NATO can recapture the imagination of allied publics by telling its own story better and in new ways to new audiences.
About this episode
NATO is vitally important, but unless you work there, or at the Atlantic Council, you wouldn’t necessarily know that. For those who don’t work for NATO or follow it closely, the organization can seem like an indecipherable blob of bureaucracy and acronyms, a mysterious realm of complicated elite politics, or a major strain on national budgets.
The Alliance has a strong and active presence on the European continent. But it became a political punching bag for the Trump administration, and the misunderstandings about NATO, its mission, and its role in today’s world run deeper than campaign rally rhetoric. To secure its future, NATO must speak to that future—both in terms of its mission and its audience.
- 1:25: Bridget shares their elevator pitch on why they think that NATO should put itself back in the narrative
- 4:05: Livia and Bridget talk about the dearth of information about the Alliance among its people and why it needs to tell its own story better
- 6:16: Bridget talks about the Saturday Night Live (SNL) “NATO Cafeteria Cold Open” skit and how people see the Alliance
- 9:47: Livia and Bridget discuss the generational divide in their paper and why they think that NATO should learn how to communicate with young people about its story
- 14:06: Livia explains why people don’t see NATO’s military-focused public relations campaign as effective anymore, since security threats to NATO are no longer coming only from invading forces, but also transnational and hybrid threats like climate change and disinformation
- 15:02: Livia and Bridget discuss why NATO should expand its target audience and use modern storytelling methods
- 20:12: Livia talks about the Alliance as a proactive and adaptive organization, and how this can attract a younger audience
- 21:50: Bridget also talks about why NATO should change its story
- 26:04: Bridget talks about if NATO deciding to make climate change a major security issue will draw in more young people
- 31:34: Livia and Bridget talk about if the campaign to put NATO back in the narrative will serve all allies or if it specifically targets American citizens
- 34:29: Bridget and Livia share their thoughts on whether NATO has the creative bandwidth to operationalize their recommendation
- 35:50: Livia explains if NATO’s story will have resonance with post-Cold War generations
- 37:17: Bridget also shares her belief that more young people will care about NATO and its mission when they are given access to the information and included in the conversation
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Related NATO 20/2020 essays
NATO 20/2020 Oct 14, 2020
Modernize the kit and the message
By H.E. Dame Karen Pierce DCMG
NATO will only remain successful over the next seventy years if it modernizes its capabilities, takes command of emerging technology, and harmonizes its strategic messaging.
The Transatlantic Security Initiative, in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.