The debate was facilitated by EURACTIV, a pan-European media platform focusing on EU policy news.
How does a global pandemic change public affairs in Brussels, the heart of Europe?
In short – a lot. Frederic Soudain, Managing Director of logos, discusses working from home, business development, online meetings and staying connected and continuing to thrive throughout 2020.
“2020 tested us here at logos but, we can say we came through stronger and more resilient. We quickly learned that remote working had a lot of potential. The new normal demands flexibility. We can now source staff and meet with clients from anywhere in the world. This broadens our horizons. At the same time, online working reminded us of the value of face-to-face contact. Concepts that take several laborious minutes to explain online might become evident in seconds in person – and there is, of course, no substitute for reading someone’s body language. Employee welfare is hard to monitor in this environment. At logos, we have made a conscious effort to check in and value our people as best we can. The world of public affairs has been shaken but not destroyed by the pandemic like other sectors – government regulation never stops. Yet there have been changes.
In terms of policy, 2020 and the pandemic have strengthened the Von der Leyen Commission’s agenda. In particular, the green new deal and the digital transition. Advocacy has relied on virtual meetings for the past year. One of our crucial rules, i.e. keep your message short and simple while making clear evidence and data available to your interlocutors is even more important when your delivery is via a screen rather than a face-to-face meeting. We are proud of how quickly we replaced around 15 planned half-day policy meetings in the EU institutions with 90-minute on-line workshops. More than ever, proactiveness and attention to detail are vital. From now on, even after COVID, we believe that sequential hybrid events will become more popular – people will engage virtually in the first phase and have face-to-face follow-up meetings afterwards to finalise specific processes and workstreams. We believe that the future of events and communications is a hybrid of in-person and online events. We are excited about what this new normal can offer. Social media is thriving, and many organisations have to revaluate how they use this tool in terms of the level of output and general messaging. We have been able to advise many clients and help them profit from this trend.
In conclusion, I am happy to say that logos continued to thrive in 2020, be nimble and learn from extraordinary circumstances. I want to focus on what we seek to keep from the pandemic if it was to vanish in the morning. Online working can give workers a great deal of flexibility, but there is no substitute for in-person contact. In future, we seek to set a consistent example of how we all can benefit from these changes.”