As a Westminster-based and Parliament-adjacent public affairs agency, here at JBP, we’re very familiar with the importance of “soft power” engagement.
In other words, the value of pitching up at one of the various Westminster haunts (read: pubs) frequented by Ministers and MPs, Special Advisers and staffers, and other decision-makers from across Whitehall.
Throughout the pandemic, as we’ve grappled with working from home and the challenges that have presented – educating our kids, glitchy Zoom calls (purposefully or otherwise), over-working, and so on – those of us working in public affairs have also missed out on a core part of our day-to-day activity. Building relationships, networking, those happenchance encounters with key influencers: in other words, the bread and butter of how we advance our clients’ priorities.
The entire country has rejoiced in the reopening of the Great British Pub, and revelled in friends and family, colleagues and co-workers, coming back together for a much-needed pint/glass of wine/gin & slim.
This has been especially true for the public affairs industry, and we here at JBP have enjoyed going out for a drink or two after a long and productive day in the office.
Away from the glare of the blue screen, away from the awkward waving goodbye at the end of a video call, and away from the quiet stillness of working alone from home (sans children or pets), at last, we have been able to meet with stakeholders in a more social setting, and have in-person conversations on behalf of this client or about that brief.
The value of this “human” contact cannot be overstated, and long may it continue!
Tommy Gilchrist Senior Account Manager