Government relations can be used in a corporate setting to initiate lobbying efforts directed at MPs.
Activities can involve:
- Developing strategies
- Mapping all stakeholders who influence government decisions that affect the business
- Researching policy and position papers
- Preparing businesses for governmental appearances
- Monitoring issues
While government relations can be similar to public affairs, there are some subtle differences.
What is the difference between government relations and public affairs?
Public affairs is another form of public relations that helps organisations in dealing directly with the government, legislators, lobbyists and the media, whereas government relations focuses on helping organisations deal with the government.
While activities for government relations sound similar, public affairs specialists often work to resolve conflict or even negotiate on the behalf of an organisation to solve any issues that may occur.
There are many actives that public affairs specialists do including:
- Advocating, consulting and advising organisations
- Monitoring any recent political information or activities
- Lobbying for organisations
- Researching and providing information for stakeholders
Organisations will often use public affairs to discuss legislation procedures and policies with people and groups they are involved with.
In summary, the overall role of government relations is to help improve public policy, and effectively communicate with governments, the public, organisations, and interest groups.
How can a government relations campaign achieve results for an industry?
As mentioned earlier, many businesses and industries rely on government policy and regulation to achieve funding or continue to operate their businesses successfully.
This is especially important in Australia’s healthcare sector, as many health-related businesses, industries, and programs need government funding to stay operational.
Adoni Media was nominated for Best Government Relations Campaign in 2017 for the work we did with The Australian Homeopathic Association to protect natural therapy use in Australia.
The reason this organisation needed to consider a government relations campaign was because manufacturing, consultations, and public opinion was being damaged by a government report claiming these types of medicines were ineffective.
To lobby the government against proposed changes, a Senate Petition was launched online and media was generated around proposed cuts to private health insurance rebates and bans of the sale of natural medicines in pharmacies. This created pressure and an environment where MPs and government officials had to listen to what the industry had to say.
As a result of this campaign, key stakeholders were able to have closed door meetings with the Health Minister to discuss how natural medicine could be protected for public use moving forward.
More than 80,000 people were active in the campaign, and social media posts created by Adoni Media for Your Health Your Choice went viral, reaching more than 500,000 people.