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How may EU communication be improved? Colour, Emotion and Empathy

Communication has become more multidimensional than ever. In almost any communication initiative, a fixed, colourful image escorts a text which is completed by a video whose sound will be a tube in the radio, and so on. Virality seems to be the new nirvana to be attained and the requirements of Social Media are the new Ten Commandments.

Are these rules applied to EU communication?

The answer is negative. EU affairs and projects are not a suitable matter to become immediately viral, because they lack of colour, emotion and empathy. Meaning by these concepts that:

– The voice in EU communication is neutral. It never shows a feeling, i.e. it is never angry, happy, anxious, tired, or sick… So it has not any colour on it.

– EU communication does not convey any clear call to action, it does not allow citizens to take ownership of the statements. In the contrary, they are chased by complicated formulas and self-importance of EU institutions. Emotion is also missing.

– EU communication only speaks about… EU. The local/ regional/ national/ social/ international levels are left to other media thus condemning EU to a monologue about its own importance, actions and benefits; ignoring the achievements of other actors and the synergies to be found. There is not any empathy.

So, how could the EU communication be improved?

The communication strategy has to be rethought in terms of voice. All three dimensions (colour, emotion and empathy) have to be imprinted in the tone and address of the speech and determine which and how media are used.

Some ideas will be:

– Taking advantage of international observations (International /EU Days) to promote the actions of the European Union, while, at the same time, interviewing the average citizens involved in that issue and /or recognising the shortcomings of the EU (if any)

– Including funnier images, questions and quotes. Do the Commissioners get angry? Is Mr. Van Rompuy sick anytime? Nobody is perfect.

– Avoiding formal /pompous language without falling into the trap of forced proximity. Being natural.

– Even if they are not funded /approved / blessed by the EU… speaking about similar initiatives giving a network perspective and leaning arguments on a multilevel, multilayer approach.

– Choosing useful content that reflects the daily life of the citizen and not the concerns of the EU. They are very different most part of the time.

As Orson Welles said: “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”

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