'Councils must learn from big business'

Local councils across the EU should band together to develop a pan-European campaign to help improve PR skills, according to local government PR experts.

The campaign, proposed by LG Communications, would include a set of core actions that all European councils would take on board in order to better inform the public. It would also help build understanding within councils of the role of national and European government.

The recommendations are contained in an open letter to the chairman of the European Federation of Public Communication Associations (FEACP), Pierre Zemor.

The letter also calls for councils to learn more from iconic blue chip companies such as Virgin, Chanel or Coca-Cola in order to communicate their brand and reputation across the world.

LG Communications chair, David Holdstock, argues that councils should take on comms practices of the private sector and use them to promote local government.

Holdstock wrote in his letter: 'If we build strong and trusting relations between the citizen and local government, it is easier to build understanding of the role of national and European government, so effective local comms is the gateway to good European co-operation.

'A general campaign, co-ordinated through FEACP and other bodies, would be a way of achieving this goal. This campaign would have to agree a set of core actions that all European councils should take to better inform the public and build trust in its actions from northern cities such as Helsinki in the Baltic through to Athens on the Mediterranean.

'In a modern environment we can learn from the best in the commercial world. Global brands such as Virgin, Chanel and Coca-Cola all have iconic status and they communicate their brand and their reputation globally. We should learn from this and adapt it to public service,' he said.

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