Designing new communication strategies for Cohesion Policy? PERCEIVE Project first insights
We have already discussed and assessed the low awareness of Cohesion Policy among Europeans. Considering the self-imposed benefit to every EU region, could it be that the issue is none of ‘doing good’ but of ‘talking about it’? Part of Perceive Project's research directly targets this concern. We asked to local managing authorities and other practitioners what they think is their role in communicating Cohesion Policy, and much more. Read further for an overview and download the short report curated by Vienna University of Economics and Business' team members!
Not a matter of 'doing good' but 'talking about it'
Cohesion Policy has achieved a lot, yet, somehow, this policy remains mostly unknown by its beneficiaries, the European citizens. In these first findings, we asked to communication representatives what is their stand on different aspects related to Cohesion Policy communication. 101 practitioners and experts, 77 participants were interviewed in focus groups, while 24 additional interviews were conducted individually, and another 62 communications representatives largely representing Managing Authorities.
Perceive's work package 3 aims at studying the effectiveness of Cohesion Policy's communication strategies and, at this stage, the team looked at it from five different angles:
- Success of communication. When is a project successfully communicated? Are Managing Authorities supposed to raise awareness of the EU?
- Barriers to communication. What are the obstacles that affect the success of communication strategies?
- EU communication guidance. Are they useful or just perceived as technical requirements? What are other helpful tools?
- Communication mix. What are the most used channels for each target group? What is the role of traditional media and new media?
- Storytelling. How important is to tell a 'good story' of projects' beneficiaries? What is the final message?
Highlights of the results
Concerning the role of Managing Authorities, it is remarkable that relatively low importance was given to building awareness of EU Cohesion Policy and increasing citizens' identification with the European project. Respondents felt that it was not part of their institutional mission. The EU bureaucratic language was mentioned as the strongest barrier to communication's effectiveness. Regarding the channels, social media are seen as useful only to reach 'young people'. However, are social media solely tools for young people?
These findings are still at an early stage. The next steps will be to investigate the role of new media in communication strategies, or emergent topics in identity-relevant discourse, which will help us to deepen our understanding of Cohesion Policy communication. The expertise of communication implementers represents a key contribution that will greatly enrich this part of our project.
Download the Short Report here.