Academic Blog platform - ECPR
The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) is a membership-based scholarly society with a rich heritage, international profile and trusted reputation in the field of politics and international relations. Mackman initially worked with the ECPR to carry out a rebrand of the organisation to coincide with and help celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020, and we were keen to continue our working relationship when approached to implement their idea of a separate blog platform.
The Loop is a stand-alone blog site with the aim to act as an accessible platform for debates and the understanding of politics. It does this by presenting cutting-edge research and competing perspectives on issues of political and societal relevance to an audience of the general public as well as researchers and policy stakeholders. Prioritising articles by member affiliates, The Loop also constitutes a new membership benefit, at the same time as raising an author's profile and giving them greater visibility for their research. We worked with the ECPR to plan, design, and implement The Loop from insight to launch.
- The ECPR was founded in 1970 and quickly became the leading European academic association with a mission to advance political science.
- Based in Colchester, Essex, they have over 300 institutional members in nearly 50 countries.
- Since they were established, they have grown a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive international network to help the world understand and benefit from the critical importance of political science.
- The ECPR initially approached Mackman to refresh their brand as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.
- Mackman worked with the team at ECPR to implement a brand roll-out plan to support the launch and celebration of their anniversary year, with a solid foundation of insight from the many stakeholders within and outside of the organisation.
- Following the rebrand, Mackman designed and implemented 'The Loop', the ECPR's new blog platform.
Promoting political understanding
Founded in 1970 by a group of twelve founding European universities, the ECPR is the leading scholarly society for political science in Europe. As part of their mission of furthering the understanding of political science, the ECPR offer a range of resources to those working within the field. From the offering of training and learning support to the organisation of forums and research development networks, in addition to the issuing of grants, they also run a prestigious publishing programme aimed at promoting the latest research to a global audience.
ECPR approached Mackman in 2020 to provide support with the separation of their website and blog resource. Following our support with their brand redevelopment the previous year, the decision was made to further this process through the separation of their website and blogging platform. We have since built and launched their new blogging platform which is bespoke, easy to use, and geared towards the output of high quality literature. Initial names for the site included 'Polinator' and 'Anchor', but 'The Loop' was eventually decided upon due to the relevance of keeping people informed, inviting readers to become part of a continuous cycle of education.
Establishing an authoritative platform
Our knowledge of the ECPR as an organisation and its audience was still fresh in our minds when they approached us in early 2020. However, further insight and strategy planning was needed, as a key aim of this site was to encourage the wider distribution and sharing of the ECPR’s new blog platform.
The scope for their blog content was intended to reach out to a wider audience of non-academic readers with an interest in politics as well as the academic community. The process of building the site involved a number of considerations. We aimed to create an identity which worked cohesively alongside their new brand image. This entailed the use of clearly linked visual language, while making sure that, as with the main ECPR website, the content came forward to make the site what it is, not the branding. We also worked on defining the user experience from the front as well as the back end of the site.
This ensured a smooth and intuitive experience for readers, while also aiding the editors and contributors in managing the content. A significant part of this process was the construction of a custom workflow system. This involves a multi-stage process, whereby the editors subject each article to a thorough assessment process before it can be given the green light for publication. This process manages the output of blog posts and promotes consistency throughout the site while also ensuring the quality of all content passing through it.
The Loop reaches out to scholars beyond the ECPR's membership, as contributors and readers. Published pieces are just as accessible to academics working in a different field as they would be to an informed member of the general public. Using clear branding and links back to ecpr.eu, the blog expands the reach of ECPR within and outside academia. After supporting with the testing, launch and post launch of The Loop, our support is ongoing.
Our input to The Loop includes a brand toolkit and templates which can be used in the process of training and site maintenance. We have produced a brand-consistent, user-friendly blog website which achieves its aim of political education on a global scale.