Friday, June 22, 2007

Affordable public affairs advocacy

Learning From Microsoft's Error, Google Builds a Lobbying Engine

When it comes to lobbying, Google does not intend to repeat the mistake that its rival Microsoft made a decade ago.

Microsoft was so disdainful of the federal government back then that it had almost no presence in Washington. Largely because of that neglect, the company was blindsided by a government antitrust lawsuit that cost it dearly.

Mindful of that history, Google is rapidly building a substantial presence in Washington and using that firepower against Microsoft, among others.

Want to protect your interests but lack Google’s largess? There is another way.

First of all, join your relevant trade association and find the time to get active. Don’t let the big players co-opt the organization. You have overlapping, but distinct interests. Make sure your trade association is responsive to your company’s concerns.

Encourage your employees to be active in their local political committees, not just the ones who agree with you, everyone. That way, no matter who wins the election you will have an effective advocate on the inside. Politicians respond to votes. They need money to win those votes; but votes trump money. If someone on your staff runs the database for the local committee or serves as webmaster, they will have a kind of access to local elected officials that is not for sale at any price.

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