The advertisement and campaigning strategy determines the success of a campaign. Targeting the right audience with focused messages is crucial to engage people and reach the campaign’s objectives. Some “traditional” campaigns in the social field send negative messages, such as the classical image of a small child in Africa who is starving. Such messages, while they could be effective and hit people in the past, now are just too overused to have any kind of impact, if not on those who are already aware of the problem. It is instead useful to look at how multinationals promote their products, and think how to use this kind of capitalist tools against capitalism. That’s when the concept of social advertising came out.
Building a campaigning strategy
Setting the objective: it has to be measurable, which is however different from quantifiable: it can even be very abstract, but it has to be possible to measure the success of the campaign. The measurement of the success can be indeed quantitative and/or qualitative: it is possible to count the people reached, but also to see if and to what degree they are getting engaged in the subject.
Deciding the target: establishing to whom the campaign is addressed. It should not be people already aware and convinced of the issue, nor those who have a strong opinion against it, who cannot be convinced through a campaign and can instead make it fail. The ideal target should be people in the middle, who are not aware or do not have a strong opinion on the subject.
A useful tool to define the target is the concept of “buyer persona”. It is a tool usually utilized by companies: a fictional, generalized representation of the ideal customer, that allows to understand the concerns and needs of the public and tailor the contents accordingly. In a campaign, it becomes the representation of the target audience, that enables campaigners to personalize the message, which would be too general and not reach people otherwise.
The contrary of a buyer persona is a “negative persona”: people who have a strong opinion against the issue of the campaign, that have to be avoided. Even if different opinions around the issue can be welcomed, fanatics should be kept out, because they could take over all public spaces and take control of the debate.
Personas are created through researches, interviews, and also social media: it is important to see how people interact and get involved into some topics. In the construction of a persona, age, gender and background should be taken into account.
Deciding the campaign tools: a campaign can make use of offline and/or online tools. Through social networks, it is possible to reach today the majority of people. However, some issues have to be taken into account:
- Different social networks are popular in different countries, so it is important to choose the right one
- Not everyone is on social networks: if a campaign has a very specific target, such as old or poor people, it is not the right tool
- Direct contact with people in public events is usually more effective, even if less far-reaching.
Session “How to build a campaign communication strategy. Identify and comprehend audiences”
Marcelo Echeverría – Medios Comprometidos Campaign
Session “Building an international climate justice campaigns’ strategy”
Thor Markussen – Friends of the Earth Europe
Climate Justice – Download
Session “MSF Campaign & Digital Activities”
Luca Visone – MSF Italy
MSF Campaign & Digital Activities – Download