Ready for the 2024 elections?

According to the Economist, there will be 70 elections around the world in 2024. Over half the world’s population will be able to vote for governments and leaders.

The US presidential election in November and – unless Rishi Sunak decides on a desperate delay until January 2025 – the UK general election will be among the most high-profile contests, along with the elections to the European Parliament in June. But the impact of these elections will be felt worldwide.

Everything from geopolitics to economic growth and the energy transition could be affected by the result of those votes. Just think about how the last UK election in 2019 shaped issues for business, and how Joe Biden’s win in 2020 led to agenda-setting policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act.

For UK public affairs professionals, this means 2024 is going to be a very busy year. Once they’ve shaken off their holiday indulgences and returned to work, they’ll be preparing their organisations for multiple and interlinked political changes.

What’s the best way for public affairs teams to approach this year of democracy? Based on my conversations with public affairs directors in a range of businesses and sectors, I’ve compiled a Fit For 2024 public affairs checklist.  It’s not definitive, but captures five of the biggest questions public affairs directors tell me they are asking themselves as they look ahead to 2024.

  • Does my team have the right skills, experience and structure to match the changing external environment?
  • Does my narrative set out our unique data and insights-led perspective on the issues that matter most in the new external environment?
  • Am I investing in building the public affairs literacy of all relevant parts of the business, not just the executive?
  • Am I using the latest AI tools to make my function more efficient and effective – and do I have the most meaningful KPIs?
  • Is my function set up to comprehend and influence the whole public affairs ecosystem that shapes our business, not just parts of it?

Anyone who works in and around public affairs is used to being asked to predict the result of elections. They also know that good public affairs work doesn’t rely on guesswork about the future, and is actually about making your organisation ready to understand and thrive in any public affairs scenario, which increasingly involves oversight of regulatory affairs strategy. The organisations that meet those challenges best will be the ones that do the most preparing and planning.

Liz Lynch is a Partner at Apella Advisors. If you are interested in hearing more please get in touch.

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9th January 2024

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