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How does industry communicate in the EU Bubble?

After years of working in Brussels, we’ve quickly come to find that there are really just six types of industry-led EU communications campaigns.

While some of these can naturally get mixed and matched, it’s still possible to see distinct ‘buckets’.

So, before we jump into the list, a couple of caveats:

  1. Yes, we could get academically geekier with the names in this list, but we’re instead choosing to present them in the simplest possible terms. It’s better that way, no?
  2. EU institutions or institution orgs we’ve worked with are not included in this list. And while NGOs are included to some extent, they are not totally reflected either. We’re mostly talking about industry here.

And with that, let’s get into it.

1. The “imagine a world without us” campaign

This is perhaps better known as a ‘value’ or ‘benefits’ campaign, and is often a go-to for industry associations to highlight their value beyond the obvious.


2. The “beware the unintended consequences” campaign

This campaign concept usually arrives on the options table quite late in the game, typically peaking around European Parliament voting milestones.


3. The “let’s bust some myths” campaign

This is employed when perception emerges in the campaigning org that falsehoods about it (or its subject matter) are dominating the discourse.


4. The “the data is clear” campaign

This campaign is typically built around a new piece of research with a few central data points that offer proof that the central claim of the campaign is true.


5. The “this is what we stand for/how we are adapting” campaign

This may be the proto version of what those outside of Brussels might call an ESG campaign (or even a brand campaign, but don’t say “brand” in Brussels – it sounds too soft to policy types!). Also worth noting: this type of campaign is often released on a slow drip.


And while it’s the last one on the list, it’s certainly the most common one – drumroll please…


6. The “we’re all in this together” campaign

This sentiment is in some way part of nearly every single campaign we’ve been a part of. It seeks to show that a cacophony of voices are aligned, and that “we need to get this right and, generally speaking, we all hold the same principles dear.”

It speaks to the shared belief in the “European project” which every serious stakeholder is expected to have. It’s also reflective of the relationships org leaders have with their audiences. Because Brussels is made up of literal micro-policy communities, audiences tend to not be faceless personas, but rather relatively accessible first-degree connections.

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