Public Sector Entities Spending Heavily to Manage Narratives & Reputations

No public sector agency wants to look bad. No official in charge of a public sector agency wants egg on his or her face.

That’s why agencies and leaders alike are always at pains to present themselves in the most favorable light possible.

However, accentuating the positive and minimizing the negative is no easy task. It requires strategic framing of narratives and artful crafting of messages, plus plenty of post-dissemination monitoring to measure the impact of those communications on the intended recipients.

Accordingly, bid and RFP activity for deliverables related to public relations, media relations, video production, social media, and more continues to climb—with no let-up in sight. Here is our analysis of the opportunities that await vendors eager to offer products, services, and solutions to government entities determined to win applause, avoid opprobrium, or both.

Public Relations

The number of government requests for help with public relations has skyrocketed since 2016.

20:00 in Spain. Quarantine. COVID.

Public relations—or simply P.R.—is basically the art and science of managing relations with the public. A primary goal is to convince people to adopt a favorable opinion about something (such as an agency, the people who work for it, or the ideas the agency advances). Another main objective is to shape people’s views about policy matters or potential courses of action (such as the introduction of a new law or ordinance). Still another is to repair damaged reputations, rehabilitate tarnished images, or mitigate bad news.

The services of P.R. practitioners are in big demand because government entities have never needed more than now an excellent ability to communicate strategically with constituents, stakeholders, and decision-makers. Indeed, the fate of agencies—or at least the size of their budget and scope of operations—increasingly hinges on how compelling a story they can tell.

P.R. practitioners use a variety of tools to tell those stories—a few examples include press releases, talk-show guest appearances, hosted community forums, push-polls, and schmoozing with media gatekeepers and other opinion-influencers.

The following is a BidPrime overview of monthly bid/RFP activity, specific to “Public Relations”, during the past three years.

SAMPLE ACTIVE BIDS / RFPs

Media Relations

If it seems to you that government agencies can get media coverage without really trying, you’re right—but you are at the same time also quite wrong. Some agencies do in fact have an easy go of convincing the press to frequently spotlight their work. The reason, though, is usually because of the importance of these agencies or their stories. A secondary reason is that these agencies have cultivated good working relationships with reporters, editors, bloggers, broadcasters, and the like—friends in media high places, in other words.

Other agencies aren’t so fortunate. They provide services of a more mundane nature or can tell only stories of limited newsworthiness. For them, attracting media attention requires considerable effort. But attract it they must in order to ensure that the public learns of the agencies’ successes and vital role in making life good for their constituents.

Accordingly, such agencies are turning as never before to media-relations specialists for assistance not only interacting with the press but also for pitching to them hot story ideas and for performing story background research as well as other tasks an agency might lack the staff or savvy to internally perform.

As you’ll see from the BidPrime data below, many state, local, and federal agencies are investing in media-relations services and solutions of all kinds. Here are a few of the variables we research and report.

SAMPLE ACTIVE BIDS / RFPs

Video Production

YouTube is the Number One most-visited website in the U.S. Take this as evidence that picture is indeed worth a thousand words and as proof that video-based narrative-telling is king! Government agencies know this, and it explains why the number of those that produce and share videos via their own websites, YouTube, and similar platforms is expanding.

Public sector entities have traditionally used videos to educate and train. Now, however, they are also using them to tell stories and build their “brand.” The challenge for them is creating videos that members of the public will actually want to watch. Meeting that challenge requires commercial-grade cameras, lights, microphones, editing equipment, and, of course, a skilled video crew plus writers, directors, location scouts, casting agents, and others.

The following analysis we’ve performed by looking back over the past three years will show you the video-production products, services, and solutions breakdown of total State & Local vs Federal government agency "video production" solicitations, along with release duration averages. Yes, timing is important.

SAMPLE ACTIVE BIDS / RFPs

Social Media

It’s astonishing, the number of city, state, and federal entities striving to leverage the power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms in order to disseminate information and ideas—and, increasingly, to affect if not outright control relevant conversations.

What's driving this is recognition among governments that the internet has for all intents and purposes replaced the town square as the place people gather to exchange ideas and engage in debate. Agencies see social media as an excellent mechanism for inserting themselves into those exchanges (or for getting them started), and then to shepherd those conversations in ways most favorable to agency positions or objectives.

Consequently, more and more agencies are turning to outside professionals for help managing their social media presence, engaging with followers, creating effective social media ads, developing viable social media usage policies, and interpreting through analytics the reams of data social media drops into their laps.

Take a look at the US regions with the highest bid/RFP activity, specific to “Social Media”, since 2016.

Speaking of social media, motivated by the quest for greater public safety and security, a growing number of government agencies and military/law-enforcement operators are shopping for social media monitoring technologies to help them thwart crimes and acts of terror. They see these technologies as an aid to tracking down social media users who issue threats or who utter sentiments that suggest a threat is in the making.

SAMPLE ACTIVE BIDS / RFPs

Can you help the public sector in telling their stories?

You know that we, at BidPrime, will keep an eye on what agencies are requesting and purchasing. In addition, we’ll track and analyze the continued growth of the various industries outlined in this report.

Are you interested in the bid/RFP activity, along with the relevant bid documentation? Visit BidPrime, call 888.808.5356, or email support@bidprime.com.

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