Federal Policy Brand Research
Each year, Ballast Research engages its exclusive network of senior federal policymakers to solicit their candid views about what advocates do that works and what they do that does not work. That policymakers network, dominated by hundreds of chiefs of staff, legislative directors, agency leadership, and key career staff, provides specific feedback about the reputation and engagement – across 16 dimensions where your organization focuses its advocacy resources – of over 100 of the most effective and invested organizations in the federal policy arena. Ballast Research offers its clients specific and detailed reactions from their target audience to inform and guide future investment.
State Policy Brand Research
Given quickly growing investments in state-based advocacy, we have now engaged senior state policymakers to serve a broader scope of clients. Before entering any state, we build a network of policymakers and test our methodology to ensure consistency of our results. This work allows our federal clients, as well as any state-based associations and corporations invested in specific states to build, maintain, and strengthen their investment in state and local policy.
We are currently conducting research in several key states:
Structuring Your DC Office
We are experts in the establishment, reorganization, or regular assessment of a company’s Government Affairs operations (Federal and state-based offices). Our best practice and custom research guides clients toward the right goals for a government affairs office.
Email us to see how one of our partners developed a clearer mission for their office and aligned resourcing, staff responsibilities, and policy priorities around a comprehensive“north star” goal.
Leveraging In-District Voices
Traditional “grassroots advocacy” often mistakenly involves costly, large-scale email and phone campaigns. Those organizations with the strongest, long-term, policy brands engage a new system of “reputational grassroots” that focuses on the substance of interactions rather than the volume.
Bringing actual employees and constituents to Washington or district offices, those are the best lobbyists for an industry.”
Chief of Staff, House (R)
Email us to learn how one of our partners built a reputational grassroots program with fairly limited resources in the aftermath of a corporate reputational challenge.
The Best and Highest Use of Executives
Ballast Research helps organizations determine how to deploy their senior-most leaders—the CEO, CFO, Board Members, Division Heads—to public policy conversations. These voices add heft to an organization’s position, but the unique circumstances of each organization determine the best way to leverage these leaders.
Email us to learn about how one of our partners effectively leveraged a subject-matter expert at one of their divisions to actively drive views of the organization as a trusted partner.
Leveraging years of research and data on what policymakers are looking for from outside advocates, Ballast Research regularly reviews your organization’s existing materials, develops new materials, and designs collateral to ensure that messages translate as effectively as possible in ways that resonate with a specific (and often idiosyncratic) policymaker audience.
Email us to learn how one of our partners reimagined a presentation deck and one-pagers to better align with best practices in policymaker communications.
Getting Credit for CSR
Organizations invest a substantial amount of resources in philanthropic giving and social responsibility initiatives. Translating these efforts to a policymaker audience has mixed results. Ballast Research guides organizations’ investments and communications in Corporate Social Responsibility–the single most distinguishing element of a strong policy brand–to maximize credit and advance long term reputation.
Email us to see a high-level overview of what policymakers are looking for when an organization presents their social responsibility work.
Monitoring Policymaker Relationship Health
Traditional “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) systems that were designed for corporate functions like business development do not easily export to the unique realm of government affairs, where the long-term goal is relationship building—not “accounts won.”
Email us to learn about how one of our partners used a custom technology solution to monitor their interactions with Congress in a more meaningful way than tracking total number of meetings conducted.
Using Resources on the Right Policy Areas
In order to demonstrate return on investment, a best-in-class government affairs function should isolate those policy issues that have a legitimate chance of advancing through the legislative or regulatory process, may inflict a large positive or negative financial impact on the business, are likely to have a drastically different outcome if the organization leverage resources against it, and signify responsiveness to the needs of internal stakeholders and their priorities.
Email us to learn about how one of our partners utilized a custom policy prioritization framework in order to realign the time and resource allocation of their office while forging stronger relationships with their internal business units.