Report of participation of Juliy Morozov in the IAF seminar
“Towards shaping and communicating a political "Brand": the marketing of and campaigning with political ideas”
Participation in the seminar on political branding in Theodor-Heuss-Akademie was one of the highlights of the late 2016 for me.
Following are some thoughts about what I remembered the most and the lessons we could implement here in Ukraine.
- The approach. When German political parties get money from the budget and spend it not only for a party development, but also for their own foundations (Friedrich Naumann Foundation is the partner organization of FDP – German liberal party) for similar educational projects. Accordingly, people from all over the world have access to these projects, not only German citizens – potential party members and electorate. By doing so, they do not only promote the Party’s ideas, but they also build a network of loyal young politicians and civil activists around the globe.
- “German quality”. 12 days of training, 23 participants from more than 20 countries, visits to Dusseldorf and Cologne, 3-day trip to Berlin, invited teachers for some lectures – everything was running like a clockwork. No failures or delays. At the same time the main moderators of the seminar – Wulf Pabst from Germany and Marike Groenewald from South Africa – did not give the impressions of “German machines” for delivery information, but were flexible and diligent to adjust their material and preparations to the target group.
- Group energy of diversity. A wild mix of cultures – from Lebanon to Honduras, from Uganda to Argentina. From 24 to over 50 years old. From leaders of their countries’ top parties to young civil activists. The program was quite intense. However, all these things have created a good working atmosphere. And not only for this seminar. Most of the participants continue to communicate and some of them are planning further common projects.
- The venue of the Academy. We can only dream about such a great institution in Ukraine. A multistory building on a hill in the outskirts of small Gummersbach. Very interesting architecture and design. Everything is nicely arranged – living rooms, lecture rooms of different sizes, a cozy lounge with a fireplace and a bar in the basement. So, as you understand, nothing distracts you from the process of studying. When somebody in our country – either at the level of government or individuals with money – will start to understand it is vital to invest money into such educational projects – the changes will go much faster.
- Similar problems of absolutely different countries. Shadow economy of Tunisia, populists in Brazil, savage battle against drug traffic in Philippines and even so-called “DNR-LNR” of their own with a long history between India and Pakistan… When I, the guy from Ukrainian Kryvyi Rih, discussed these topics with the colleagues from other countries, I understood how little we know in Ukraine about what really happens around the world, and how similar the challenges are before the politicians regardless of the continent. I think in fact, this is the paramount value of such events.
- And, about the political branding directly. The moderators’ approach was quite interesting and innovative at some points. Meeting people involved with the topic from different sides was really helpful and left behind some interesting ideas. Starting from the leadership of the Berlin FDP office to representatives of a high-powered advertising agency, which developed the FDP’s most recent campaign, or the top managers of Volkswagen, who are gradually bringing their brand back to life after a powerful blow. I will not share everything, so that the knowledge acquired will remain the competitive advantage of the "People’s Power" (“Syla Lyudey”). We do not have oligarchic money, so we have to win through the knowledge, skills and dedication. As for branding of our party – during the workshop I got convinced we do have a great potential for growth and I am sure it will be soon obvious to everybody. We already have been working on this.