Deep Dive Breakout 1

Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Design and messaging is often limited by brand standards, regulatory constraints, and strict message frameworks. Rather than give up, these campaigns found a way to thrive despite such restrictions.


Having boundaries in advocacy can help us to find solutions we hadn’t thought of initially when looking at the problem we have to solve. 

Addressing complex issues is the constraint that allows you to get creative. A key way to do this is to build a new way to talk to your audiences, this can be through different web properties or different sub-brands. Being separated from a larger branding requires creativity but can provide more flexibility in finding more success. Being able to separate yourself allows you to speak to consumers and advocates like people.

1. How and when to advocate for stepping outside these restrictions

Sometimes, there is more to the issue than we are able to talk about so advocates can say it for us. Encourage them to talk about how they feel and provide guidance through general messaging but urge them to push to the next step. 

2. Refereeing vendors & other departments

Multiple office politics may require that you to try to make friends as well as colleagues out of your distance colleagues. Knowing the people who need to approve your things helps make things happen. An outside vendor connection is important for building time in for approvals internally and external. Streamlining the process is important to know who leads the issue areas to ensure they are responsive in getting things done. 

Working with vendors means making sure they are accountable and keeping tight deadlines. Just because they’re there to help you, they are still managing a large workload and getting a sense from them on their bandwidth early on can help with internal constraint planning. 


How do you manage internally when a creative pursuit has to be stopped because priorities change? 

Try to make sure that the team is enforcing an attitude of positivity and then share privately how it feels to be disappointed and figure out how to repurpose what you have done already into what your message is every day. There can still be an opportunity to turn stopped plays into a win. 

Do you use different voices for different issues? 

Creating a different space for discussing different issues can allow you to be more flexible overall. More voices also allows for more micro-campaigns to create additional structure within issues but you can expand beyond your association’s response. Developing a sub-brand is the biggest way to make opportunities for yourself and have real ROI. 

How can you best stay connected to all teams?

Internal newsletter – Overemphasize the back burner issues so they stay top of mind for non-policy team members

Bi-weekly staff meetings – Provide time for lobbyists or government affairs people to speak from the Hill and for non-policy team members to emphasize their non-beltway issues

Explain yourself – Talk about what you are working on regularly even if you aren’t asked

Lunch and Learn – Encourage team members from either government affairs or regular communications teams to talk about a specialty happening in their area 

Personal Relationships – Be open to hearing from the non-advocacy teams about their issues.

How do you manage brand compliance within constraints that works for your audience?

Try to anticipate where people are coming from internally and decide who the point person is that has the final sign off. Get approval on the most technical piece, usually the policy itself, and stay accurate on other things to avoid issues. 

Do you have social media channel free reign for policy?  

Try to separate yourself from your main accounts and then take a look at your individual channels and those audiences and activate them creatively where they are. Use different content on every channel, especially LinkedIn because that’s where a very fine ad targeting can happen especially with employees. 

Some use a stoplight process when identifying how a policy can be discussed on social:

Green – Post anything, no extra approvals needed. 

Yellow – Might be a hot button, better to double-check within the team. 

Red – Get specific approvals before it goes out.