Communications strategy: European Commission Social Innovation Competition


I led the team delivering communications for the European Commission’s European Social Innovation Competition over three years in partnership with Nesta, Kennisland, Impact Hub and Shipyard.

The 2016 competition was a response to the refugee crisis and sought to inspire and support social entrepreneurs to help refugees and migrants integrate into Europe. I put together a pan-European communications plan using skills from across different teams combining branding, PR, digital media, design, film and events.

Developing sensitive messaging around a highly inflammatory topic was really important from the outset, our focus was on finding positive solutions and opportunities to promote integration. As an international project we collaborated with partners around Europe to help localise communications tools and reach specialist communities and audiences.

This project demanded a flexible mindset and rigorous coordination – the brand and messages needed to sit well with the European Commission but also speak to the most passionate activists and innovators.

At the launch we brought together a fantastic programme featuring  discussions with social entrepreneurs working with refugees from all over Europe, the event was oversubscribed.

Our launch film was watched by 120,000 people across 19 countries – reaching new audiences from Rome to Romania.

We used Twitter and Facebook to reach those working in the social innovation space or with refugees. Our Europe-wide PR campaign achieved 78 articles and over 5,000 people have signed up to our regular newsletter.

The competition attracted over 1,000 entries in just six weeks. Read about the winners.