Posts tagged ‘fleishman-hillard brussels’
Whilst we’d like to think that Public Affairs 2.0 was the only blog worth reading when it comes to the digital/public affairs/PR sphere it’s not the case at all! There are quite a few excellent bloggers at FH who blog in both a personal and professional capacity, and we thought we’d bring you a few samples once in a while, from Brussels to across the Atlantic.
Firstly staying in house; some of our regular contributors to Public Affairs 2.0 also have their own blogs, one of these is our Digital Strategist, Steffen Thejll-Moller. He writes here about the struggle to implement digital in public affairs, remember: don’t blame it all on the old fogeys.
Liva Judic is based a little further afield in our Paris office and describes herself as a ‘social media addict’. Her blog Merrybubbles is a regular upload of all things interesting and digi. One of her great articles is about the digital divide around the world and how mobile technology is being innovatively implemented in unexpected places.
James Stevens, whilst technically no longer a Euroblogger, now offers a unique European perspective on the goings on in Washington DC. His article ‘Neither the US nor the EU wants to kill its citizens’ takes a look at the transatlantic relationship in reality, especially in light of regulatory convergence. Whilst in his most recent article examines the line between government relations and public affairs, and how we can learn from each other.
But of course blogs take many different formats and not just personal perspectives. The FH London office clearly translates in-depth briefings into accessible blog format. For example, see their outline of the recent UK government’s spending review.
So I hope you enjoy sampling a little taste of where else the digital discussion about public affairs and public relations is taking place.
I’ve never been to Nevada before and I may be suffering from culture shock. There’s a well known phrase that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and I certainly don’t intend to give a lengthy explanation of the ins and outs of last night so I’ll skip straight to the campaigning…
We had to get up early to drive to the campaign headquarters. Our destination turned out to be a Tuscan-looking mansion about half an hour north of Las Vegas. Even though this state is basically desert, the house was surrounded by lush, green lawns and there was even a paddock with grazing fresian cows behind a rustic wooden fence that looked like it had been imported from New Hampshire. Very odd. We were greeted there by a friendly Democrat, Elena from California, one of the many out-of-state volunteers who have come to help out. She loaded our car up with Obama-Biden posters and coated our T-shirts with stickers before sending us on to the local campaign centre run by Sherri Grotheer an enthusiastic volunteer who runs a tight ship and provides all her helpers with more snacks than you can shake a stick at and has a husband who cooks a mean chilli.
We were briefed by another volunteer Dan, a local teacher who has been inspired to get involved because of what Obama has been saying about education reform. Dan gave us campaigning sheets with the names and addresses of who we should talk to, a map and leaflets and sent us on our way. The objective was to find out who had already voted so that we didn’t waste time bothering them with unnecessary calls and to encourage those who had not yet voted to get out and vote on Tuesday. Dan gave us the key messages to use on the door and he took us through the dividing lines with the McCain campaign. Once in the car we fought with the sat nav which only seemed capabable of giving us instructions in Mandarin.
We finally made it to where we needed to be and walked the streets for several hours knocking on doors and talking to voters. Their main concerns were the economy, the war in Iraq and taxes. There was plenty of concern about mortgage repayments and we passed many homes that had been reposessed. Most of those we spoke to had either already voted or were planning on voting for Senator Obama and as we listened to the radio in the car we heard the encouraging news that the latest polls were putting Obama on 49% and McCain on 43%.
McCain does have plenty of support here though and it’s certainly not yet in the bag for Obama. As a sign of this Michelle Obama will be in town tomorrow morning for a rally. Once we’d finished our work out on the doors, we came back to HQ and started to call registered Democrats to ensure that they knew about the rally and to see if they were able to come along. The local party is expecting a big turnout to see Michelle hope that the event will encourage more volunteers to get involved during the last last 48 hours. We’ll be at the rally in the morning so I’ll be sure to report back on how it goes.
It was Halloween when I touched down in LA yesterday. I’d heard that Americans like to dress up on 31st October, but I wasn’t prepared for what I was greeted with. A woman next to me at baggage reclaim was dressed all in black with multiple skull and crossbones tatooed onto her shaved head. Her friend had a bllood trail coming from her mouth and looked as if she’s just been punched. At first I wasn’t sure whether they’d had a fight and normally dress like this – I’m in LA after all, but my stares provoked a ‘Happy Halloween’, plus a broad (black toothed) smile from the faux pirate. This put me at ease – sort of.
I was met by a James – a volunteer from the British Labour Party – who has been here for the past week. We drove to Santa Barbara and James gave me a good briefing on his experiences and about how the Obama campaign has been going in this part of the country. On arrival we met John and Felix, two other Labour Party stalwarts inspired to take a break from work and join the campaign. Together we went out for a beer and to admire the Halloween costumes. There were some fantastic efforts but we were not prepared for the number of people who had decided to dress as Sarah Palin! http://gov.state.ak.us/
California is a true blue state and Obama already knows those electoral college votes are in the bag. However there are lots of local candidates like Hannah-Beth Jackson who is running for California’s state senate and has a tougher fight on her hands. I met Hannah-Beth at a rally on Saturday morning and was impressed with the way she inspired the 100 or so volunteers who had turned up for a day’s campaigning. She told me her prioities were investing more in reneweable energy, demanding higher local taxes from the multinational oil companies who operate out of the state but currently pay little or no tax and focusing on improving health and education policies. There was a high level of enthusiasm amongst the volunteers some of whom told me how they’ve been using the internet to inspire people as has been happening all over the US The volunteers were joined by state congresswoman Lois Capps and Pedro Nava the local state assembly member, both of whom are also running for reelection. You can find out more about the campaigns of all of these candidates by checking out the Santa Barbara Democrats site.
After posing for photos with a cardboard cut out of Senator Obama and picking up some memorabillia we got a debrief over coffee from Tim Allison, a Democratic delegate and the team leader of the campaign in Santa Barbara. Tim outlined how the campaign worked and explained the levels of organisation that link what is happening in Santa Barbara into the national campaign. Everyone I spoke to – many of whom were old campaigning hands – said that they’d never experienced anything quite like the level of organisation of the Obama campaign. His ability to communicate messages, to inspire and lead was, they said, a sign that an Obama presidency would be successful.
It’ll be four more days until we’re be able to judge if these enthusiastic activists are right and to know whether Senator Obama has what it takes to convince America that he’s the right man to lead them, but I know they’ll be working their socks off until the polls close at 8pm on Tuesday 4th.
We said our goodbyes to the Santa Barbara lot and set off for Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada is a swing state and so I expect the atmosphere will be quite different. There are high hopes amongst Democrats that for the first time in years the state will turn blue, but that remains to be seen.
I’ll be sure to post on what we find when we arrive and on how the last few days of the campaign develop in my part of the US.
FH Brussels team member Tim Nuthall is on the campaign trail with Democrats in California and Nevada in the last few days of this US election season. As a departure from our usual digitally related content, Tim has agreed to write a short series of posts on his personal experiences in the US.
Sometimes even Brussels public affairs consultants let their hair down and forget about comitology, co-decision and Commission communications.
After a hectic but hugely successful autumn, our weekly staff meeting today saw the unveiling of our latest digital project over some fine Indian food from a local Brussels takeaway. (Apologies if you were in line at the same place as our rather large order was bagged up and delivered.)
Wii has arrived in our office. You have to feel that life may never be the same again. Some of us may be looking for additional excuses to be late home or be here early. We may also see a sharp increase across all consultants in timesheet entries under the “digital practice group” activity code.
One key learning from today’s initiation was that the digital and real worlds connect but are not necessarily always aligned. In the virtual world, I am all muscle, play a vicious backhand return and have a habit of jumping ten foot into the air at the most inopportune moments. Our former real world UK junior tennis champ possesses none of these virtual skills.