In the high-stakes and ever-changing world of government affairs, maintaining clients and attracting new ones comes down to constantly evolving to provide the best and most effective services.
“We are constantly pushing for change and to deliver new things to the sector,” says Connie Campanella, founder and president of Stateside Associates, based in Arlington, Virginia, a state and local government relations firm that represents companies, nonprofits, trade associations and other clients nationwide.
She founded the firm in 1988 and drew upon her own professional experience in government and government affairs to grow it from a one-person shop to nearly 50 employees. While there was a host of consulting firms at the time that focused on the federal government, Campanella said she saw a void of consultants that focused specifically on state and local governments.
“The services that were out there were very basic and didn’t contribute anything in terms of a client-centric or an issue-centric point of view,” she said. “I remember, early on, one of my clients from Dow Chemical said, ‘You’re the first firm we’ve ever heard of that really thinks about the issue and what needs to be done about it instead of just having a service to sell.’”
Even more so than other industries, government affairs requires agility because of the “astronomical level of change” involved as officials rotate in and out of office, said Campanella.
Evolving with technology has also been key, she noted, citing a range of innovations Stateside has rolled out throughout the years. Stateside was the first in the industry to create client-specific Web portals where clients could view customized information about relevant news from the state and local levels. In recent years, the platform was improved to include updates, like an interactive calendar to help officials track upcoming hearings and other dates.
Currently, the firm is in the process of launching a new social media monitoring service, specifically mapped for state and local governments, and another service that will alert customers to updates about the regulatory process.
“We can’t be static. We can’t be complacent. Because the people we support, the senior corporate executives, they are dealing with these issues,” she said. “If we are seen as having the solutions and the support vision from five years ago, then they’re going to look past us. They’re going to look for people who understand the way the world is today.”
For more information, please visit: www.stateside.com
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