Airbnb on the birth of a new brand of pan-European grassroots lobbying

On 22 November, FleishmanHillard had the honour of hosting the official launch of the Grassroots Professional Network – a sign of the growing momentum of a uniquely European brand of grassroots lobbying in a fast-changing European political landscape.

Georgina Browes and Sergio Vinay from Airbnb are absolute trailblazers in this space and explained that you can’t just show up to your user base when you have a regulatory problem and ask them to sign a petition.

airbnb grassroots lobbying

Georgina Browes, Airbnb

You have to put in the work to build an actual community and not just in a digital way. Getting the on and offline mix right is the only way to make this work.

“You have to give up control,” they said “in a real community not everyone agrees all the time and you have to accept that.”

airbnb grassroots lobbying

Sebastian Rodriguez, GPN & Rollout Democracy

Grassroots Professional Network Europe (GPN Europe) and Rollout Democracy founder Sebastián Rodríguez also explained to the group that the power of movements is only truly unlocked when the organisations “leading” stop trying to over-engineer everything:

“You have to provide them the structure, but then leave the rest to the members of your community. What they say may not be 100% ‘on message,’ but if it were then you probably wouldn’t really be doing actual grassroots work”

  • Brett Kobie

    Brett heads up digital, social & creative strategy for FleishmanHillard’s European Union office in Brussels, which works across sectors to combine deep policy expertise with innovative, creative communications. A seasoned transatlantic public affairs professional and strategic digital communicator, Brett has split the last 15 years...

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