Posts tagged ‘MEP’

Why successful public affairs should be a bit like a Tom Cruise film

There’s a moment in the Tom Cruise film ‘Jerry Maguire’ when Jerry (Tom Cruise) comes back to his wife Dorothy (Renee Zellwegger) as she’s complaining about how much she hates men. Before Jerry can launch into his speech about why he loves her and why she should love him, Dorothy stops him and simply says “You had me at hello”. For some reason I was reflecting recently that you’ll know when you’ve been successful in public affairs when the next time your organisation meets a policymaker they behave like Dorothy.

As our EP Digital Trends survey illustrated,  public affairs audiences form views about the challenges that society faces and the way to overcome them through reading newspapers, going online and listening to other important people in their lives (including hopefully the people who elect them). The idea that in a meeting you are suddenly going to transform your audience’s view on an issue is just not realistic. After all, the only tool you have is argument and it’s hard to persuade someone who has already made up their mind that you’re not to be trusted and wrong. Meetings may be part of the process, but you’ll know when you been successful when the meeting begins with a discussion of how the issue can be solved not whether they agree that there’s an issue to solve. To achieve this I’d venture you’re going to have to think about your actions and your reputation, how far what you’re saying is resonating outside that room (in media, online and with others) and whether your audience has already received your message and internalised it before you step in the room.

James

June 7, 2011 at 9:45 am 2 comments

Tipping Over

A while ago tipping points were all the rage. Malcolm Gladwell’s book had captured the public imagination and points were to be seen tipping all over the place. I was reminded of this when I saw in our recent survey  that 24% of MEPs write a blog. My first reaction was, is that all? Here is an ideal way of reaching out to the European citizen, particularly the young, the majority of whom are not going to bother voting in the forthcoming election. Here is a way of personalizing the seemingly impersonal European Parliament and of bridging the democratic deficit. Why would an MEP not do a blog?

I suspect the answer to this is more apathy than antipathy, but I also expect the elections to be a digital tipping point. The world of politics was galvanized by Obama’s use of social media in his winning campaign and many of the new MEPs will have used similar techniques as they sought election. They will understand the technology, appreciate its ease of use, and be comfortably in the posting rhythm. Politicians are herd animals at heart and it won’t take long for an MEP not blogging (or tweeting) to be considered a digi-dinosaur. And nobody would want that.

Nick A

May 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Euronews on the digital trends study

European lawmakers underuse the internet according to new research. The findings show that while three quarters of MEPs use their personal websites to reach the electorate, only a minority understands the potential of using online technologies to help them interract with people. Only half visit blogs once a week or more, and two thirds have never heard of the social networking tool Twitter.

May 19, 2009 at 9:42 am 1 comment

Do MEPs tweet, blog and Facebook? We find out.

  * Description: Strasbourg, European par...
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Today we launch the results of our European Parliament Digital Trends Survey – www.epdigitaltrends.eu It examines how Members of the European Parliament are using the internet to communicate with their voters as well as how the same MEPs use the internet to inform their daily legislative work. As such, we hope that the results are interesting both for MEPs and for Brussels public affairs practitioners.

In summary MEPs are using the internet to communicate to voters but are not yet for the most part using all the tools available. No doubt MEPs have come a long way since the last elections, but there is still a road to travel.

For public affairs practitioners we believe that our results support the view we espoused when we started this blog 2 years ago. Like all of us MEPs are going online for information to inform their decisions. To be effective, our public affairs strategies need to integrate digital communications into their toolbox of tactics. Digital can not replace traditional tools such as contact programmes and media relations it complements them, rendering our activities more effective.

On the microsite  www.epdigitaltrends.eu you will find the following:

  • Our main results with supporting statistics
  • An e-brochure
  • A full report
  • A library of downloads, including graphs and the raw data for you to make your own analysis and graphs
  • Commentary from MEPs
  • An opportunity for you to post your own thoughts
  • The charities we supported in conducting the research
  • The methodology we used – sample size etc.

In the coming days we shall be taking time to reflect on what the different parts of our results mean for public affairs practitioners in Brussels on this blog.

Thanks to all MEPs who participated and to the hardworking FH team who made it all possible (everyone in the office played some role but in particular I’d like to thank Mike, Reg, Veronique, Liliana, Julie, Carey, Aurelie, Tim, Michele, Jay, Clara and Rosie)

We look forward to your reactions to the results on the microsite and to having a debate on this blog about what our survey says about digital public affairs.

James

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May 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm 2 comments

EP survey fever hits us (and may be you)

For those who have missed it, we’re conducting a survey of MEPs and their digital behaviour. We shall be launching the results on a dedicated micro-site in mid-May. Lots of interesting data (we are currently swimming in pivot tables) from the responses we’ve collated in recent weeks for both MEPs and their staff and the PA community in Brussels and elsewhere.

In case you are feeling that you just can’t wait another couple of weeks and you need a EU survey fix today check out EU Profiler

The survey seeks to tell you where you fit on the political group spectrum -for this former MEP staffer it underlined some of the voting tensions I have experienced in all the elections I have voted in. For my colleagues, there was something of shock that I was still where I started out on the political spectrum.

James

April 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

Understanding the digital lives of MEPs

Eagle-eyed colleagues have spotted that French daily Le Monde cited this blog as a source in its profile of MEPs and what they do.

Well, some good news for those of you who want to know more about the digital lives of our European Parliamentarians. Fleishman-Hillard Brussels is currently engaged in surveying the digital lives of Members of the European Parliament. The audit is seeking to establish how far, and to what effect, MEPs in this Parliament are using the internet in communicating to the outside world in the run up to the elections and in informing their own views on policy issues in their daily working lives.

We shall be looking at everything from how many of them intend to use Twitter to reach out to voters, to how often their offices say they use Wikipedia to look stuff up. We are hoping that the results will be of interest both to MEPs themselves and to all those who are interested by MEPs – like us.

We hope to have the results of our research ready for public consumption in mid-May, at which stage they shall be made available on a dedicated micro-site.

If you are interested in learning more in advance of the official launch, drop us a line at the address below:

epdigitaltrends at fleishmaneurope dot com

We shall be keeping everyone informed through this blog and our twitter feed over the next couple of weeks.

James

April 24, 2009 at 11:03 am 1 comment

Bridging the EU’s Communication Gap?

As we all know there are millions and millions of EU citizens out there that feel a deep and distressing sense of emptiness and detachment from the EU legislative machine. Such citizens are just gagging to learn about the enthralling political dealings that occur here in Brussels and (as soon as extra hard hats are provided) in Strasbourg.

I am pleased to announce that their wish will soon come true! Yes, Europarl TV, a new web streaming service that this former intrepid intern has talked about before, is going live on the 17th September after a short ceremony in the European Parliament hosted by Mr Pöttering himself (we did of course get an invite and will report on its proceedings). So get ready for a collective sigh of relief from all four corners of the EU next week as all those citizens flock to their nearest PC and tune in to ‘Rapporteur’s Questions Time’ where they can learn all about issues such as the placement of plant protection products on the market and listen to those inevitable witty comments from their favourite MEPs.

To be honest, your friendly digital blogger has had a look at the working site and to give credit where it’s due (in this case to Michael Shackleton and his team) the site looks very promising and includes four channels with a wide variety of programming that in theory could cater to most of the public and not just us EU geeks. Feedback from a sample of EU citizens also proved to be very positive. Digital outreach will always be encouraged on this blog so don’t forget to tune in next week!

Digital Dave

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September 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm 3 comments

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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at www.fleishman-hillard.eu

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