Whether you’re a labour union, political party, or non-profit, here are four crucial ingredients to run a successful digital campaign: be remarkable, targeted, memorable, and engaging.
The shift to online marketing and digital organizing has been happening for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated the digital transformation. With more and more organizations, companies, and brands upping their digital game, it’s getting harder and harder – particularly for smaller organizations – to get noticed.
Leah is Metric’s new Director of Campaigns and she’s pulled together some sure-fire ways to make sure your campaign will break through in an increasingly competitive digital world.
1. Be remarkable.
Our number one goal – regardless of the topic, issue, or organization – is to drive action that creates change. To do that, we need a message and creative approach that is provocative, fresh, and compelling. Think about some of the most memorable television or online ads you’ve seen (including classics like “I Am Canadian” or “Don’t You Put It In Your Mouth”). What makes them stick in your mind? Many of the most famous campaigns stand out because they made good use of messaging and creative content that stands out in some way whether by surprising the audience, evoking an emotional response, or tapping into the audience’s value system.
Recently, Metric partnered with the BC Building Trades on a campaign advocating for flush toilets on construction sites. The campaign tagline ‘Get Flushed’ is catchy and provocative while still communicating the ultimate goal of providing construction workers with flush toilets – yes you read that correctly, BC construction workers are currently being denied this basic workplace right.
Being remarkable requires you to know who you’re speaking to, or who you’re looking to engage so that your message and creative content can provoke the necessary action to achieve the change you’re seeking. In this podcast, Seth Godin talks about how being remarkable can attract the attention of folks who are the most likely to take up a new idea or a new approach. In turn, they influence the larger majority.
2. Target your message.
Traditionally, marketers have set up campaigns meant to reach the maximum number of people with a broad message that appeals to the widest audience. While this is a valid strategy, talking to “everyone” is often not the best approach. In fact, we regularly advise our clients to target a narrow audience with a clear, concise message that is tailored to their specific experiences.
Organizations like unions and non-profits should consider targeting their message to a smaller, more influential group of people in order to stand out in a noisy digital landscape.
By targeting a smaller group of people with a more direct, provocative message, you can give your campaign the edge it needs to stand out in an increasingly competitive digital world.
3. Be memorable.
Every campaign needs a message and content that resonates with your audience on both an emotional and practical level. A good campaign compels people to take action. So, if you want your audience to do something, or do something differently, you need a message that is memorable enough to stick in peoples’ minds long enough to affect their decision-making. There’s interesting literature on the topic but the principles are fairly simple: connect to where people are at, and give them a roadmap of where to go from there.
This video from the YWCA USA is a great example of a strong, compelling message designed to encourage women and BIPOC folks in the US to vote in the recent election. This video captures strong feelings, and compels viewers to act. I don’t know about you but after watching this I’m itching to head to the polls.
4. Engage your audience and empower them to act.
Digital campaigns in 2021 need to be much more than social media ads and microsites. Progressive organizations have enormous opportunities to build on traditional organizing techniques and apply them to the digital world. New tools are being launched everyday and a good agency can help you navigate which ones are worth adopting. Ultimately what we want is to empower our audience, our supporters, and our new contacts with meaningful actions they can take to help us achieve the change we’re seeking.
I can’t tell you how many times in my life as an advocate, activist, and campaigner I’ve been asked by volunteers, members of the public, and other supportive organizations the question “what can I do?” A good digital campaign answers that question before it is even asked.
Once you have folks taking an action, look for ways to engage them in further actions. For example, if they’ve signed a petition ask them to share the petition to their own social media. Once they’ve done that, ask if they have friends or family members that would also like to sign the petition. Once they’ve done that, ask if they’re willing to post a short video describing why the issue matters to them. Once they’ve done that ,ask them…well, you get what I’m doing here. There are infinite possibilities for ways to engage and empower supporters and even if we’re adopting new digital tools and online tactics, it all goes back to the basic principles of organizing.
The most successful campaigns go beyond the basics to maximize effect and reach people on a deeper level.
At Metric, we take a methodical approach to every campaign that includes clear goal setting, defined outcomes, a call to action, a tightly managed budget, a timeframe, and ways to measure success. We build on these foundations to help unions and progressive organizations run truly remarkable, targeted, memorable, and engaging digital campaigns.
Leah Ward is Metric’s new Director of Campaigns. Prior to joining Metric, Leah served as Communications Director for Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. She previously served as a senior advisor to Premier Rachel Notley as part of the issues management team for Alberta’s NDP Government. In that role, she worked on Alberta’s continent-leading Climate Leadership Plan, helped improve financial support for disabled Albertans, and helped negotiate a historic agreement with the Metis Nation of Alberta and the Metis Settlements General Council.