Posts tagged ‘trade associations’

ECPA and the value of blogging in Brussels

Our lunch event on trade associations and the use of the internet the other week turned out to be interesting for all sorts of reasons. While our own experience on this blog and that of Pat Cleary, our US colleague, was clearly a draw, the real value was the exchange of experience between participants all fighting to persuade internal audiences of the (pretty obvious) merits of online communications in a Brussels public affairs context. Hopefully some more trade association blogs will spring up as a result.

Chief amongst those sharing their experience was perhaps Brussels’ foremost trade association blogger, Helen Dunnett. Helen is the eCommunications Manager (cool title) for the European Crop Protection Association. She writes the association’s blog, which is available on wordpress platform as well as on the blogactiv platform. Happily on the back of our discussions, Helen agreed to answer a few (ok, lots) questions about her experience to share with you all on this blog. Unsurprisingly, she has a lot of interesting insights so we’ve posted her response in full to all our questions.

Why did ECPA decide to start a blog?

The blogging site,, was launched in March 2008 as part of our new online communications strategy. We created this information portal, which is separate from ECPA’s public website, to bring together the different perspectives on pesticide legislation and use, be it press coverage, the latest reports or events or discussions in other blogs, into one place online. I’m the only one writing or recording blog entries right now and my blogs are intentionally unbiased because I’m not an expert on the subject, but I’m on the hunt for regular guest bloggers with reasoned and informed viewpoints to contribute to the debate. So any pesticide lovers or haters reading this, please feel free to contact me!

Another objective with is to bring the pesticide industry out from behind those factory walls and feel the ‘breeze’ of public opinion. It’s a way of showing them the conversation taking place online, direct from critics, the misinformed, opinion leaders or previously unknown allies, so it’s also an internal communication exercise. My industry is quietly proud of it products and their contribution to Europe’s sustainable food supply. I’d be overjoyed if they starting blogging too to explain in everyday language why they are happy to work for the industry, because they have an important and honest story to tell. That goal will take a bit more time and I am currently concentrating on recruiting non-industry content providers.

Not only is there a blog on topical issues, we also have incoming news feeds with unmonitored positive, neutral and negative pesticide news and comment. We have a Delicious plug-in so I can tag good quality news articles and blogs with simple key words as they get published. This is to help visitors read up on subjects connected to pesticides and make an informed opinion for themselves, rather than be unnecessary worried by yet another ‘pesticide porn’ story… you know the kind, cancerous pesticides found in wine, NGOs just forget to add that even after drinking 200 litres of wine in one go, it’s completely safe….. from pesticides residues anyway! (more…)

May 18, 2008 at 10:06 pm 4 comments

Event: Harnessing digital for your Brussels trade association

Pat Cleary, speaker at Brussels trade association event

After trailing this in several recent posts, it’s our pleasure to announce the “Beltway Blogfather” is here in Brussels at the beginning of May. As we’ve been harping on about the use of digital by Brussels based trade associations, Pat Cleary (pictured), our SVP Digital Public Affairs in D.C., will be appearing for one lunchtime only at our FH offices on 5th May to share his experiences.

Anyone who works for a Brussels trade association is welcome to attend (and to do so for free). Further information about the event and how to register can be found here.

Another event that is bigger, brasher and with canapes/champagne is in the pipeline for June to present some (hopefully) interesting research that FH has been subjecting helpful consumer/citizens to on how the internet changes the way they take decisions on political issues and candidates. Details in due course. All interested parties will be welcome.

April 8, 2008 at 11:49 am 1 comment

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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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