7 ways tech firms can benefit from working with a public affairs agency

by Inline Policy on 26 Mar 2019

Tech firms are bound to come up against political and regulatory hurdles as they grow and develop their business. This is particularly the case where innovation is disrupting an existed regulated industry.

A public affairs agency can support tech firms in navigating the political and regulatory landscape, offering strategic insights into what decision makers are thinking and how best to influence their decisions.

Here, we highlight seven different ways tech firms could benefit from working with a public affairs agency.

1. Stay up to date with political and regulatory developments

Tech firms need to have their finger on the pulse of political and regulatory trends that could affect their business. A public affairs agency can provide you with in-depth, up to the minute research to help identify worldwide trends in your sector. This way you will be ready to tackle regulatory developments that could hamper your business and leverage new opportunities to take a competitive advantage.

Find out how Inline helped car sharing scale-up Drivy track political and regulatory developments across the EU in this case study.

2. Establish your firm as an industry thought leader

Influencing change to policy or regulation requires bringing your case to the attention of key decision makers and stakeholders. A public affairs agency can design, organise, and manage events to bring pertinent issues to the forefront. These events are designed to stimulate genuine debate, push the boundaries of discussion, and generate a buzz about the issues most important to both your firm and sector.

Find out how Inline helped TransferWise bring the issue of hidden fees in foreign exchange to the attention of government decision makers by hosting panel events at the 2015 UK political party conferences here.

3. Build your profile with policy makers

For tech firms operating in an emerging market, getting your voice heard so you can influence policy and regulation can be a defining factor in your company’s success. A public affairs agency can design and execute an outreach and engagement strategy to help you establish relationships with key policy makers and regulators.

Inline helped on-demand mobility company, Gett, establish themselves as a significant player in the collaborative economy. We were able to help Gett’s senior management develop relationships with high-level policymakers in EU institutions. You can find out more about our work with Gett here.

4. Establish an industry body to influence decision-makers and stakeholders

Building coalitions within an industry can provide a significant advantage in campaigning as well as helping set and raise standards in new and emerging sectors. By bringing a number of firms together, you can create a far more powerful and persuasive voice to attract the attention of key government decision makers and stakeholders.

In March 2017, Inline worked with a number of firms in the short-term rental sector including Airbnb, onefinestay, and HomeAway to plan and establish the Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA). You can read the full case study here.

5. Influence regulation

A public affairs agency can help tech firms build an open and constructive dialogue with government ministers, officials, and regulators so that they can play an active role in designing regulation for new industries as they develop.

Find out how Inline helped DJI establish itself in the regulatory debate on drones through a targeted programme of outreach and engagement here.

6. Secure a change in law

Regulatory and political hurdles are often the biggest obstacles a tech firm will face when growing their business. Take the short-term rental sector for example. Before 2015, homeowners in London were banned from letting out their properties for less than three months without explicit planning permission, meaning firms in the sector could not operate in this key European market.

A public affairs agency can support firms in campaigning for a change in law that will allow them to operate in previously untapped markets. With their understanding of the political landscape, a public affairs agency can work with you to develop what the optimal policy framework would look like if the law were changed. They can also help you to develop a lobbying campaign to engage decision makers and stakeholders and win the support of Parliamentarians.

Inline’s work with onefinestay led to the UK Government agreeing to introduce primary legislation to facilitate a change in law affecting the short-term rental sector in London. The final text passed as part of the Deregulation Act 2015. You can read the full details of exactly how Inline helped here.

7. Secure new market entry

Looking to enter a new market but not sure which to target? A public affairs agency can provide the expertise needed to scope out the social, economic, regulatory and political landscape in order to identify the best market opportunities to concentrate your efforts. They can also help you to create tailored messaging and engagement plans to introduce your company and its business model to city and regional authorities and other key stakeholders.

Find out how we helped pioneering dockless bike sharing company, YoBike, to secure entry in the UK market here.

If you want to speak to someone about your goals for growth or any political or regulatory challenges you might be encountering, get in touch for a no obligations confidential chat.

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Topics: Public affairs agency

Inline Policy

Written by Inline Policy

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