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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Politics 2.0: How The European Greens Are Embracing A ‘Common Campaign’

We were pleased to have the European Green Party’s Campaign Manager, Johannes Hillje, speak at this month’s Sustainability Communications Lunch. Johannes shared with us the party’s strategy for the upcoming European and national election campaigns.

What Is The ‘Common Campaign’?

Johannes and his colleagues have developed a toolbox for their national member parties. This easy to use toolbox offers templates and assets, which can easily be adapted to national campaigns.

The guidelines aren’t just visual either. Tonality is also addressed as purely positive phrasing on campaign posters could disengage voters in countries worst hit by the economic crisis. Therefore, the campaign messaging has adapted to include messaging that would motivate citizens to action.

The European Greens have published tools for activists to encourage greater engagement. A Facebook app allows supporters to create and share their own ‘campaign posters’. This open-source political campaign model mirrors the Green Primary campaign in which any EU citizen could vote online to nominate the Greens’ lead candidates.

The campaign team also embraces memes in their marketing, which makes the Greens one of the more forward-thinking European political parties in their social media campaigns.

There are risks, however. Key messages could get lost through the viral approach because media control is lost up to a certain point. However, this is offset by having engaged citizens and activists spreading the Greens’ messages on social media.

There is a risk of mixed messaging from the user-generated material as it is not clearly labeled as such. However, the Greens think it is worth the risk to engage European citizens in the voting process. 

What Next For An Open-Source Campaign Model?

This flexible approach to communications could easily be adapted for trade associations, NGOs and umbrella organisations, allowing for consistent visuals with widespread brand recognition across a range of markets. The Greens’ campaign is also predominantly online, which makes budget stretch further and is infinitely ‘shareable’.

As the Greens are engaging in the 2014 European election not just on traditional environment and energy issues but by taking a strong stand on democracy, youth, digital rights and equality, their inclusive approach looks set to resonate with a wide range of disenchanted voters.

Blog by Richard Delahay, Communications Assistant at Brussels-based sustainability communications and PR agency Sustainability Consult.

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