Positive Publicity on a Shoestring: ARSA’s Advocacy for Contract Maintenance
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Despite its limited resources, ARSA leads the response to the assault on contract maintenance, both legislatively and in the media. ARSA is the primary source of information for lawmakers and congressional staff about how proposed legislation will affect the aviation maintenance industry. The Association has participated in numerous congressional and executive branch hearings and lobbying initiatives, establishing a strong presence on Capitol Hill. The Association also encourages grassroots activism through its Government Affairs Committee, ARSAaction.org, and its political action committee (PAC).
Quantifying the Industry
In 2008, ARSA launched the Positive Publicity Campaign (PPC). The first step gathered data to benchmark public opinion about aviation maintenance to help the industry understand the scale of the PR challenge it faces and guide message development. The results found that although key audiences (i.e., voters and “inside the Beltway” opinion leaders) do not hold strong opinions about our industry (favorable or unfavorable), the more they learn about contract maintenance, the more likely they were to oppose legislation hostile to repair stations. Thus, the research confirmed that a PR campaign could be effective and underscored the need to develop economic data to support key messages.
Defending the Aviation Maintenance Industry in the Press
Through the resources of the PPC, the Association has drastically increased its media engagement and expanded its public affairs profile.
ARSA has developed a media monitoring program that scans news of interest to the industry. This has allowed the Association to be more aggressive in responding to negative reports. Conversely, it has also provided the capacity to spread positive news that highlights the economic success and safety achievements of repair stations. The Association has dramatically increased its outreach to members of the press, working to build the kind of long-term relationships that will enable our industry’s positive story to be told.
In 2011, ARSA established the PPC PR Committee. This committee is made up of media and industry experts from those companies that have made substantial multiyear commitments to the campaign. The PR Committee guides the PPC while recommending ways to improve outreach and engagement.
ARSA is continuing to expand its media profile and looks forward to continued efforts to spread the word about the maintenance industry’s positive safety and economic contributions to global civil aviation.
For information about the impetus behind the PPC, please see: Why You Should Support the PPC
For details about ARSA’s plans for the PPC and how you can get involved, click here: A Strong Offense is a Strong Defense: Enhancing ARSA’s PR Capabilities