With a new European Parliament and European Commission, 2019 is a significant year in Brussels for the EU institutions. It is also an important moment for trade associations and their members looking to ensure they remain relevant to their target audiences, drive value for their members, and effectively represent their industry’s interests during the new institutional cycle and beyond.
To better understand the communication trends, challenges and opportunities, we conducted an audit of 50 European and international trade associations headquartered in Brussels. These ranged from big and well-resourced organisations to smaller ones, spanning a wide range of sectors and industries. Our Brussels Leadership Navigation Study identified 6 key opportunities for successful strategic engagement in this new political landscape:
- Develop an organisational and industry narrative that goes beyond current issues and policy demands, is framed within the broader socio-economic discourse and has a strong link to the global SDG debate.
- Be brave and adopt a more creative approach to your campaigning, including the holistic use of digital channels and social media.
- Identify those influencers that really matter to your core organisational issues beyond the regular groups and Brussels, including integrating omni-channel mapping into your stakeholder identification toolbox.
- Undertake a foresight exercise to go beyond what you know and better understand the likely and unlikely scenarios for the future of the industry, and build a content strategy based on a genuine vision and thought leadership position.
- Listen to the landscape and join conversations around the key issues of your organisation and beyond.
- Establish a clear understanding of how your key stakeholders best respond to receiving information, through which approaches and platforms, and create “digital first” content to engage target audiences in meaningful discussions.