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EuropaBio - The leaked PR documents

Part 2




LEAKED DOCUMENT ON EUROPABIO PR STRATEGY
PART 2 of the leaked PR strategy from Burson Marstellar






Continued from Part 1


30. In summary then, we recommend :

Top of the chain (food and retail) : Independent from suppliers (and
each other)
Separation (choice) seen to be an option
Support/endorse regulators

Bottom of the chain:
Do not speak for the top of the chain
Defer to regulators
Do not be seen to fight separation
Concentrate region-wide on environmental benefits
Concentrate locally on economic benefits




Implementation

31. Focus of EuropaBio effort : the most urgent (and resource intensive) task in our view is to organise the bottom-of-chain media campaigns on environmental and economic benefits. Top-of-chain communications may require less direct EuropaBio effort and involvement 9althoug we stress their importance for the full strategy).

32. Pan European strategy & individual Member State implementation : The bottom-of-chain campaign needs to be conceived and planned in a regional framework, but actual media campaigns (for both environmental and economic benefits) will need to be tailored and conducted in target countries. This "localisation" of the stories is crucial not only to actually connect to consumers but also to overcome the perception that US interests have co-opted an unwilling Europe. The environmental and economic benefits need to be interpreted and portrayed through story-telling in the national mand local context, taking into account the cultural, historical and economic characteristics which determine public perceptions on the agri-food issue at those levels.

33. (For example, in Spain, the issue of water pollution is one of very few environmental issues of concern to the majority of Spaniards. Sensitivity on this issue is due in particular to historical water shortages. Media campaigning in Spain on the desireability of crop varieties requiring fewer pesticides can be effectively positioned to exploit this perceived vulnerability. However, such a specific positioning would be less relevant in Ireland, a country with an abundant water supply.)

34. We see the following countries as first priority:




Second priority include:



35. We propose that the campaign in the U.K. and Ireland be run three to four Weeks ahead of implementation in other countries, in order to ensure that lessons learned can be applied elsewhere.




Start-up and operational approach

36. using the Burston-Marstellere bio-issues network, we need to review the medoia coverage at regional and target-country level over the last eighteen months - essentially to pinpoint key media outlets and individuals. We will also need to review previous communications efforts made by EuropaBio, SAGB, ESBNA, and individual members, and individual members, in addressing public concern over agri-food biotechnology.

37. We will also need to review with EuropaBio task force members the list of forthcoming new agri-food sector applications, and to map them for their potential interest profile by country and for Europe. (For example, a genetically engineered Mediterranean crop would be dealt with differently from a northern european cereal.)

38. Story opportunities can then be slected and developed for both region-wide and local placement (keeping in mind that basic principles for generating news value and managing media relations). This will involve particularly indentifying both bio-industry and third party spokespeople willing and able to contribute to the story.

39. Effort will then shift to actual media placement for potential story. The mix will typically include a selection from trade press, and local, regional and national media, including print, radio and television.


A campaign plan

40. Hereunder we present a draft campaign plan to show how it would run in practice : Weeks 1-2Weeks 2-4Weeks 4-8Weeks 8-12Weeks 12-16Weeks 16-20Weeks 20-22CONGRESS Weeks 23-28Weeks 28-30
* Review of current jounralistic opinion in all markets
* Compile list of applications due into market place in the next 3 years
* Correlate with regions of use
* Prompt media use ion trade press of relevant sector
* Prepare economic and environment case
* Tailor case to specific regions of use providing local news hooks and personal story
* Place story with local/regional radio and press
* Collate coverage in a package to demonstrate "growing interest around the country"
* Present national journalists with evidence of interest and fresh 'national' story
* Introduce link to international congress
* Maintain 'firefighting' capacity for instant response to critical stories in all markets
* Stories now have life of own requiring managment rather than prompting
* Integrate with preparations for congress
* Prepare schedule of all journalists providing postive coverage Weeks 1-12
* Correlate speakers/experts at congress with coverage
* Prepare new follow-up story linking local story to international congress
* Seek local/regional coverage that has "taken off" on issue and convert into national story
* Take national stories with cross border application and use in other markets, having modified in the light of experience
* Ramp up reference to congress
* Sell in congress to media
* 'Teaser' release to all radio, TV stations in Europe
* Follow press release with sample local stories and description of remote facilities to conduct interviews with key congress experts
* Arrange radio interview schedule
* Prepare standard TV shots of congress venue and key speakers for distribution to TV channels for 'cut in' with local story
* Seek plots in 'specialist' programmes (farmers programs, science reviews, business news etc)
* Manage congress follow-up
* Provide guests from congress to prompt follow up stories in national, regional media * respond where appropriate to critical coverage
* press release an "astonishing response to congress" including tailored quotes eg., "Congress indicates huge economic growth potential of * Biotech in our area says Mayor"
* Collate total coverage for assessment
* Prepare draft plan for next six months with EuropaBio

Fee structure and estimate

41. Fees for the time if B-M professionals would need to cover involvement at the EuropaBio task force level and at the level of individual country campaigns. Fee estimates cover the time involved in the preparation, implementation and review of the agreed media strategy and all necessary expenses, including travel.

42. Actual fees will depend largely on the number of the countries targeted, as wel as the extent of the role of B-M core team professionals would be expected to play at EuropaBio level and in-country.

43. For fee estimation purposes, countries being targeted in the campaign are divided into two levels; factors used to determine fee level are market size, influence of media at both national and international level and importance of market to success or failure of bitoechnology in the agri-food business. We see the breakdown as follows:

Central Co-ordinating budgetCategory ACategory B
$400 000
$150 000 per country UK / France / Germany / Italy
$80 000 per country Spain / Ireland / Belgium / Netherlands / Portugal / Greece / Switzerland / Sweden / Denmark / Finland / Austria

A COMMUNICATIONS INITIATIVE FOR THE JUNE CONGRESS


Objective

44. The practical objective of this initiative should be media coverage of positive bioindustry stories before, during and after the Congress, but not media attendance at or coverage of the Congress per se.

45. In particular, EUROPABIO must at all costs avoid creating a media-centred event which will automatically draw protesting environmental groups to the Amsterdam venue. the result of that would surely be considerable media coverage - but inevitably focussing on the conflict surrounding biotechnology (the killing field). EuropaBio will have set the table and Greenpeace will have eaten the lunch.

46. Moreover, assembling a large body of non-local media in Amsterdam would entail logistical difficulties of no small scale, as well as considerable added time and cost, with no guarantee of success.


Practical approach

47. Keeping in mind the common principles outlined in section II, our practical recommendation is based on three factors :

48. Therefore :

49. We believe the primary target media should be radio, for three reasons :

The environment movement deliberately does not target the radio because it is difficult to attract attention i.e., demonstrations rarely get covered by the radio because they can't film them. Additionally, the radio, by its very nature, is verbal and this usually means considerably more cerebral than TV. the "packages" given to any particular issue are much longer. Sometimes by a multiple of 5 or 6 times. Which is precisely what we need.

There are far more listening hours than viewing hours right the way across Europe. This often comes as a great surprise to people but it is fact true. In other words we will get much broader coverage by concentrating on radio than by concentrating on TV.

Although we do not want to concentrate media interest on the Congress itself, the Congress creates an excellent news hook for the stories we really want running "back home". Furthermore it should be perfectly possible and manageable to schedule interviews with people attending the congress with radio stations all over Europe, This has three advantages : (1) the congress is referred to in all of the stories that play (2) we control the choice of commentators discussing the local story and the relevance of the Congress to it (3) the Congress link emphasises the European dimension of the local story and allows us to introduce the broader competitive issues in all of those interviews.

50. A similar approach can be taken for TV, relying on the daily feed to national networks of standard footage from the Congress, shot by us, to supplement related national interest stories already placed to run that evening or the following morning. Again this should generate considerable simultaneous coverage across Europe, but without the risks associated with the presence of live TV crews looking for conflict.

51. Finally, print media can be dealt with in a similar fashion (including down the line interviews), but we would not place strategic emphasis on recruiting their interest. A basic information kit can be distributed ahead of the event. Those who respond with interest can then be serviced.




Fee structure and estimate

52. It is difficult at this point to judge the degree of overlap/synergy in a scenario where the agri-food campaign and the Congress campaign run together through July (and where both involve Burson-Marsteller). Nevertheless, at this stage we offer the following estimate for the Congress approach described above, as a stand-alone.

Central coordinating budgetCategory A countriesCategory B countries
$100 000
$40 000
$20 000


53. The lower estimates for the Congress results from the differing intensity of the two initiatives : Congress work targets a period of media coverage of roughly a week, with preliminary work building toward that objective; the 6-month agri-food campaign seeks to catalyse rapid and sustained communication over a large portion of Europe over several months.



V. A LONG-TERM EUROPABIO COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAMME






Relationship between the three proposed initiatives

54. Assuming both the rapid start-up of the agri-food campaign proposed in Section III and implementation of the Congress-linked initiative proposed in Section IV, and further assuming that each is predicated on the common principles laid out in Section I, the two shorter term initiatives should lay a strong operational and experimental foundation for building a sustained, long-term communications programme.

55. We therefore strongly recommend that the twin initiatives leading up to and through Congress be considered together also as "Phase I" of the longer term programme. (The two running together may in any event be anticipated to consume all available resources through until the end of July 1997.)


Core components of long-term capability

56. This being in our view the sensible way to view the immediate future, the important question for the longer-term is what the core components of EuropaBio's longer-term communications capability should be. Moreover, despite the fact that we are now thinking about the longer term, some consensus on the answer to this question from the outset of the two shorter-term start-up initiatives will help channel those "Phase I" efforts muxh more deliberately toward laying the longer-term foundations. In short, we need to know where we intend to go from the beginning.

57. B-M have deep and wide relevant experience in the creation of sustained industry-initiated Europe-wide public affairs communications programmes. The first lesson we recommend to EuropaBio is simply that success requires significant commitment. The costs of true campaigning look high, but the magnitude of the potential payoffs are a multiple of the investment. In one highly relevant case from our experience, the public and market perceptions of the environmental liabilities of a particular prodct - fanned by concerted Greenpeace campaigning - had put it on a death-watch list in Europe. A three-year campaign funded by an alliance of competitors and upstream suppliers turned that perception around, to the point where today the product is widely seen as part of the environmental solution.

58. Beyond commitment, we strongly recommend the development of the following core components:

a. A fully-functioning communications strategy group within EuropaBio, and the operational resources necessary to go from strategy to effective action.

b. A hub-and-spoke network built around the strategy group and funded centrally but with the authority to allocate its resources to national level as a function of central strategy and decision-making.

c. Internally "neutral" operational leaders/spokespeople for the organisation both at the hub and in-country. At the EuropaBio hub, this role is by definition filled by the Secretary General. In-country, the assignment of this role may be less obvious (although National Association heads may be the obvious choice where present). This role can be effectively filled by the outside partner agency, as B-M has done in many different campaigns.

d. An institutionalised public attitudes research programme, to run at standard intervals.

e. A well-organised media service centre, ideally able to connect and communicate at national level on the basis of assets and tools run at the hub. The hub operation can be in-sourced or out-sourced (irrespective of where it is physically established).

f. The hub operation will normally oversee the development and day-to-day running of whatever common information and media-relations tools are created. these may include : periodical publications of EuropaBio; a EuropaBio website ; a Bio-industries database ; creation and dissemination of EuropaBio press communications ; central management of media contact lists ; periodic (ideally daily) media monitoring (perhaps off the back of members' existing capabilities ' a number of different models for this capability can be looked at).


The B-M role

59. The primary value of B-M over the longer term will be at the level of the central strategy group. the basic nature of the responsibility of this group will be ehat we at B-M call "perceptions management". This needs to be seen as a senior management discipline just like marketing management or financial management. And just as marketing managers typically partner with advertising firms, or financial managers with particular financial service providers, so perceptions managers benefit from the skills and experience available through sustained management with Burson-Marsteller.

60. Beyond the core relationship at the strategy and planning level, the assignment of any specific tasks to B-M professionals (or other third party suppliers) would depend entirely on the work to be done and agreement that B-M are the best choice for doing it.





NOTES: 1. (For a compelling view on the socio-pathology of public outrage, we recommend the work of Peter Sandman, the world's leading academic authority on its causes and how to deal with it. Peter also consultants public and private entities confronted with such difficulties, and was notably involved in the defusion of the Brent Spar crisis. Members of the B-M team have on occasion collaborated with him.)



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