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Where the CHIPS Fell: 5 Lessons from the CHIPS+ Act Debate

by Bryan Watt

Congress just passed perhaps the largest piece of industrial policy legislation in a generation to strengthen American competitiveness at home and abroad. The bill itself was years in the making and took on more names than most of us can remember.

And yet, the policy conversation around American competitiveness isn’t over. In fact, it’s only just beginning as America tries to fend off a rising China, get a handle on inflation, and build a stronger economy for all.

While we turn to what’s next, brands need to take stock after the battle we just won and apply these key lessons to prepare for the next fight.

Amplify More Voices

Any elected official worth their salt listens to a variety of voices. So how do you cut through all of the noise? Instead of looking for the perfect voice to influence the conversation, start by bringing more voices to the table to make sure you are breaking through. Suppliers, employees, mayors, customers — anyone who might be impacted from your desired policy change.

Employees Are Your Number One Asset

Your employer brand is essential to winning the war for talent, but a strong employer brand can also be leveraged to influence the public policy conversation. Don’t hesitate to tell your employees about your public policy priorities and what you’re up to in Washington. And don’t be afraid to ask them to help out. Engaged employees are your strongest brand ambassadors.

Tell People-Centric Stories

No doubt your communications team is working hard to tell people-centered stories, but there can be barriers and red tape to bring these stories to light. Support from executives to make this a smoother process would likely be welcomed! And the benefits will often be worth the effort because members, their staff, and especially reporters (along with humans generally) connect with people-centered stories. So the next time you’re making a big announcement or speaking about the impact of public policy, make sure to bring in the human element.

Show Up Wherever The Politicians — And Their Staffs — Are

Politicians are people too! They read online sports news, doom-scroll Instagram, browse their local paper, and binge the latest Hulu shows. Delivering your message where your audience spends their time will create a surround-sound effect and ensure your message reaches your intended audience.

Give Them A Reason To Be A Supporter

Being against something is easy — and sitting on the sidelines is even easier. The challenge is to tell stories that turn bystanders into supporters — so give them a reason to support your cause. Announce that new manufacturing plant. Show the impact of your clean energy investments in reducing your carbon footprint. Release data on the economic impact you’re having in your community. Demonstrate your latest innovation. Real, tangible reasons to advocate for your cause.

From the workforce of the future to addressing climate change, the public policy conversation around America’s ability to compete is not going away anytime soon. Whether you’re a national brand, a trade association, or a small business, learning from the CHIPS debate is critical to improving your own game. These strategies are just the start.

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