Thought Leadership

Making a Local Impact in 2022

January 19, 2022
Drew O'Brien

The start of this new year was supposed to brim with the realization of a truly post-pandemic world – offices filled with colleagues, the restart of in-person collaboration, local businesses and vendors thriving with the return of the workforce, travel for business and pleasure back to pre-2020 levels and attendance at so many “regular” things we long for – like concerts, movies, and sporting events – which mark a certain rhythm of normalcy for all of us.

But as we have seen several times over the past 22 months, a new variant, this time, Omicron, has reignited debates about masks, testing, and vaccines. Some of us have perhaps missed the moment to contemplate that, in just over two months, the world will enter its third year of life in a pandemic.  

Despite the division that seemingly surrounds us, we should take a moment to think about how far we have actually come in these past few years – the public health heroes in our everyday midst, breathtaking commitments to philanthropy by businesses of every size, and random small acts of kindness in helping neighbors, family and friends.  The overwhelming response to the tornadoes in Western Kentucky last month is just the latest example.

From a business perspective, if there is one major takeaway from our collective experience of the global pandemic, it’s that people have developed a newfound talent to be more “work-productive” where they live.  Relegated to home offices or makeshift desks in our kitchens and dining rooms and connected via technology platforms which are now a permanent part of our professional vernacular, I think it’s safe to say we all rose to the professional occasion.

While the pandemic has forced all of us into our local places these last few years, we’ve witnessed a paradigm shift over the last decade in how business gets done, how and where policy is made, and where reputations are won or lost. It’s at the local level, and that’s what Direct Impact helps you do because local is our business.  

The news is noisy, and there are a lot of places to get that news – social media abounds with information and disinformation. Yet, local news audiences continue to grow and, according to a Pew Research Center poll last August, 75% of Americans say they trust information from local news organizations more than other outlets. Similarly, many people find that community leaders and local elected officials are their most trusted sources of information. Amid the polarization and divisiveness that has tragically come to define the national political climate, local stakeholders are viewed more and more as stewards of unity and cooperation.  

Direct Impact’s network is poised to help you evolve, cut through the noise and division, and ultimately get to the heart of what you need to do to move the needle on your organization’s reputation. We specialize in identifying who to talk to, how to talk to them, and how to tailor messages to specific communities. With our seasoned team of grassroots strategists and the largest network of in-market experts in the U.S., we execute state and local campaigns that reach every community, media market, and political jurisdiction nationwide. Our deep relationships and firsthand market insights allow us to localize campaigns and provide our clients direct access to the media and stakeholders that matter most, while helping them with both their reputation and purpose along the way.

Companies that embrace this evolution will be better positioned to move people to take action, support brands, and effect change.  

At Direct Impact, we are where you need us to be, and we are where your work is. Our network is positioned every day to keep you ahead of issues and reputational threats. Today, we are redefining what it means to engage a community — consumers, policymakers, constituents, and organizations alike —through 21st century grassroots and purpose-driven communications.

Drew O'Brien is the President of Direct Impact (DI), the nation's leading grassroots firm, and a member of the BCW Group of companies. Drew works across the BCW Group of companies to develop a comprehensive suite of offerings for clients that need grassroots, lobbying, and policy solutions as part of their reputation efforts. Drew also serves as the lead for BCW's business in Boston and throughout the Northeast region.

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Have a local issue you need to address? Looking to engage the right audience in key communities?Want to reach consumers and policymakers at a hyper-local level? Direct Impact can help.

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