What is the difference between lobbying and public affairs?


Public affairs and lobbying are intimately linked, but are actually two different concepts. In this blog, we explain the difference. In short, the difference is that lobbying is a part of public affairs. The term ‘lobbying’ specifically refers to the activity in which individuals or organisations influence policymakers to promote their interests. Public affairs is – with a focus on maintaining relationships with stakeholders and strategic communication and – broader than that.

Different ways of lobbying

As such, lobbying is an activity in which individuals or representative organisations such as industry associations seek to influence policymakers, organisations, politicians and/or other stakeholders with the aim of promoting their interests. This can take place at local, provincial, national, European or international level. In addition, it can cover various topics, such as environment, healthcare, finance, energy, security and more. At Public Matters, we work for a variety of sectors.

These lobbying activities can be carried out in various ways, such as organising interviews with policymakers, sending letters, drafting position papers and participating in events.

The ultimate aim of a good and responsible lobby is to strengthen mutual understanding between different parties. Public Matters can help your organisation ensure that politicians, policymakers and other stakeholders know your position and understand what your interests are and why they matter.

Public affairs: more than lobbying

Public affairs, on the other hand, covers a wider range of activities, including lobbying. This includes the whole process of monitoring, analysing, strategising and ultimately lobbying. This includes building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders, such as governments, political parties, civil society organisations and the media. In today’s often fast-moving and sometimes fast-judging (media) landscape, maintaining public support and being able to draft good crisis communications are also an essential part of a good public affairs approach.

Public affairs therefore focuses on creating favourable conditions for organisations and protecting their interests through broader strategic communications, relationship building with stakeholders and advocacy.

Public affairs and lobby support

Public Matters is a public affairs and lobbying consultancy specialising in policy advocacy and strategic communications. In our consultancy practice, we work on many public affairs issues for companies and above all with people. From entrepreneurs to directors, from public affairs managers to policymakers, from NGOs to government organisations, and many others. Building and maintaining relationships is central to our work. We can support organisations in their interest representation with our Team of over thirty public affairs consultants with various backgrounds and expertise. Thanks to our clout and expertise, we can effectively support your lobby.

Wondering what Public Matters can do for your organisation? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

"Building and maintaining relationships is central to our work."

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