Real influence is the ability to shape the way people think. The most foundational component of changing a person’s perspective is the story you tell them. It is not access, the amount of advertising, or the number of media placements, these are tactics used to deliver a narrative, but it is only the narrative that has the ability to change hearts and minds.
Whether its lobbyists engaging Congress, constituent communications, or brand and reputation management, all advocacy is a communications exercise, and advocacy is only as effective as the story being told, (and the story is often overlooked for access).
This is why Perspective Strategies exists. We are an integrated influence firm that takes a systematic approach to influence and risk. We begin with identifying the misunderstandings that are generating risk and methodically build narratives, audiences, advocacy and communications strategies to mitigate risk.
Identify the misconceptions that are driving risk and the audiences that need to be persuaded by a fresh perspective.
Develop narratives targeted at persuading the audience creating risk and an engagement strategy to deliver the new narratives (direct lobbying, earned media, paid advertising, grassroots, etc.)
Influence is a verb. It must be planned, worked at, and created. Executing a persuasive storytelling effort where the narrative transforms public perception, influences action, and mitigates risk, is our core function.
Risk: Havana, Cuba was the fastest growing home sharing market in the world, but the new Trump administration sought to reverse U.S. policy allowing American’s travel access to Cuba, shutting off this growth market to the home sharing platforms.
Narrative Development: Change in U.S. policy was meant to deny American dollars to the Cuban regime. We developed a potent narrative to change the perspective of Administration and Congress by portraying home sharing as an antidote to regime finances; dollars paid on the home sharing platform are paid directly to the owner, and do not pass through the regime. We were able to develop a narrative around the fact that home sharing in Cuba allows the host to keep the revenue. This meant home sharing was an avenue to deliver money directly to Cuban citizens without it being filtered through the regime.
Narrative Delivery: The new narrative positioned our client as accomplishing the Administration’s foreign policy goals (helping the citizens of Cuba) rather than hindering (funding the regime). A coordinated full-scale lobbying blitz to the White House, Administration and Congress was launched, educating them on the financial impact of home sharing to the regular Cuban citizens. This resulted in preserved travel to Cuba, but much more importantly, it also led to a requirement that all US citizens traveling to Cuba stay in a home share, cornering the market for our client.
Influence Created – Risk Mitigated
Risk: Our client faced a severe competitive disadvantage due to unequal enforcement of EPA consent decrees, a regulatory burden on just two of the nation's five carbon black producers.
Narrative Development: We developed a narrative highlighting the market distortions created by EPA, how status quo was increasing pollution, and the noncompetitive environment was also going to mean massive job losses and higher prices. This perspective of current EPA actions created pressure on EPA to change status quo or risk antagonizing constituents and Members of Congress.
Narrative Delivery: With the new narrative, we designed an executed an influence program where we armed Members of Congress on the practical outcome of EPA inaction, higher rates of pollution, crimped supply chains, inflationary pressure, and an imbalanced commodity market that was going to cost their constituent jobs. In less than twelve months, the EPA leveled the playing field and applied the same regulatory requirement on the remaining three companies. In an unprecedented move – the EPA also amended and delayed our client’s timeline for implementation to achieve parity with the other producers.
Influence Created - Risk Mitigated
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Stephen Aaron is the founder and CEO of Perspective Strategies. He is a public affairs strategist and influence expert with almost twenty years of experience in Washington D.C. transforming the way his clients are understood by elected officials and the general public.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” - Atticus Finch