TradeMarksThink about the last time you met someone new. What mattered the most to you as you sized up the individual? Her or his LinkedIn profile? The endorsement of someone you know and trust, such as your sister or the guy you play basketball with on Wednesday night? Chances are, it’s the endorsement.

The same holds true for trade associations introducing themselves to a new member of Congress, the member’s staff or political appointees in the new administration. Our latest TradeMarks Study shows that leveraging the collection of individuals and groups with whom you work, support and associate is a powerful means to increase credibility and strengthen your public policy effectiveness perception.

Our model indicates that working with others, including unlikely allies on occasion, to get one’s message out lends credibility and another perspective in support of the policy, strengthening advocacy efforts. Bringing the public perspective into the conversation via one’s membership is an especially effective strategy. So, too, is having industry employees and customers who can attest to the impact of legislation or regulation on them and their community speak out on your behalf. Reaching beyond the Beltway to draw upon relationships that allies may have with the new Members of Congress or administration officials demonstrates the breadth of your own relationships and provides an endorsement that is unparalleled.

Another way to bring supportive voices into your sphere is by building and leading coalitions, including ad hoc groups around a single issue or piece of legislation. Being a convener of groups and ideas further connotes leadership and gives voice to others who can connect with policy leaders in perhaps a different way.  

So, go ahead, engage with individuals who can speak on your behalf and support your position with a fresh perspective. And be sure to reciprocate.

My colleague Dan Scandling shares more on the importance of relationships in this video:


Bill Dalbec

Bill Dalbec, managing director of APCO Insight, provides opinion research, message development and strategic communication services. Read More