• Lobbying Tips: Make the Connection

    State Legislation Archives

    10 Lobbying Tips in Difficult Budget Years – And Just About Any Other Time of Year

    What you can do to help government officials

    No matter how many times we explain the facts to a planner, elected official or community group, it seems we start from scratch. When a project is denied and an appeal filed, we start all over again. what can you or your staff do on a daily basis to educate government officials about the benefit of signs and their significant positive impact on local economies?

    INTRODUCE OR RE-INTRODUCE OFFICIALS TO YOUR BUSINESS

    Invite them to your place of business so you can educate them one-to-one on what you do – so they can see firsthand your employees at work and the finished product you produce. Most officials have never been to a sign shop and really don’t have a clue how the manufacturing process works. Don’t wait until there’s a crisis to resolve or project pending, but build the relationship during down periods. Without fail, you will learn, as well, about their concerns for the community and how you might contribute or help out.

    Bottom Line: Get to know your elected officials.

    FYI: You might be asked at some point for a monetary contribution. That’s okay. Don’t over-commit, but give what you feel comfortable giving, if anything. And try to obtain participation from your customer and your community business groups, as well.

    TALK ABOUT SIGNS

    Explain to officials what signs do and how they work – not only the mechanical but the scientific aspects, as well. Be prepared, in three minutes, to show them – to open their eyes – to seeing signage in a new light. Be sure to distinguish on-premise from off-premise signs. Let them know you are not selling billboards, but on-premise business signage for identification, wayfinding and traffic safety.

    DEAL IN FACTS

    Evidence is key to proving your point. Let the facts speak for themselves; don’t the other side put forth false or misleading information.

    STAY THE COURSE – CLARITY OF MESSAGE

    Although it’s obvious, while small talk is a good ice-breaker, a well organized presentation with a short agenda that shows your issue clearly and concisely will reflect favorably upon you and your business as the knowledgeable “local expert,” i.e., the go-to person when it comes to signs.

    • Be respectful, and stay on point.

    TELL THEM: SIGNS GENERATE JOBS, REVENUE AND TAXES

    The economic data on the economic power of on-premise signage is overwhelming. Whether based anecdotally on customer comments, or using empirical research from an appraiser or university study, such as “The Economic Power of On-Premise Signage,” we can show without question that signs have a significant, meaningful impact on the municipal bottom line, as well as merchant and sign companies.

    WORK WITH COALITIONS

    CSA often seeks out and participates with other allied groups when lobbying for or against legislation. In Los Angeles, for example, while we are spearheading the effort to protect signage and are the “experts,” we participate with two local chambers, a downtown group, the car dealers, hotel/motel association, the restaurant groups, building owner association, and even some local unions, to spread our message.

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    About Jeffrey Aran

    Sign law expert serving the sign industry and its customers for over 20 years, providing legal and consulting services to sign users, installers and manufacturers. Based in Sacramento, Practice Areas include Zoning; Land Use; Real Estate; Constitutional Law; Employment; & Business. Admitted to the Bar in 1989. Law Offices of Jeffrey L. Aran 1-888-SIGNLAW.

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