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"Good morning, Minister..."

December, 2012

The visit of a government Minister can be a priceless endorsement for a business and help to raise its profile.

Below are some examples of Maxim clients that have hosted Ministerial visits, had a chance to put their case to Government and also enjoyed strong editorial coverage.

A SWEEEPing success

Kent-based waste electrical and electronics recycling company SWEEEP Kuusakoski called in Maxim to highlight the visit by Rt Hon Michael Fallon, MP and Minister of State for Business & Enterprise, to officially open the world’s first commercial scale leaded glass furnace.

Maxim’s work involved inputting into the guest list, including suggesting that the Finnish Ambassador to the UK also be invited as the company is a joint venture with a Finnish recycling giant. His Excellency joined 150 other guests at the event, which was also attended by television, radio and print journalists, who interviewed the Minister and representatives from SWEEEP Kuusakoski.

Plane speaking

With aviation capacity in the South East high on the agenda, Manston Airport is eager to engage in the debate. Following an invitation from the MP for North Thanet, Sir Roger Gale, the airport hosted a visit by the Transport Minister, the Rt Hon Simon Burns MP.

Working with Kent County Council’s press office, Maxim welcomed crews from BBC South East Today and ITV Meridian, as well as the county’s radio stations and journalists from local newspapers. After touring the airport, the result was wall-to-wall positive coverage, a well-briefed Minister and a very happy client.

Sowing the seeds

Measuring the value of a Ministerial visit can be difficult. Maxim’s experience is that once briefed, and if the visit is focused on a national issue, Ministers can become true advocates for the business. A visit to East Malling Research by Rt Hon Hilary Benn, when Secretary of State for Defra, saw him speak at national conferences and in the House of Commons on the exciting science being undertaken there.

He went from a position of scant knowledge to a champion for horticultural research. East Malling Research’s significance was also acknowledged by Hilary Benn’s successor Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, following briefings from her civil servants.

Top tips for hosting a Ministerial visit

There are a number of issues to be considered if you are interested in hosting a Ministerial visit. Here are a few:

  • First consider what you are trying to achieve from the visit. Ask yourself why a Minister should spend time at your organisation. Are you growing, innovative, or an export success?
  • Identify the most appropriate Minister and put together a clear, concise letter of invitation. Engage with your local MP as they can be an excellent conduit to a Minister.
  • Is your company a shining light for a specific industry? Winning an award, preferably a Queen’s Award, makes you more attractive to visit. Working with your industry’s trade body could improve your chances of securing a visit by highlighting a wider business issue.

After securing a visit, quickly decide who else to invite. If you have worked directly with the Minister’s office, they should notify the local MP of the visit, but it’s best to check so as not to offend.

Brief the Minister’s office ahead of the visit so they understand what they’ll be seeing. Importantly, consider whether there’s a specific ‘ask’ of the Minister, and how best to secure their support.

Liaise with the Minister’s press officer and make sure they are happy for the press to be invited. If appropriate, book a photographer and prepare a press release to distribute after the visit.

If all this sounds daunting, or if you’ve just found out you’ve got a Ministerial visit on the horizon, give Maxim a call on 01892 513033.

Philip Jones - Director

Philip Jones

Maxim / Director

posted in: advice, public relations, reputation management,

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