One of the brilliant things about my new workplace is the visits we have from external campaigners who are winning change.
This week we heard from Stop Funding Hate, a group that started as a discussion on Facebook and quickly grew into one of the most exciting campaigns in the UK. So far it has managed to convince Lego, Paperchase and other highstreet brands to pull advertising from major newspapers that peddle hate by harnessing consumer pressure on social media.
One of the impressive things about the campaign is how effectively it communicates with its supporters. More specifically, how plainly it communicates how it’s going to win. Take a look at the first video Stop Funding Hate produced:
The video clearly and succinctly explains that there is a way to stop newspapers printing hateful headlines, and it is by appealing to those that keep them in business: the advertisers.
Arguably, in the face of declining loyalty to brands, we shouldn’t assume people will trust that we’ve got a good plan. I think people increasingly want to hear what the rationales behind our campaigns are. We need to counter some of the cynicism we’re up against, and convince people there’s at least a reasonable chance of success.
Another campaign I’ve seen communicate their strategy is 350.org:
By drawing comparisons with other social change campaigns from history, and discussing power and the interests of its opposition, Fossil Free sets out how it plans ‘to erode the institutional pillars propping up the fossil fuel industry driving the climate crisis’.
Another example comes from the US campaign for a $15 minimum wage, the Fight for 15:
I like how Fight for 15 fearlessly asserts ‘We will win’ on its website. Confidence is compelling.
Clearly it’s not enough to simply explain how we’re going to win, supporters need to also believe us. Ultimately it is up to them to decide if they think our issue is winnable, but we should at least be inviting them to decide.
Communicating how we’ll win requires that those of us inside campaigns are actually discussing our strategies with each other. This doesn’t happen as much as it should, and I’m sure we’ve all been in meetings were major assumptions have been made and assertions have gone unscrutinised (including by ourselves).
Luckily there are loads of great tools available to help campaigners strategise, such as the Powercube from Sussex uni, Chris Rose’s website, and 350’s strategy resources.
What examples of campaigns communicating how they’re going to win have you seen?