Effective public affairs – more than a feeling


Only one in 10 executives say their companies frequently succeed at shaping government and regulatory decisions, according to McKinsey research.

This is despite 40 per cent of businesses expecting government and regulators to negatively impact their future earnings.

Given the value at stake – particularly with an interventionist Government – organisations cannot afford to take a purely qualitative approach to their engagement with decision-makers.

Organisations need to apply quantitative analysis-based management practices to their public affairs. For example, tracking the value that public affairs activities bring to their business and analysing the impact these activities have on business outcomes.

Successful companies are 2.5 times more likely to build effective fact-based narratives to support their positions. They are also more likely to track the quality of their relationships with stakeholders.

Digital tools also have an important role to play in successful public affairs. While most companies use digital tools such as social media for business reasons, those successful at public affairs use these tools to promote their companies’ priorities and engage with specific stakeholders. Less successful companies use digital tools to drive website traffic or increase their companies’ media visibility.

With the changed political environment in New Zealand and increased likelihood of government intervention, businesses need to elevate their public affairs practice and bring greater sophistication of political engagement.