Posts tagged ‘pr’

Everyone loves a good story

The other day I attended an event on the Future of Mobility and Transport in Europe and a quote from an MEP, who was on one of the panels, got me thinking about ‘storytelling’ in public affairs. While discussing Intelligent Transport Systems, the MEP asked fellow participants whether they have ever thought – while having breakfast – where each of the items on the breakfast table comes from, and what journey they have made. What’s the supply chain of a jar of marmelade, where has it been and by which modes of transport? Were there any regulatory barriers on the way or were its travels facilitated by the existing legislative framework? Such a simple example or story can bring a discussion on transport to life, as it links the world of the audience to the issue.

In fact, one of the many challenges we face as public affairs consultants is talking about inherently technical (and dare I say, sometimes unexciting) topics to policy-makers. However, usually they have anything on their mind but the very detailed requirements of products A, B and C that can potentially have far-reaching effects on a client’s business – and ultimately, citizens. And when you’re looking for someone to advocate on your behalf, there are certain issues that will always gain support and others that, well, don’t. As an MEP, would you, for example, want to be the champion of a ‘single administrative electronic document for the im- and export of goods to/from the EU?’ Not a very imaginative topic perhaps, but incredibly important for anyone who supports the completion of the single market.

Following up to James’ post regarding the use of position papers (see: Time to throw away the trusty old position paper?) and the need to tailor material to what your audience cares about, rather than drafting everything from your organization’s perspective – I’d like to add the need to tell more stories. (Note: stories, not fairytales ;)). There has been a lot of buzz on this particular point in the PR realm and it is equally applicable to PA, see some excellent posts on this topic by our colleague Steffen on his personal blog (Get off your high horse – tell a decent story and Develop a content strategy to succeed in public affairs). Some of the perks of storytelling include:

  • It’s an easy way to avoid using overly technical or business jargon .
  • The exercise will force your organization to think out of the box.
  • Stories can create emotional involvement in an issue.
  • Stories provide the opportunity for a more personal and targeted approach.
  •  The method is refreshing and allows you to be creative – and your material will be more appealing as it stands out from the crowd.

Obviously with the usual caveat that on most occassions – straight up technical information, facts and figures are still desirable, but it is worth bearing in mind that real-life examples and stories can make your ‘characters’ come alive.


July 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Beware all PR drones, the Berlaymonster Strikes Back

One of the journalists at our table at the awards ceremony the other week asked why they didn’t receive as many press releases from FH as they do from other Brussels PR agencies. In a subsequent breath it was then noted that much of what they do receive from agencies in town is not of much use to them and goes directly in the delete tray.

One hopes that this means we are doing something right by being selective about the journalists we target and the stories we seek to pitch. If we are not, please tell us.

All this is to say that the Berlaymonster has an interesting post on a press release that they did not wish to receive. Interestingly, the fact that Berlaymonster wrote about it and that we are now doing so probably means it was a successful press release after all – all publicity being good publicity etc.


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November 17, 2008 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Been round the Brussels internship block one too many times?

Point size comparison of the typefaces Georgia...Image via Wikipedia

Clocked up some institutional experience (read internships)? Hold far too many Masters degrees in things that your mates back home can’t understand? About ready for gainful employment after far too long gaining nothing but experience? Well, you are not alone.

As with most of the large agencies in Brussels, we get sack fulls of CVs and covering letters – mostly spontaneous, some otherwise – looking for that first step up on the career ladder. Given the mountains of mail, how can you make sure that you get an interview?

Well, it just so happens our Talent Development people in the US write a regular blog on how to get your career off the blocks in the world of “p.r.” Albeit from a US perspective, the blog contains some pretty cool posts with a range of tips for anyone seeking to leap into the world of “pr”. Now beware our office likes to think of itself as “p.a.” – a subset of “p.r.” some of us would argue – but in any case the tips are still pretty useful for anyone thinking of crashing into our world.

While we’re on the subject, my own personal top three (self-explanatory) tips would be the following:

  1. Do your research. Speak to FHers (we like to talk) or people that know us, read this blog, surf our plethora of corporate sites, understand our services and our client base, what we think it takes to be good at what we do, what are the areas of our business are growing etc.
  2. Tailor your application. Your CV and covering letter should reflect how you are likely to bring value to our organisation and our clients. Here think about agency life and FH as an agency – in essence use the results of point 1.
  3. Get the little things right. Make sure you address the application to the right person (we had an applicant recently who addressed an application to FH to the MD of a competitor who sits across the street from us…not good) Check the spelling of F-H. Don’t use Times New Roman or make your CV look like it was written on a 1940s typewriter. Little things matter in our business and for our clients.

In any case, if you got this far, you probably are all wondering whether this post is completely off topic. Well if you’d been paying attention, doing your research so to speak, you’d probably have concluded that if you are (a) interested in EU public affairs/politics and (b) have skills/experience in the digital communications field in some way shape or form, you should be letting us know about your existence. We’ll leave that thought with you.

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July 23, 2008 at 3:19 pm 6 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

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