Revitalizing Europe_ Volume I
iAbstract: The European Union is in a deep crisis of public support. Recently, this has been shown in the negative outcome of the British referendum on the future of the United Kingdom in the EU and rising Euroscepticism across the European Union in general. This paper draws on David Easton’s concept of political support stating that a political system such as the EU needs the support of its members in order to persist. Easton’s ideas are combined with the concept of destination branding. It is argued that an EU-branding campaign could be a tool to revitalize Europe, to stabilize and to regain public support for the EU. Marketing techniquescould be used to improve the citizens’ attitude towards the EU. However, it is made clear that branding can be considered as a challenging tool in political contexts. This paper therefore attempts to make several recommendations, which would need to be taken into account for the conceptualizationof an EU-branding campaign. Moreover, based on a SWOT analysis of the current state of play of the EU-brand, different strengths and opportunities of which the EU could make use for its branding purposes, as well as weaknesses and threats, which negatively influence the EU’s capability in being or becoming a brand, are highlighted.
Key words:European Union, EU-branding, nation-branding, communication, marketing, Simon Anholt, systems theory, political system, public support, diffuse support, David Easton, SWOT matrix