If politics is show-business for ugly people, then public affairs is PR for grown–ups.
MIM Students had their first introduction to some key aspects of Non-Market Strategy, namely Public Affairs, lobbying, and institutional relations in a talk delivered by Christoph Steck, Chief Regulatory Officer at Telefónica.
Christoph demonstrated how Public Affairs can add value to shareholders by gaining a competitive advantage for companies, NGOs, consumer groups and unions. This can be done by identifying, analyzing and responding to the opportunities and risks that an organization faces in the realm of Public Policy. For example, organizations may be able to block or modify legislation that is harmful to their business. Conversely, many Public Affairs managers work to introduce legislation that that is aligned with their organization’s goals.
Given today´s geopolitical reality, managing the Public Affairs strategy of a multinational company is remarkably complex. Successful companies manage Public Affairs as they would any other business strategy, and utilize various tools to educate and influence lawmakers and public opinion while also keeping abreast of the political situations around the world. Public Affairs Managers turn to the internet, conferences and speaking engagements, and of course, personal meetings with key decision makers.
Christoph, who originally hails from Germany, has been with Telefónica since 2002, first in Germany and currently in Madrid. He also teaches Public Affairs in the Master in Corporate Communication at IE.