The governing principles of an effective media relations strategy are similar – and closely linked – to the principles of successful political campaign strategy. Either you’re playing offence by influencing the media agenda on your terms, or you’re playing defence and reacting to the media agenda on the terms of someone else. In the hurly burly of the political battlefield you must strive to achieve the former but you must always be prepared to engage in the latter.
Playing offence – the art of pro-active media relations
Playing offence means seeking to achieve dominance over the news cycle through a pro-active media relations strategy that seeks to have YOUR story told YOUR way according to YOUR timetable.
At Alesia we work hard to put you in a position to influence the form and substance of political news coverage. For when you dominate the agenda your opposition is reduced to what we call the “yes, but …” syndrome. Or, in other words, by so doing you’ve forced your opponents to fight a defensive battle on political turf of your choosing. And every minute they spend reacting to your agenda is a minute they can’t spend advancing their own.
We begin our offensive media relations strategy by analysing the human terrain within the press gallery as it pertains to your advocacy agenda. We’ve worked hard to develop relationships with key journalists, studying what they’ve written and analysing how their writing informs their viewpoints and predilections on various topics. And every telephone chat or cup of coffee at Aussie’s café at Parliament House in Canberra serves adds another piece to that puzzle.
Then we target particular journalists with carefully tailored narratives that have a higher likelihood generating the press coverage you seek. Alesia’s targeted and tailored strategic approach is a far more productive than merely blanketing journalists’ in-boxes with press releases – which are so ‘20th century’.
Playing defence – the art of crisis communications and reputation preservation
Rudyard Kipling begins his famous poem If, with the line: “If you can keep your head while all about are losing theirs and blaming it on you”.
When that inevitable media call arrives at 4pm with a 5pm deadline asking for comment on an extremely negative story, it’s essential to keep your cool and sense of perspective. This is the daily bread-and-butter of a political media advisor and Alesia’s vast experience in Cabinet ministerial offices has honed our ability to produce astute quick-reaction crisis-communications strategies that minimise reputational negatives.
At Alesia we are black belts in the art of political jiu jitsu, the Japanese martial art in which the defender uses leverage and the momentum of his assailant against that same attacker.
We bring a finely honed sense of political acumen fused with messaging and wordsmithing talent to produce a very potent combination in the realm of crisis communications. At Alesia we think on our feet, seeking always to stay ahead of the story. To this end we subject negative storylines to rapid analysis that seeks out flaws and weaknesses open to contextualisation or factual rebuttal.
It may not always be feasible to refute a negative story in its entirety, but it’s almost always possible to minimise reputational damage by contextualising and – in some cases – even apologising. And in almost all cases it’s vital to get out there early and shape the story while adhering to the truth and retaining credibility.
This is where we shine. We may not always be able to turn crisis communications lemons into reputational lemonade, but we will work with you to reduce the bitterness of the concoction you’ll be forced to drink.