With skepticism of government at an all-time high, consumers demand that industry step-up and take action to address structural racism in a post-COVID-19 world.
It was roughly 13 years ago during the on again, off again re-write of the 1992 Telecommunications Act when a prominent lobbyist leaned over to me and said; “don’t sweat this stuff too much, Congress isn’t in the business of going big much anymore.” It was a prescient statement and one that would be increasingly echoed by leaders and insiders on both sides of the aisle for years to come. The message that day was clear – seemingly gone were the days of significant federal legislative action to help confront the many growing challenges within our democracy.
And then the unimaginable occurred. As we’ve all sadly observed, COVID-19 and the loud, steady call for an end to systemic racism following the horrendous murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor have entered all of us into a new age of purpose and advocacy.
For many of us who have spent our adult lives in and around politics and public affairs, the coming months and years will undoubtedly be different. The massive, transformational and long-lasting impacts of these twin events on our communities and economy are becoming apparent and it will be policymakers on the federal, state and local level who must set new rules for our shaken society. But there’s a significant catch. The sharply uneven response and impact of COVID-19 and the clashes between Black Lives Matters protestors and law enforcement have further eroded our already fragile trust in government institutions.
That said, what COVID-19 and the protests have laid bare for the whole world to see will necessitate our governments to make big decisions that may fundamentally reshape America; and in doing so determine which technologies, solutions, industries and regions prevail in a post-2020 world. Consumer and voter support of these actions will depend largely on how they interpret the purpose – and potential positive impact – behind them. Said another way, America is looking for a core that will help usher forward the changes many in our society have long been calling for.
Enter our brands and NGOs.
As always, nothing on Capitol Hill – or in state capitals around the country – occurs in a vacuum. In fact, these actions very much need to be informed by what has worked best in these crises and where evidence suggests the most promise resides. Aside from the heroes selflessly working day and night to care for the ill and stock our shelves with food and the protestors calling for much-needed reforms, it has been our brands, businesses and community organizations who kicked into high gear, put their people and customers first and uncovered innovations and new approaches that met the moment. Were they all perfect? Of course not. But never before has the importance of a company’s purpose and the change it is committed to realizing – and not just its contribution to the bottom line – been so critical to Americans of all walks of life.
As we all move forward into a new normal, it will continue to be the stories of our heroes, the purpose-focused organizations and the people they impact that can most credibly inform our leaders and policymakers on what a post-COVID 19 America should resemble.
A new world awaits us; and it will be one where many more voters and policymakers seek to work with innovators and solution providers of all kinds to tackle the challenges that simply can no longer be ignored. No industry is exempt and expectations for authentic engagement are high. It will be hard, sometimes messy and without a doubt frustrating, but evidence from all corners suggests a new age of action has dawned and it’s calling your brand to participate.
As the world’s leading purpose and communications consultancy, Porter Novelli provides comprehensive public affairs services to our partners who need to break-through and demonstrate their unique societal and economic value to policymakers at this critical moment. Our bi-partisan team of professionals have extensive experience working in the White House, Congress, state legislatures and prominent national media outlets. We’re researchers and campaign strategists, creative developers, data analysts, storytellers and media mavens.
And most significantly, we’re ready to tell your story to the decision-makers who matter most. Our comprehensive suite of public affairs services includes:
- Opinion Leader and Voter Research
- Campaign Strategy Development & Execution
- Content and Issue Platform Creation
- Social Media Strategy, Engagement and Management
- Media Training & Crisis Auditing and Preparedness
- Stakeholder Identification, Analysis and Engagement
- Coalition Building
- National, State and In-district Communications
- Conversation Analysis and Mapping
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