Democracy or Populism? 2023 Trends in Public Affairs

16 February 2023

One of the main changes we are seeing is that lobbying, understood as that “legitimate act of public participation” referred to by the OECD, is becoming not just one more, but the main agent transforming a country’s public and regulatory policy. Where is this activity heading in the coming months? How is it adapting to new technologies? How does it impact the business and reputation of companies? The report “Democracy and populism: trends in public affairs in 2023” prepared by LLYC answers these questions.

It also finds, with the help of ChatGPT, how global trends in lobbying have consolidated in three main directions: 

Technology. On the one hand, through the integration of artificial intelligence to gain in efficiency and automation of tasks. On the other, with data engineering (data-driven lobbying) to achieve greater diagnostic potential and early anticipation of trends.

Accountability. by seeking greater transparency through regulation and by measuring the impact on the business and reputation of the activity.

Competitiveness and differentiation. through Better & Smart Regulation and campaign lobbying.

In short, LLYC believes that lobbying activity in 2023 will be more techie, more measurable and technical, more guerrilla. The Public Affairs teams of the countries in which the firm is present have participated in the report, analyzing the political and economic challenges for the coming months.

For Joan Navarro, Partner and Vice President of Public Affairs at LLYC: “Between economic, health and humanitarian crises, the tension between populism and democracy is already the main constant of the first quarter of the 21st century. In this report, we want to show the commitment of the Public Affairs activity to the economic and social role of business, to balanced, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, which is the best recipe for consolidating our coexistence and our democracy.”

These are the six global trends that will shape Public Affairs in 2023:

1. Integrating of artificial intelligence in processes: Public Affairs teams will introduce tools that perform simple and repetitive tasks such as ChatGPT in their day-to-day work. Although very improvable, the speed of learning and improvement of these systems is dizzying. The key is to actively participate in trial and error and to have protocols that help define an ethical and honest framework.

2. Data-driven lobbying: the hybrid work of intelligence and data analysts in the field of lobbying aims to improve the quality and potential of diagnoses, allowing decisions to be made beyond intuition through the management of large volumes of data. The great challenge for 2023 is the prospective view, which allows early anticipation of major political and regulatory trends. 

3. Transparency and regulation: in addition to the needs that guarantee the clarity of the activity (register of interest groups, publication of the agenda of senior officials, code of conduct or sanctions regime), there is the challenge of incorporating indirect lobbying into future regulations, without reducing their effectiveness. This is something we have already seen in some drafts, such as the draft bill on transparency and integrity in the activities of interest groups, announced by the Spanish government for 2023.

4. Measurement: public affairs activity has an impact on the business and reputation of its companies. Defining the model for this impact is another challenge for an activity that has spent the last 15 years professionalizing itself. It will only be able to pass to the Olympus of strategic areas and boards of directors if it manages to measure itself.

5. Better & Smart Regulation: it is no longer that the lobbying activity has an impact on the business and reputation of an organization, it is that the regulation itself (its quality and complexity) affects the business ecosystem of a country. Working towards a more technically sophisticated and dynamic lobby, capable of decomplicating the norm, is also part of the tasks we have to face in the coming years.

6. “Guerrilla” lobbying: incorporates marketing, communication and/or advertising to gain leverage and is oriented towards short-term results. These processes also include work on behavioral policies, especially in B2C organizations, which seek to gain efficiency by influencing behavior and decisions through behavioral techniques that facilitate consent and adherence to a standard. Food labeling, for example, goes in this direction.

We want to collaborate with you

Do you have a challenge?

Would you like to join our team?

Do you want us to speak at your next event?