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Does Your Communications Strategy Speak to the New Administration?

Elisabeth Bradley

Vice President, Strategy, Forum One

Mike Shoag

Vice President, Government Services, Forum One

Presidential inaugurations bring excitement and change. Savvy government agencies and nonprofits benefit from those changes, but it requires deliberate action. Does your communications strategy speak to the new administration? As the United States welcomes a new administration, here are some predictions about how policies, priorities, and budgets will change, as well as steps that organizations can take to benefit from these changes. 

Government priorities are shifting

Government priorities will shift dramatically under the Biden-Harris administration. There will be more money spent combating climate change, more emphasis on international relations and international development, and science will once again be valued and prioritized. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of State, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will surely get more funding and support. Economic development will be critical as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, which likely means more funding for the Small Business Administration, and potentially for the Department of Transportation if Congress passes an infrastructure stimulus bill to get millions back to work. 

Scientists have left the government in droves over the last four years; however, in this new administration, science-focused organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Academies of Science (NAS) will likely get more funding.  Science-focused parts of many other departments will also need to rebuild and refocus their priorities and activities.

New messaging that resonates with a new administration

Beyond money, the reputation of the Federal government and many departments has been left in tatters. Government agencies need new messages to appeal to the new administration’s priorities, to rebuild their reputations, and to resonate with the Democratic-majority Congress that funds them. Strategic visions, key objectives, and other messaging should be revamped to be in-line with the new political realities. 

Nonprofits can benefit by changing their messaging to appeal to a government and population who will be re-focused on the environment, human rights, and other critical issues, and less focused on the day-to-day controversy and tweets coming out of the White House. 

How to get your communications strategy to speak to the new administration

Forum One has helped many government agencies and nonprofits rethink and update their key messages, tone, and overall brand as major shifts in government have come about. Here is what we recommend in the context of this new administration:

  1. Understand what has shifted for the audiences you’re trying to reach, whether government officials or the public at large.
  2. Update your messaging architecture to communicate an inclusive vision for progress on the issues you are working on.
  3. Refresh your brand to highlight your organization or agency’s unique value proposition in the constellation of groups working in your space.
  4. Develop strong narratives and use multimedia storytelling to get people’s attention
  5. Commit to a digital-first approach in communications, programs, and operations
  6. Assess whether your current digital ecosystem will effectively allow you to reach your digital goals, or if a modernization effort is needed. 

These are some first steps organizations can take to realign their digital strategies to speak more directly to the new Federal government and its priorities. Tackling all, or at least a couple of the above will already make a positive difference in terms of how you communicate your mission, define messaging priorities, and forge new relationships with the new Administration.

Written By

Elisabeth Bradley

Vice President, Strategy, Forum One

Mike Shoag

Vice President, Government Services, Forum One