FleishmanHillard has provided a full range of advocacy and communications support, as well as the secretariat, to the European gas industry’s GasNaturally initiative since the beginning of 2013. Founded in 2011, GasNaturally brings together six gas industry associations in Europe to communicate the benefits of natural gas in Europe’s long term energy mix towards policymakers and those who influence them at the European Union level. The associations represent the entire gas value chain, from Exploration & Production to gas distribution and retail. These associations are EUROGAS, European Gas Research Group (GERG), Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), International Gas Union, and Marcogaz.
With six different associations representing the natural gas industry in Europe’s capital, with different and sometimes contradictory policy priorities, the industry needed to ensure that it had a common platform to communicate the benefits of its product and the policy needed to take advantage of them. After the first full year of its existence, GasNaturally turned to FleishmanHillard in order to move beyond simply talking about the benefits of gas towards winning the argument for natural gas with policymakers.
GasNaturally is working with FleishmanHillard to implement a programme of activity that includes:
- Message Update: A full day facilitated messaging session to ensure that the current message set is robust and can ‘win the argument’ for gas. These messages were tested with the target audience to benchmark progress and provide feedback on their effectiveness.
- Policy point of view: The development of a view on key policy dossiers for GasNaturally that complements the viewpoints of the associations and provides a basis for dialogue with policymakers.
- Gas Week: The organisation, including content, speakers, logistics, of a series of 6 different events in a week within the buildings of the European Parliament in both Brussels and Strasbourg.
- Other events and outreach: A series of site visits and information sessions focused on assisting the industry in explaining how it works to policymakers and those who influence them.
- Media outreach: Outreach to media covering EU public policy around key policy issues and developments over the course of the year.
- Online activities: The revision of the current website and the implementation of a social media strategy in support of the initiative’s goals. This includes online advertising targeted at policymakers within the Brussels environment.
Within just three years, GasNaturally has become the reference point on natural gas in EU Brussels. Its flagship event in the European Parliament ‘Gas Week’ has become a true signature event for the gas industry to engage with policymakers and has provided a platform for politicians to step up as natural gas ‘champions’. Meanwhile, Brussels based energy and climate journalists turn to GasNaturally as a simple one-stop-shop for specific data and interview queries. Furthermore, a recurring tailored forum for Member State representatives has resulted in good cooperation with the respective Council presidencies. All in all, putting the natural gas industry in a good position to engage in the current 2030 energy & climate debate, using attractive and simple infographics to demonstrate the role of gas in the future EU energy mix. And in the meantime, keeping the momentum by the development & distribution of a digital newsletter and creating its first ever Twitter feed.