Public Affairs & Advocacy

Public Affairs

Our public affairs practice often works in concert with our advocacy practice and our marketing research division.  Public affairs clients are interested in issue management either at the state or local level.  We can help you with strategic planning, issue management, media relations, crisis communications, social media, corporate affairs, and community relations.

At the state level we work with our clients to help solve problems they might have with state government. Often, this requires working with our client’s lobbyists to deal with important issues that might impact their business. Our goal is to work to build grassroots support for public policy issue such as government regulation, education, utilities, healthcare or some of the myriad other problems facing the state.

  •  Our knowledge of the legislature, the administration, and the state departments helps us secure positive outcomes for our clients.
  • In the term limited era, public affairs work has to be nimble, research driven and based on careful strategic planning.
  • We build teams that make our client’s efforts successful
  • Because they deal with key administration or legislative leaders, some of our staff members are registered lobbyists.

At the local level, we help our client’s to build their company’s image within the community by introducing them to the local media, civic, governmental or business leaders.

  • Often, businesses are faced with difficult zoning or regulatory issues that require developing a rapport with local leaders to solve the problems.
  • If that fails, we build public support for their issues so they can be successful in achieving changes that will help them build their businesses even further.

Businesses have an obligation to give back to their communities, not just because they might gain from it, but because it is the right thing for them to do.

  • Having a strong positive image will also help them when they need to work with local or state government entities.
  • Businesses occasionally need to pass legislation or secure zoning ordinance or other changes from government.
  • We work with corporate or association clients on an ongoing basis to assure that they have established a reputation that will make it conducive for them to accomplish their goals with governmental agencies, city councils, or the Michigan legislature.

Having been a part of the state political scene for more than 25 years, we have built strong relationships with important local/statewide news media and political leaders.  These relationships are pivotal in assuring that our clients will get the opportunity to present their side to reporters and editorial page editors.

Managing public affairs requires developing strong, research-driven strategic plans that stay on message.  In order to determine what messages will best help our clients to be successful, our marketing research/polling division will work closely with our public affairs practitioners to determine the messages that will clients persuade the public, the administration, and/or the legislature to support our agenda.

Public affairs management contains many moving parts.  With complex issues, you need critical thinking to formulate a plan that will lead to success.  Mitchell Research & Communications, Inc. has the ability and the contacts inside and outside Lansing to help our candidates achieve the outcome they desire.

Strategic Planning

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know how to get there.” This confusing sounding statement is very true. If you don’t know what your real objective is, you don’t know how to prepare a plan to achieve the objective. 

They key to any winning public affairs program is to start with a strategic plan that outlines a pathway to attaining the objectives of the program.

Strategic plans have to be realistic and they have to take into consideration all possible contingencies.  Winning a public affairs battle is like winning at chess, you have to determine the target and you have to think two or three steps ahead of your opposition.  Our political background has served as real learning tool in crafting plans that win.

We have a demonstrated background of winning … of achieving the outcome our clients want and need.

Materials

Either using our in-house staff or our strategic partners, Mitchell Research & Communications provides every type of written, audio or video communication.  This includes brochures, direct mail pieces, handouts, radio and television production, PowerPoint creation, Infographics, and any other type of communication materials our client needs to carry their messages.

Advocacy

Our advocacy practice is closely intertwined with our public affairs practice.  There is an interconnectivity between dealing with key statewide or local elected officials and building the case for obtaining our client’s objectives through the media as well.

Since we take on tough issues, we understand how to “work” those issues.  As well as we know key elected officials at all levels, we also know that they need to know that they are supporting sound programs that have public support.

We not only know how to prepare a public relations program, we use our own registered lobbyists to work with our client’s lobbyists to seek positive outcomes.

We have successfully built grassroots advocacy for issues on a statewide and local basis. We have the ability to connect our clients with the right community leaders, professionals and experts to testify for committee hearings on critical legislation and can effectively coordinate community efforts. Field strategy can be a critical component in an advocacy campaign. You need the professionals that both understand the inner workings of government and business, and the on-the-ground foundation that needs to be built for success.

Corporate Affairs and Community Relations

As we have indicated above, it is a very good policy for businesses to work with local government leaders and other businesses to foster a better community.  By doing the right thing, businesses will also get to work with the local elected officials and business and civic leaders.  By building a reputation for being a good neighbor, a business will also be in a position to gain positive outcomes if it needs help from a local community.  Mitchell Research understands local communities all over Michigan and we can work with our clients to get close to local governmental leaders and secure positive outcomes from local leaders.

Crisis Communications Planning and Counsel

When you’re in trouble, when you have a crisis, you need to have someone you can turn to who will help guide you through the problem.  Mitchell Research has been the company that statewide, regional, and local political figures, as well as corporate clients have gone to when they were in trouble.

We understand you need a calm, experienced counsel to get you through a tough time.  We have done it over and over for people and companies that you have heard of.  Why aren’t they mentioned here?  Because, we don’t publicize who our crisis clients are. 

When you’re in crisis mode, you need someone who has been there before and handled tough situations, someone who knows the media and what they are looking for.  That’s what we do.

Issue Management

Mitchell Research excels at issue management because we have all the tools to handle it in-house.  When a client wants to pass a referendum at the state level or a millage or bond at the local level, we can do the polling, draft the plan, and then create the advertising to assure passage of the proposal.

We can provide the same type of help by building a strong grassroots campaign if you have issues before the legislature or a city council or township board.

We have a team with time-tested results in managing all types of issues at the state and local level.

Media Relations

Our top strategists and consultants understand the press because they have been a part of the media.  As a result of that, they understand what the press is looking for in a story.  Most importantly, they have the relationships with the key statewide media that will get them “in the door” and listened to by editors and news directors.

We also prepare our clients to meet with the press … whether electronic or print.  We train our clients to stay on message and to understand the background of each media outlet, its philosophy, and how to frame their message to win over the audience.

Media training is important, we train our clients on all the subtle and not so subtle aspects of dealing with  on-air and off-air interactions with the media.

We also work with our clients to make sure they communicate effectively with editorial board meetings.  We help with “letter to the editor” placement and even more importantly, in preparing op-eds that appear on the editorial page.

We have an extensive background in the use of news conferences and press releases and when needed, how to whip up support for a client who may need backers to attend a news conference.

When you’re dealing with the press, you need to have a company that understands the press and therefore can build a platform that will allow you to persuade your audiences to support your efforts.

Social Media

Public affairs is a rapidly changing business with the dramatic increase in social media.  Mitchell Research & Communications specializes in helping our clients reach its audiences through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and keeps up with trends to use new and developing social media platforms.

Market Research

Corporate clients understand the importance of knowing what their customers want.  To find that information out, they use marketing research.  We use state of the art methodology to help them with their qualitative research (focus groups) and their quantitative research (telephone surveys) needs.

Qualitative Research

  • We conducted multiple focus groups in cities from Georgia to California for a national insurance company to find out how its potential customers perceived its advertising.
  • We conducted multiple food testing focus groups for a national pizza chain trying to find out if a new crust would work.
  • We conducted multiple focus groups for two major associations to determine whether or not a statewide ballot proposal would pass.
  • We conducted focus groups all over a state to determine what campaign themes a governor should use during the governor’s upcoming re-election campaign.

Quantitative Research

  • After traveling around the country for the national insurance company, we conducted a national survey to determine whether the themes established through the focus groups would work with a national audience.  The survey drove them to a website where they graded several different potential ads.
  • After the association focus groups on the ballot proposal and after the governor’s focus groups, we conducted statewide telephone surveys to test if the themes that were important in the qualitative research were confirmed by the larger quantitative research.
  • We helped a major statewide furniture company determine a whether an important potential in-store change would be profitable through a telephone poll of its current customers and its potential customers.
  • We helped a restaurant determine whether it should add new items to its menu based on a phone survey of current and potential customers.
  • We conduct an annual customer satisfaction survey for a major statewide association so we have a year to year comparison on how satisfied members are with the association’s services.

We have demonstrated real accuracy in all of our research methods, accuracy that helps our clients make important decisions about what they do.

Political Consulting & Polling

Political Consulting & Political Polling

Mitchell Research & Communications, Inc. is a full-service political polling and consulting company.  We have worked with statewide, legislative, regional, and local political candidates and ballot committees for more than 25 years.  We have an extensive record of winning campaigns.  We provide turn-key services for our clients.

Below are the key elements of a campaign, elements that we provide for our clients:

A winning political campaign starts out with opposition research on your candidate and on your opponent.  You have to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent.

The next step is a comprehensive benchmark poll that serves as the foundation for all decisions made in the campaign.  It tests:

  • The name identification of candidates, potential endorsers including people who may endorse you or your opponent, and/or organizations that may do so.
  • Trial ballot questions
  • Messages you will use in favor of your candidate and messages you will use against your opponent and messages your opponents will use for themselves and against you.

A strong benchmark will give you demographic information about how each group of voters responds to the questions above.

Once you have conducted the poll, a detailed campaign plan is drafted that includes:

  • The overall strategy and tactics necessary to win.
  • A weekly timeline from the start of the campaign to Election Day that specifies when every aspect of the campaign will be done.
  • It includes:
    • Social media (managing Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media as well as website creation and management)
    • Mailings
      • When they are drafted
      • When they are sent to the printer
      • When they are sent to the mail house
      • When they are dropped in the mail
    • Radio/TV
      • When scripts are drafted and approved
      • When they are produced
      • When they are aired
      • How much money is put behind each ad
    • Press Releases/Press Conference dates and topics
    • When signs are produced and displayed
    • Where and when door-to-door activities take place
    • All other aspects of the campaign
  • A budget that shows exactly what expenditures will be made every week through Election Day

Finally, you need to conduct tracking polls at key points in the campaign to see how you are doing and how voters are responding to your messages. Campaigns have to be carefully organized and the strategic advice has to be ongoing to assure your campaign can respond to every turn in the road that will occur.

We provide all of the services highlighted above.

The Mitchell Factor

Regardless of what services we provide our clients, we take on each client and look at their needs with a fresh perspective. You won’t find cookie cutter planning here.

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