Proposed, pending and new legislation brings innumerable consequences – all of which are not easy to discern. The experts in impacted industries and markets are essential to helping all stakeholders understand the repercussions. This impact can be varied and far reaching – such as stock prices in key sectors, technologies coming to market, profitability of a business segment and shifts in access to significant talent. Many new regulations boost one group and create burdens for others. The nuances are important to the market, as well as to decision makers, investors, employees and a host of other stakeholders.

A recent example is the electronic logging device (ELD) rule. It was congressionally mandated to help create a safer work environment for truck drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage and share records of duty status (RODS) data. It was a boom for ELD software and hardware developers leading up to its mandatory 2018 implementation, but for smaller trucking organizations or industries with heavy trucking requirements, it was a costly migration to technology that required new business practices.

The same will be true for the new tax reform. As experts pour through the code, they are finding both its advantages and disadvantages to different groups. Discussions are rampant on its impact of the best business structures for tax efficiency, and what it means for individuals and their families. The fallout is enormous and seeps into huge swaths of business.

In a time of vast innovation, where society and industry alike are learning and evolving, it’s hard to predict what issues will gain momentum to drive new regulations and legislation. No one can avoid the cascading effect of new technologies, innovations and regulations, so businesses need to be able to pivot, incorporate and adapt appropriately.

For corporate executives and marketers, the regulations represent a platform for positioning as thought leaders and advancing a dialog on the real impact. In some cases, the dialog and expertise that shines enough light on the adverse effect of a regulation can take it out of play or create a new one that better addresses the objective.

Leverage the opportunity to be a thought leader

While it can be a full-time job staying up-to-date on the daily happenings in both state and federal politics, marketing experts should connect to the issues in their industries, as well as the proposed and impending regulations that are brewing. When aligned with their core business strategy or differentiated position in the market, they should formulate insights. However, it’s important to position these insights based on available data rather than opinions. To be credible, the analysis must be both nuanced and supported by objective information.

Rules of thumb:

  1. It’s important to strike while the iron is hot, but also be realistic about when the media is going to be interested in the subject. ELD media coverage spiked following the passing of the law, it waned for several months after, and then gained momentum once again as the mandatory implementation timeline approached.
  2. A great thought leader balances credible speculation and analysis with meaningful data. It’s important to eliminate all personal persuasions when architecting the thought leader positioning.
  3. While it can be challenging to keep up, finding a good media source and connecting to an appropriate industry trade association can help executives and experts stay informed up-to-the-minute on shifts in pending legislation and regulation.

Being in business means staying informed of what goes on in the state and federal arena. But, for the public relations strategy, this information and a company’s thought leadership around it can be shaped into a springboard that showcases expertise, attracts clients and provides critical insights for prospective customers.