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Use of data, multi-stakeholder engagement will be hallmark of modern public affairs in 2022: PRmoment-Hill+Knowlton Strategies Friday Zone series

On the latest PRmoment-Hill+Knowlton Friday Zone series, we discuss:

Public Affairs 3.0: Towards modern multi-stakeholder engagement

On the Friday Zone Future Marathon: Trends 2022, one of the key sessions for this was discussing what modern public affairs will look like in 2022.

Speakers include Himanshu Priyadarshi, Director, Public Policy and Government Affairs, PepsiCo India, Dr. Gaurav Arya, Director of Programmes, Health NERDS, Raj Sahu, Director Strategy & Public Affairs, Samsung and Chair FICCI EoDB; and Srinivas Vunnava, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Hill+Knowlton Strategies India.

Evidence, data based Public Affairs 

One of the main takeaways from this session was why advance public affairs needs to be based on data analytics.

Himanshu Priyadarshi, Director, Public Policy and Government Affairs, PepsiCo India commented, "When we do a policy analysis, we use following steps : define and detail the problem, establish evaluation criteria, identify and then evaluate alternative policies , monitor and evaluate the implemented policy and then suggest policy changes."

Priyadarshi further added, "During the whole analysis, predictability is one of the expected outcomes. It provides confidence to any organization on ease of doing business. Secondly, as businesses are global so uniformity of policy plays a major role in this direction. Here the role of data and analytics are important. If a public affairs professional includes global data and cite case studies in their position papers, then the arguments becomes more quantitative rather than just a macro paper. We believe that with growing digitization, data and analytics will play a game changer."

On Multi Stakeholder Engagement in Public Affairs

The number of stakeholders in Public Affairs for an organisation have risen and the relationship between them has become even more complex than ever before.

Raj Sahu, Director Strategy & Public Affairs,Samsung and Chair FICCI EoDB, "It is not just the external stakeholders or the associations, but it also is very pertinent to engage and map the internal stakeholders.

 And this is where, especially in today's world,  it's important to map not only the industry associations, but also the suppliers or distributors, who are our intrinsic stakeholders who actually makes our business happen.

So that is where, I'm saying the public affairs or public policy team of any company or any agency or any, you know, advisory services company, becomes very important. Going forward. And as we focus more and more on ESG as well, that is the environmental governance and the social aspect of it, it will require more cohesive approach for every one of us."

Covid led to rise in greater cooperation in public-private partnerships

Covid had one positive impact, private-public cooperation hit a high point.

Dr. Gaurav Arya, Director of Programmes, Health NERDS pointed out that, "So while I work very closely with the government, what I will often observed is that there is a lack of trust or inadequate trust, I won't say there is lack of trust. There is inadequate trust. But what happened during the COVID crisis was that that those walls were broken that trust developed to a level, which I haven't seen in last 20 years of my work, working at the Public- Private Partnership (PPP) interface."

Dr. Arya added, "And the reason for that was the need. The government wanted the private sector to contribute, the private sector wanted the government to make the policy changes, the community wanted private sector and public sector to work together. And all of that happened for the mutual benefit of the community at large. And everybody benefited from that, whether it was around getting a vaccine to the market, whether it was getting around logistics and supply chain, whether it was around the policymaking bodies  for getting medicines very quickly to the market.  And the only reason why this happened was this increased level of trust between the private and the public sector increased level of trust between the community and the government. And all of it will not work if that communication is broken."

Public Affairs: Beyond government relationships

Summing up Srinivas Vunnava, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Hill+Knowlton Strategies India feels that globally and in India the trend is towards the fact that  public affairs can't be in isolation, because the politics and the policy or do not operate in vacuum today. 

Explaining further Vunnava added, "Having said this, if you look at it from a policy perspective, the policy is devised as most of the people most of the times, and for a country like India, if you're talking about this one, you know, India is all about scale, and how do you actually make things happen at the last mile. And this, I mean, is very difficult either for a government or a single stakeholder to actually do this, you know, to move nuts and bolts and make things happen at the ground level. This need become more visible, due to the COVID pandemic, right. What it actually boils down to is that's the reason why we call it  public affairs 3.0. Where we be we move beyond just government relationships. And and the businesses are today find themselves being engaged, actively engaged with different stakeholders who are like not just governments and policymakers, right. There are other channel partners, distributors, civic societies and communities that they are engaging with."

Please see the entire session here:

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