Trying to relate the European Union to people’s everyday concerns by “going local” has been a key objective of EU communications since the adoption of “Plan D” (Democracy, Dialogue and Debate) in 2005, following the French and Dutch no votes on the European Constitution.
But what does “going local” mean in today’s digital world?
Europe in My Region photo competition
This summer, we organised a photo competition to showcase some of the great EU-funded projects that are making a difference to local communities. Our target audiences for the competition included beneficiaries of EU regional funding, people living in or visiting regions that had received funding and photography enthusiasts.
We considered different platforms, taking into account the potential to connect with the different target audiences as well as the technical requirements for the competition (sub-categories, online voting, easy uploading and sharing of images, targeted promotion etc…).
In the end, we decided to use an app on the European Commission’s Facebook page as the main competition hub. This was backed up by a wider online promotion campaign using Twitter, Flickr, our main EU Regional Policy website, our regional and local partners’ sites, targeted e-mail announcements, posts on specialist photography sites and blogs etc ….
We were really happy with the results. The figures speak for themselves:
- Over 1000 photos submitted
- Over 10,000 votes cast
- Over 500,000 visits to the competition app on Facebook
- 46% increase in the number of likes of the European Commission Facebook page
- More than 500% increase in the reach of the Facebook page
It was great to be able to meet the four winners (Cristina from Romania, Marek from Poland, Simeon and Boyan from Bulgaria) in person, when they came to Brussels a few days ago during the European Week of Regions and Cities to pick up their prizes. You can see the winning photos on the EU Regional Flickr account.
If “going local” means reaching out to people where they are, then in today’s digital world that also means engaging with people online. These online communities may be geographically dispersed, but digital media provide us with new tools to connect with people who share specific interests.
Radio and the digital revolution
The main title of this post came to me after a conversation with Julien Mourlon, the founder of one of my favourite online radio stations, Laid Back Radio.
The radio industry has also been profoundly affected by the digital revolution. Historically, many radio stations have served geographically defined communities. Geographical location continues to determine the business and editorial model for many traditional stations. But the internet has opened up new opportunities, by making it possible for digital radio stations like Laid Back to reach out to global communities of people who share similar tastes in music.
You can find some great urban hip hop, soul, jazz, funk and Latin music curated by Laid Back on their 24/7 webstreaming radio and their cloudcasts on Mixcloud. Check out the video below to hear Julien telling the story of Laid Back radio and his other digital projects at the TEDx Brick Lane event in London earlier this year. Inspiring stuff!