What is Public Affairs and why is it so important?
Politics is critical to business operations, but dealing with politics and policymaking can be challenging, and sometimes overwhelming for those who have no experience in this field.
Public Affairs can be understood as efforts by an individual or organization that wishes to track, engage, and organize their external business processes. It combines strategies from various industries, ranging from government, communication, and social responsibility.
Public Affairs professionals aim to influence public policy, build and maintain strong relationships with legislators, as well as to engage with and monitor stakeholders.
With constant changes in the socioeconomic landscape, Public Affairs professionals help raise a flag for businesses and organizations to adapt to such changes and come up with better risk management strategies.
Additionally, Public Affairs also help promote the public image and market proposition of the business/ organization.
The ‘Love is Hard, HIV Prevention is Easy’ campaign between Vero and The Lab is a successful example of how Public Affairs and Public Relations can help to make an impact on the public through an advocacy campaign. ‘Love is Hard, HIV Prevention is Easy’ was a part of Vietnam’s 2021 national public health campaign that promotes the latest HIV prevention tools. It was designed to raise awareness about HIV prevention, reduce new HIV infections, and eliminate HIV stigma in Vietnam.
For this campaign, Vero worked with government stakeholders, such as the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC), United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and with the Partnership of Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN).
As a result, ‘Love is Hard, HIV Prevention is Easy’ turned out to be a groundbreaking public health push that won Best Health and Pharmaceutical campaign at the Marketing Interactive Awards 2022 and resulted in positively shifting views amongst the target audience as well asencouraging those affected by HIV to seek care.
How is Public Affairs different from Public Relations and what are the links between the two?
Public Affairs often does advocacy work and lobbying on specific policies or regulations that relate to the business or their clients. They use the media or directly provide information to the stakeholders in order to influence them. They also monitor political activities and analyze them to raise any potential concerns to the business, as well as navigate processes and stakeholders.
Public Relations, on the other hand, mostly involves a brand or an organization’s reputation in the public sphere, through the development and communication of a brand message; the monitoring of societal changes, and the re-positioning of them accordingly. PR also involves media and public engagement, and crisis management.