About Baron Public Affairs
Jonathan M. Baron founded the firm to liberate innovators from political risk. Baron applies a methodology focused on mastering the strategic competition of interests and has advised members of the Fortune 10, several of America’s largest privately-held businesses, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Prior to his private-sector work, Mr. Baron held senior staff positions on campaigns and with leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Baron’s team of strategists and analysts draws on vast experience at the nexus of politics and business. Project areas include energy, financial services, food, defense, healthcare, hospitality, retail, taxes, technology, trade, and transportation, among other sectors.
Political economy increasingly defines the business environment.
The growth of ideologically-driven activism and the expansion of the regulatory state present profound challenges. The rate of government intervention has accelerated and market participants seek to leverage policy to undermine competitors. This dynamic has unleashed a “crony cannibalism” that politicizes business decisions, resulting in the misallocation of capital and imperiling innovation.
Political risk solutions depend upon three elements: acquiring the information required to understand the competitive issue environment; developing a strategy based on this assessment; and deploying tactics commensurate with the strategy.
Conventional approaches to public affairs interfere with these essential components of successful public affairs: service providers overwhelmingly operate business models based on programmatic offerings, irrespective of client needs; information gathering and strategy represent costs, not profit centers, for most political consultants; and these biases corrupt strategy, distorting spending decisions and undermining outcomes.
The Baron Approach
Three core principles define the approach of the firm: tactical neutrality; deep learning; and critical empathy.
Tactical Neutrality. The firm neither offers tactical services to clients, nor accepts finder’s fees or commissions of any kind when recommending vendor-driven solutions. This tactical neutrality aligns the incentives of the firm with the best interests of clients and preserves the integrity of objective, fact-based strategy development and implementation. The prioritization of strategy in advance of selecting vendors protects against the conflicts of interest that often compromise the ability of clients to access political risk solutions.
Deep Learning. Baron reveals the authentic source and dimensions of a client’s political risk. The firm’s approach: ideas matter, and individuals formulate and disseminate ideas in specific and coherent patterns. Navigating this world of ideas involves understanding and mapping intellectual landscapes to focus on influencers. This “political ethnography” yields unparalleled understanding.
Critical Empathy. The methodology of the firm demands that the analyst must combine in equal measures support for the client and objectivity. A deep desire for the client’s success must coexist with a willingness to identify flaws and vulnerabilities. In this respect, the firm operates simultaneously as a defender and critic for the sole purpose of providing the best possible counsel. This posture defines for the firm the obligations of a trusted adviser.