We have already talked about how to take on the role of Dissemination and Communication leader in European projects. Our experience with the PERCEIVE Project has allowed us to put into practice activities involving the involvement and comparison of European regions to make the results of the project more useful.
The dialogue with European regions
The Management authorities from the Cohesion Policy and regional stakeholders are important figures in the realizing the objectives from PERCEIVE. This is why we have coordinated alongside the Università di Bologna, a series of workshops in European regions on case studies, in order to:
- Give back results of the research which in part, the authorities have contributed to – thanks to focus groups held in early 2017
- Receive feedback and discuss with them what activities obtained positive results, and which instead could be improved on.
These meetings are aimed at co-creating policy recommendations and guidelines on the communication of European projects, which will be published towards the end of the project. In this way, the end users who will benefit from the research will have the possibility to bring their contribution as “insiders”.
The state of the art of communication on Cohesion Policy
The two Italian workshops were held on April 19th alongside Regione Emilia-Romagna and on May 15th with Regione Calabria. BAM! supported the University of Bologna in distributing the results of the part of the PERCEIVE project that concerned the analysis of communication strategies on European funds and projects at a regional level. We have put our approach into practice, which has always led us to look at the public. The first question we asked, albeit a little provocative, was – Why should citizens be interested in the communication of European projects?
Often the Managing Authorities find it difficult to communicate the results, because citizens are distant and untrusting of institutions, especially if they are European. Is language and tone of voice used right? Are we correctly identifying the needs and interests of the recipients of our message so that they can appreciate and see the results of the Cohesion Policy more clearly?
To take the necessary steps to get to know more about the impact of European funds, to transform citizens into ambassadors, is no small feat. However, on the basis of the results of the research from the PERCEIVE project, it emerged that, in general, there is no clear method to achieve effective communication in terms of precise targets and that doesn’t use language that could be a barrier. When the regions were asked “Who are the targets of your communication?” The categories mentioned were very wide, for example, there was often talk of a general public. Difficult to find the right kind of language or channel, when the target belongs to such a generic category!
During the workshops we also questioned the choice between an emotional or data-based communication, commenting on the focus on the choice of specific targets: for example, if the target does not have the tools to interpret the data, communication through infographics will not be very effective .
It is therefore a challenge, but the solution is not to stop communicating. The job that BAM! did with PERCEIVE was useful to the research itself … Why should you be interested in PERCEIVE?