MONDAY 12 JUN 2017 4:31 PM


The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has come a long way since its post-war conception. In 1949, its collective signature was prefaced with one goal, “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” To that aim, NATO has remained largely true to its word; America remains in, Russia fervently out, and Germany, when it comes to NATO’s 2014 pledge to spend 2% of GDP on military spending, remains comfortably down.

In recent months, the intergovernmental military alliance has had much to define itself against, namely, Donald Trump’s unrelenting attack on its existence during his presidential campaign, an arrogance marked by the president’s brash display of muscle against Dusko Markovic, prime minister of the newly accepted NATO member-state, Montenegro, in a recent NATO meeting. In addition, the Balkan nation’s addition sparked further tensions in Russia, along with igniting longstanding divisions amongst Montenegrins.

However, the recent meeting on May 25 also made headlines for other reasons. It marked the first major NATO-wide branded communications campaign in almost a decade. Developed to improve the global understanding of the organisation’s purpose, #WeAreNATO was developed by PR and public affairs firm, MHP Communications, alongside Agenda, a corporate communications agency based in Washington DC.

The campaign’s principle focus seeks to establish a core solidarity between NATO allies, a body that is defined by 29 independent member countries. Maintaining global security through international alliance is a key pillar of the organisation, a notion reaffirmed in the recent NATO meeting. Translating this, MHP and Agenda’s development of #WeAreNATO illustrates the unity of the organisation through a collaborative portfolio of communications, including digital and multimedia content, print and broadcast. Above all else, the campaign’s primary goal is to showcase the organisation’s efforts in promoting social and diplomatic cohesion, military cooperation and control, as well as international crisis response.

Tacan Ildem, NATO’s assistant secretary general for diplomacy, says, “NATO has been essential in maintaining peace and security in Europe and North America for nearly 70 years. In times of uncertainty and unpredictability, a strong NATO alliance is more important than ever.” Additions such as Montenegro contribute to the growing value of NATO's global structure as an organisation, and implementing a branded communications strategy has to be inclusive of each country's idiosyncrasies and unique international presence.

Matching Ildem’s sentiments, Gary Neale, head of design at MHP Communications, says, ““Based on in-depth NATO research and conducting our own testing with key member state countries, we produced a 'We Are NATO' campaign toolkit. Success relied on the toolkit being owned and adapted by each member state, giving them the freedom to conduct their own research and produce the appropriate materials that would resonate with their audience.”