Political strategy and corporate communications agency Lodestone has launched a new affiliate network to equip clients with the political intelligence and policy expertise they need to achieve success across key European markets. The new affiliate network includes partners based in Northern Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and Brussels who will be added to Lodestone’s existing international footprint in the America, EMEA and APAC regions. This comes shortly after the announcement that Lodestone has been shortlisted for three awards at the upcoming 2018 PRCA Public Affairs Awards, including Consultancy of the Year.
With Brexit and complex trade negotiations on the horizon, and a new European Parliament and Commission taking office next year, Lodestone is expanding its international reach to offer clients pan-European public affairs and political risk advice. The affiliate network will be introduced at an event in London early next year, where they will provide analysis of the current political climate in Europe and discuss commercial opportunities and risks.
Martha Dalton, Managing Director of Lodestone, said: “The Brexit vote and the rise of populism in the past two years have fundamentally changed the political outlook in the UK and Europe, where many of the organisations we work with operate. The uncertainty that this has created will provide both opportunities and challenges for political communications experts. At Lodestone, we felt that now was the right time to grow our commercial operations in key continental markets.”
Fran O’ Leary, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Lodestone, added: “Political risk insights have never been more important to the success of our clients. The growing reach of our political intelligence across multiple markets will equip clients with a deep understanding of shifting policy landscapes. Our bespoke, cross-party teams provide unrivalled sharp analysis of this evolving political climate, allowing companies to take pro-active stances and confidently engage with Government, regulators and public bodies.”
The core members of the network based in Belfast, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Brussels have supported a wide range of organisations across their respective countries providing public affairs and strategic communications advice.
- Quintin Oliver is the Director of Stratagem, a Northern Ireland based strategic communications consultancy who established the company in 1998 following the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. Quintin led the ‘YES’ Campaign for the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement referendum in 1998, before developing Stratagem’s creative initiatives to serve organisations’ objectives, growing the company and enhancing its reputation on the cutting edge of public policy, strategic communications, training and campaign skills.
- Guillaume Labbez is President of CommStrat, a communications and public affairs firm he founded after Emmanuel Macron’s election in France in 2017. Before this, he was Associate Director of the leading French public affairs firm Boury, Tallon & Associés where he had a strong track record advising French and international clients across different sectors of the economy. Guillaume has previously worked for two French Prime Ministers as an advisor and has ran several high-profile political campaigns in France. He is also an administrator for a centre-right French think tank and the European Movement – France and teaches negotiation, public affairs and communication at Sciences Po Paris (Institute of Political Studies).
- jsk.berlin is a Berlin-based public affairs consultancy offering expertise in governmental affairs, political and strategic communication and public relations to clients in a wide variety of industries, including highly-regulated fields such as the IT sector, healthcare and defence. jsk.berlin works closely with clients to understand the political environment and impending regulatory changes in Germany in order to assess potential business impact. The team’s strong network in German politics and institutions assures clients have the latest first-hand information from key stakeholders and decision-makers. Lodestone works with Jan Strecker, the Founder and Managing Director of jsk.berlin.
- Open Gate Italia in Rome specialises in public affairs, strategy, regulation, media relations and digital PR. Founded in 2008, the company has a deep knowledge in various markets including telecommunications, broadcast, ICT, defence, digital, sport businesses and tobacco. Open Gate Italia works with institutions from the European Union to the Italian Parliament, local government, and sector-specific regulatory authorities. Lodestone works closely with Open Gate Italia’s CEO, Laura Rovizzi, an industrial economist and an expert in business development and regulatory issues.
- Tradepeers Ltd is a market access advice company based in Brussels and London. They specialise in explaining and interpreting Brexit for businesses – facilitating understanding and communication, helping businesses map their uncertainties and preparing them for a new legal environment beyond Brexit. Founder Sietske de Groot, is a well-known and recognised EU Single Market regulations expert. She has worked on EU legislation and trade deals throughout her career and is well-placed to anticipate what can be expected from UK-EU negotiations on trade, security, data and scientific cooperation.
David Wild, Chairman of Lodestone, added: “With a strong track record in advising international business leaders, companies and public figures, it is natural for Lodestone to expand our global footprint. This is an exciting time for our business and I am delighted to welcome these talented partners into our affiliate network. At the core of what we do is providing sharp political analysis and they will add unrivalled insight for the organisations we work with.”