Nicolas Teisseire coauteur livre « Le lobbying 100 questions », paru avril 2022 éditions Afnor.

“Lobbying leaves no room for error”, Marketing and Sales



It is not uncommon for the interests of a company to be threatened by a general administrative decision or the adoption of a law. It is then a matter of survival to have to defend one’s interests. But lobbying doesn’t really get good press with the general public. It is therefore necessary to act with great caution, and prepare your strategy upstream.

In his book “Lobbying in 100 questions”, Nicolas Teisseire, specialist in public relations, gives keys to bosses struggling with these issues. In particular, he provides advice on anticipating possible problems with institutions.

Why and how can lobbying be interesting for a company?

Half of the companies whose turnover exceeds 10 million euros take part in lobbying actions. This gives an idea of ​​the importance that practice can have. A distinction is made between “grasstop” lobbying, which has the specificity of targeting actors in power, and “grassroots” lobbying, which rather targets the general public. Each time, the goal is the same: to defend the interests of its activity. In any case, it is always more efficient to take part in a joint action with others !

How can you find out about the various initiatives to defend the interests of your sector?

There are many organizations and professional unions that defend the rights of companies in a sectoral way. We can advise business leaders to monitor the Internet in order to know the environment of their sector, at national level, but also at European level. Contact can then be considered.

These structures can have a very large scale, such as the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), which represents the continent’s car manufacturers, or the much more specialized general association for wadding and dressings. Their mission is to carry out concrete actions with representatives. Participating in their financing is already a first step in the defense of one’s interests.

How to define your company-wide lobbying strategy?

You have to know clearly and precisely who is on your side and who is not, then try to convince the people who disagree with you. It is a complex and time-consuming job, which leaves no room for error. It can be interesting for a company to surround itself with people whose core business is public relations. Often, the boss can outsource the skill, and recruiting is of little interest.

How to assess that the chosen strategy is bearing fruit?

In the medium or long term, we can for example measure the effectiveness of “grassroot” lobbying actions by commissioning opinion polls. Concerning “grasstop” lobbying, it will rather be a question of estimating the concordance of the current situation with the ambitions of the company. They can also be measured in the number of people contacted. However, I believe that the business leader must keep a distance: to be effective, you have to leave enough leeway and time for the strategy to bear fruit.

What elements should you pay particular attention to when lobbying?

I recommend that business leaders do not act Pavlovian when their interests are threatened, even if companies face crude lies from institutional actors. A direct reaction may be perceived as aggressive, even threatening and damage the image of the company or an entire industry. When you perceive a risk, you have to act in a thoughtful way, surrounding yourself with specialists in order to maximize the effectiveness of a future action, without taking any backlash.

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