With a mere six months at the European Parliament I in no way claim to be a Public Affairs specialist – but add my long career in international corporate communications I believe I have grounds and competence for at least asking the question.
The more I see the more astonished I get about the level and state of Public Affairs. In particular seeing that a good campaign is just as expensive as a bad but with the difference that a good campaign will reach your target.
And BTW, to our friends from “across the pond” – you can’t be self-congratulatory, your EU efforts often leave something to be wished for.
One recent campaign whose origins shall remain unnamed has stayed in my mind. It consisted of a colouring book (yes, you read correct a colouring book) and nicely coloured felt pens.
Whose idea was this? What was the thinking behind? In fact, I dare to ask the question WAS there any thinking? Did “They” think we at the office would use our spare moments colouring? Do “They” think that the MEPs would bring the book home to their children to colour? What did the sender hope to achieve? Where is the organisational integrity and stringency of message? Did “They” think it would give their organisation a young and fresh image?
And more important – have “They” bothered to get to know their audiences? My impression is that question can be answered with a No.
A few figures: the book was 10 pages of good quality paper. As far as I could see it was distributed to 754 MEPs. 10 x 754 makes for a lot of pages. There were four felt pens, another 4 x 754. Wouldn’t be wonderful having a budget like that?
What happened is that I kept the pens and threw out the book. And then the “best of all” occurred to me – the sender hadn’t printed their name on the pens.