1. Polity: Polity is the institutional system forming the framework for political action and covers the concrete normative, structural elements of politics set out in the constitution. Both written rules such as the constitution and the laws governing the voting system, the structure of the state etc. and unwritten rules form the framework for the political sphere. The most important unwritten rules in the broader sense include the political culture of a community.
  2. Policy: Policy is the content or material dimension of politics. It covers the objectives and roles through which political solutions are to be found to specific problems, for example in the fields of security, the environment or finance. Policy tends to be formed as part of a government’s political agenda. The outcome is known as ‘policy output’ and is the ‘visible’ result of political action even if it in some cases resembles symbolic politics. Policy issues are, as a rule, dealt with by the relevant ministries in the political system; the instruments, the procedure, the resources used etc. and the objective success of the individual measures are the key aspects of policy in analytical terms and often form the basis for external policy advice.
  3. Politics: in the stricter sense of the word is the procedural aspect of politics in general. Politics even in its narrower sense is the more or less conflict-ridden process in which both diverging and common interests and political views of varying provenance, initially in opposition, are over time consolidated and developed through negotiation to reach a concrete political goal. Such negotiations often involve political trade-offs and the outcome generally bears the marks of a compromise. Forms of politics in practice in this sense include parliamentary debate, coalition talks and election campaigns. One aspect of politics essential to lobbying comes into play in this process and it is almost more important for a lobbyist to have an exact understanding of the rules of the political decision-making process in question than to have the better arguments. Contrary to a view widely held by the general public, politics in a democracy is not a process in which the best argument (for example, in terms of welfare economics) ultimately wins through. Political decisions are in fact the outcome of a sometimes complex process shaped on the one hand by formal requirements such as legislative procedures, rules of procedure and accountability, and on the other by informal rules. Majorities, political opportunities and (not least) personal sensitivities, interests and ‘vanities’ play a not insignificant role in the latter. Anyone failing to realise that forgets that politics is created by people and does not emerge or exist in a vacuum.
  4. Corporate communications: Corporate communications  is the management of communication processes between an enterprise and the outside world. Corporate communications contributes to company value creation by creating and communicating images of the business. This allows harmonisation of the company’s own visions (mission statement) with external perceptions of the business (image), which in turn improves the company’s profile and thus contributes to value creation. External corporate communications consists first and foremost of public relations (PR). PR is aimed primarily at the company’s external environment, in other words consumers, horizontal competitors and other companies, and its main channel is the (mass) media. Content is usually designed to have a ‘scatter gun’ effect and often draws on aspects of classic advertising.
  5. Public affairs (PA): Public Affairs  targets the political sphere and a limited section of the public. PA is aimed mainly at administrative authorities and politicians and indeed also at non-governmental organisations (e.g. consumer associations, environment). At the heart of PA is the strategic management of information between politics and businesses on the one hand and society on the other. The main objective of PA is to develop and maintain constructive relations with politicians in order to gain an insight into and influence over the political arena.
  6. Lobbying: Lobbying, or representation of interests, is directed solely at politicians and administrative authorities. The purpose of lobbying is to gain a definite and almost measurable influence on specific political decisions. Successful implementation requires detailed advance planning and a thorough knowledge of the political arena.
  7. Government relations: Whilst lobbying can be aimed at individual decisions in the short-term, for example subsidy rulings (budget lobbying) or the award of a specific permit, governmental relations are a longer-term, more structural approach designed to influence legislative activity at State institutions. Governmental relations frequently begin before the actual legislative decision and may in some cases contribute to the entire decision-making process. That area of governmental relations aimed at the legislature can also be termed ‘legislative lobbying’. Communication in governmental relations is, furthermore, addressed specifically and exclusively at political decision-makers and opinion leaders (especially those in government) and at the executive; the target groups are party officials and the legislature and members of the executive. Examples include discreet and targeted contact, and direct communication with decision-makers identified or with the levels of the legislative and executive hierarchy involved; this is often done in person in confidential meetings.


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