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The PERCEIVE Project is a year-and-a-half old: tips and tricks for communicating a European project

By 12 February 2018September 6th, 2018No Comments

We’ll tell you about the challenges of communicating a Horizon 2020 project: BAM!’s experience with the PERCEIVE Project. We, as a partner in the coordination of the communication and dissemination of the project, have embarked on a journey full of incentives and great satisfaction!

All together: ‘partners come first’

The success of a complex project starts from meeting with the partners: the mantra is nurturing the dialogue and the exchange of ideas. Ask yourselves many questions and looking for answers together. The fluidity of internal communication is in fact paramount for external communication. This choice is not to be underestimated, especially during the first months of the project. However, it will all be worth it.

  • Deciding on the logo together. Collective involvement when defining the brand identity is the first step to creating a shared identity where the majority of partners are on the same page. Furthermore, keeping them informed about the work in progress of the website and requesting that content to be created collectively is important.
  • Internal mapping. Understanding how partners are positioned on social media and on the web helps to better plan the communication of the project without too much effort, and circumventing any structural limitations.
  • A common language. Finding management tools that can facilitate the work and task assignment, giving a clear idea of the timeline and deadlines. Investing time into learning how to use these tools (for example, the Cloud for file sharing and online project management platforms) will make things much easier during the project.
  • Speaking often on the phone. Transversal team building, through a conference call and involvement on social networks, is an indispensable element for maintaining relationships without losing the collection vision. In our case, we were able to organize more or less monthly virtual meetings, both to assign communication tasks and to open strategic debates.
  • Make them protagonists. On the PERCEIVE Journal, we created a format of interviews aimed at partners. Simple questions that allowed us to identify problems immediately: the reader can better understand what is relevant and can give character to a project that would otherwise risk remaining abstract.
Content editing and public awareness

Managing the communication of a research project is like trying to drive two cars at different speeds at the same time. The “communicator”, par excellence, can not wait: we share information as we go along, because immediacy is often an essential ingredient. Research, on the other hand, takes weeks or months before producing results and sometimes their validity is not certain. However, for a project like PERCEIVE, the added value and the responsibility of the person managing it is to raise awareness on how the European Union invests in this type of research so that there is a real impact. Furthermore, making people aware of the project whilst it is in progress allows us to reach as broad an audience as possible by the time it has ended, in preparation for the moment when the results are finally shared. 

How did we overcome these obstacles?

  • Target and language, who we are addressing and where they are located. The target of the Horizon 2020 projects is tripartite, so we decided to identify three characters (the so-called “personas“) that address, respectively, citizens, professionals in the EU and researchers. This escamotage allows you to tailor the language and the right channel for each one.
  • Content. In part this includes data – the bare and raw product of the research – and in part can be news, research and studies related to the themes of the project. In the first case we asked the researchers to highlight the most innovative and relevant aspects, then to package them graphically and stylistically.
  • A participatory approach. One of the main objectives of PERCEIVE is to provide guidelines on how to improve the communication of European projects. Our communication is therefore a key element in testing the involvement practices and greater awareness on the work of the European Union. We try to created questions, identity and membership dilemmas to understand how users are emotionally placed.
  • Participating in events. Bringing research where it can be reused and put into pratice to improve policy-making shortcomings. Live tweeting and stakeholder management within events allows not only to give visibility to the project, but also to meet professionals who can directly take advantage of research results.
  • Participation in events. Bring research where it can be reused and put into practice to improve policy-making
What it means to manage a social community
The strategy was rewarding. We started 2018 half way through the project, with excellent results on social media and website. On Facebook we exceeded 2,200 fans, reached 35,000 views and 400 comments. The central topic of the project feeds a debate that is already strongly present on the web. The highest engagement rate with the community was generated by the pools: we asked users to answer questions through Facebook reactions. The real challenge of PERCEIVE, however, is not only to stimulate dialogue, but to moderate it, referring to reliable sources and lowering the tone when necessary. The community management therefore requires constant research and information work, which allows us to communicate without imposing ourselves and without over exposing ourselves.

If you are interested in this, head over to the website and follow PERCEIVE on TwitterFacebook and Linkedin.