• Daisy Powell-Chandler

Corporate Reputation: A pre- and post-election checklist

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Congratulations! You weren’t shamed in an election manifesto; managed to stop your CEO from publicly commenting on the contenders; and you’ve just sent out your final ‘probable election outcomes’ briefing. Now you can concentrate on the Christmas Party schedule, yes? No. A little preparation now will help to reduce the stress over Christmas and put you ahead of the game in January.

fountain pen on blank notebook page
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Before the election

If you haven’t already, make sure you have copies of ALL the election manifestos and that you have read everything that could plausibly be relevant to your organisation. On average four-fifths of the manifesto of a governing Party will become government policy. Items tucked away in the education section could have an impact on you even if you work in mining: think, apprenticeship levy, for example.

It is worth brainstorming this with a small group and thinking very broadly. Consider giving team members each a topic and asking them to read all of the manifesto sections linked to it and present them back. Ask everyone present to keep questioning how each Party’s policy might affect your team and the wider business. For each of the most probable post-election scenarios, create a list of the opportunities and threats. This will guide your activities immediately after the election. If there are any policies that will affect you significantly but that you do not have an agreed line, this is a good moment to at least begin that conversation.

This may seem like a lot of effort to put in when some of this knowledge will be obsolete in a week but try instead to frame the exercise like this: one of these parties will be in Government shortly, or locked in a complicated coalition negotiation. The more we understand their thinking, the more we will either understand the programme of government, the items that had to be traded away, or (in the case of the loser(s)) the context in which the next manifesto, or next leadership election, will be situated. This understanding will help you to make the most of any possible situation.

After the election

Once the votes are counted, we will likely move into one of two situations:

1. There will be a Conservative majority and they will move swiftly to appoint ministers, Get Brexit Done™ and generally get on with stuff. This means you will probably know the main ministers in charge of each area before Christmas and be glad that you already know what to say to them.

2. There will be some form of coalition talks. This will delay the appointment of ministers but makes the time spent on reading a broad range of manifestos much more important.

Your opportunity/threat list will help you to navigate through either scenario. Use it to spot important ministerial appointments and make early contact or draft appropriate internal and external briefings. In the case of a coalition or confidence and supply agreement, your list will help the team to swiftly focus on the implications for you, rather than getting bogged down in the details.

Once you have a strategy in place for engaging with the government, move swiftly on to a plan for talking to the opposition and relevant committees. Again, use your opportunity/threat list as a guide: are they open to dropping certain policies now that they have lost an election? Will they keep pushing for the more helpful policies? How can you support them as they recover and reassess?

Once all of the relevant committees and ministers are appointed, now would be a great time to renew your reputation audit and find out how your organisation is viewed by the people who matter most to you.

Are you ready for the election? Need help navigating the Westminster maelstrom? Get in touch on