Getting over the b-word

Creative Publc AffairsPublic Affairs Tip: Know who you are, what you do and why you do it.

This post is a gift to all those people who get a little tetchy when the b-word’s mentioned. BRAND. Why not give it a go when you have a mo, it might help you express who you are, what you do and why you do it. What have you got to lose? Why not take the first step?

What’s brand?         

It’s what people say, think and feel about you. It’s the impression you make. Think Red Cross and Microsoft what comes to mind?

What’s does brand focus on?

Three main bits:

  • Your mission, vision and values.
  • Your visual identity (symbols, colours and design).
  • Your tone of voice (how you use words to express your organisation’s personality. Think BNP and Green).

How do you create a strong brand?

A start might be to:

    • Know who you are, what you do and why you do it. This should come through everything you do whether you’re updating your twitter account or presenting a formal fundraising pitch.
    • Be clear about your position and what sets you apart from others.
    • Bring your brand alive through words, images and colour.
    • Take people on the journey with you by sharing your vision and a common sense of purpose.
    • Make sure everyone’s on the same page including people who fund-raise, market, recruit volunteers, campaign and develop policy.
    • Be experimental, entertaining and engaging. We like brands that fit in to what’s important to us and what we’re interested in.

If you’ve found this useful, then why take a peek at this.

Please do keep in touch.

Creating social change: the power of optimism

optimismPublic affairs tip: Talk to your values not your feelings.

Welcome to the third and final instalment of this series. At the end of this post you’ll find a comprehensive Creative Public Affairs guide that explores how to engage effectively with secondary schools.

One of the joys of getting older is that you pick up a few useful insights.One of the biggies is learning that staying optimist and inspired helps keep you motivated .

Here’s some tip on how to promote a positive mind-set. Why not try out a few and tell me how you get on. I’d love to know.

  • Feed your personal energy. Stay inspired.
  • Repeat after me: Change is possible.
  • Talk to your values rather than your feelings. It helps you and others to engage with what really matters.
  • Always keep your destination in mind.
  • Keep reminding yourself that people can do great things together especially if you make the messages personal. Focus on people’s everyday concerns and interests.
  • Consistently talk about what you do and why you’re doing it. Again concentrate on positive messages that concentrate on action, impact, effectiveness, outcomes and benefits. Clock what people are paying attention to. There’s your hook!
  • Share your successes eg announce when you’ve arrived at one of your milestones.
  • Choose how you want to be seen. How are you communicating your project’s identity? Are you going to invite opinion/feedback on how things are going? Will you be promoting your work internally in newsletters, bulletins and social media?
  • Seek local news coverage when success happens.
  • Help other people understand how they can get involved in the work you’re doing and how they can make a difference in their local communities.
  • Finally, never give up hope.

After all: “What matters most is that we learn from living.” (Doris Lessing)

I hope you enjoy the Guide: May 2014 VOLUNTARY SECTOR GUIDE How to effectively engage with secondary schools.

Good luck! I’m always happy to promote good stories.

If you need any help on communication, lobbying, campaigning and working with the media, please get in touch.

 

 

 

8 ways to promote your cause using people’s stories

story 2Use stories:they’re a great way of connecting with people emotionally. Stories can be used many ways to help you promote your cause, for instance to:

  • Fund-raise effectively: Making things personal for potential donors adds the emotional wow factor by showing how you’ve helped someone or how you want to help someone.
  • Promote policy positions: Using case studies in consultation responses captures people’s attention.
  • Catch media attention:  Journalists are in the business of storytelling. So why not give them some fresh success stories.
  • Get an MP involved: With a face, a name and a story you can help politicians see how they can help someone in their constituency.
  • Engage with your local community: Stories are a great way of ensuring that people know what you’re up to.
  • Keep supporters happy: Success stories are a great way of keeping supporters happy.
  • Build alliances: Personal stories can help build stronger alliances by showcasing your expertise and promoting your strengths.
  • Increase volunteering: Promoting success profiles of current volunteers helps people get a grip on the benefits to them – as well as others – of volunteering.

One of my passions is re-cycling. Recently re-cycled an old Singer sewing machine with treddle; and a pair of 1980s glasses (you know the big, black rimmed ones) through Tools for Self Reliance and Vision Aid Overseas.

These two stories definitely helped me make my decision to donate to them:

Janet (trained to repair sewing machines) 

Phillipe (a tailor and father to six) 

If you want to get more communication, campaigning and lobbying tips why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

People’s stories: passion lives here

yellow brick roadOne of the key tasks of a public affairs professional is to create content which is then communicated to engage people with what organisations do and what they believe in. We do this by:

  • Commissioning new research

  • Identifying an interesting statistic

  • Developing some key messages

  • Enlisting a “celebrity” or an “expert” and

  • Composing case studies/human stories

Stories can be collected in a structured or unstructured way. With the first you’re collecting information from a prescribed list of questions. For instance, you might be collecting case studies to support an awareness campaign so you want the story to speak to that campaign.

With unstructured story collection you’ve chucked the questions out of the window. You’re open to what might emerge. One benefit of this approach is that it enables people to talk to their story. It can also produce some helpful insights and shape a story that – perhaps – you never knew existed.

If you want to know more about how to tell a great story why not click here. Includes a video by Isobel Allende’s (activist, feminist, writer).

I hope you found this post helpful. Please do leave a comment or question; and follow me @businesses4good if you want tips on how to communicate, campaign and lobby more effectively.

In pursuit of virtue: value-based campaigning

tree image1“Once upon a time there was a small girl who gazed at the last tree in the world . . . “ It’s a short-story exercise an inspirational primary school teacher set me back in the early 1970s. I remember seeing that beautiful tree in my mind’s eye, how we all needed it, how good it felt to be next to it. I was that kind of kid. I wanted the tree to live and then more .

 

What I didn’t know then is that the love of the tree connected with some of my deepest intrinsic values: protecting the environment and promoting well-being. There’s loads of other intrinsic values that people share such as caring for the community and each other and social justice. 20 years of public policy making and campaigning has taught me: you can bombard people with statistics and tactics; but what’s going to stick and create lasting change is appealing to the intrinsic values people hold dear.  Yes, money is tight. But here’s an idea: perhaps obsessing about money to sell solutions merely helped  create the lone tree in the first place.

 

If you want to know more about the empirical evidence in support of a value-based approach to campaigning please visit: WWF’s Strategies for Change project 

I hope you enjoyed this post. If it has touched you in any way then please do add a comment. If you want to know more about effective communication and creating social good then please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

Blue heaven: 8 effective communication tips

tree image“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

 This quote speaks to me at the moment. Over the last month people who need communication help have been coming forward to get a bit of advice and support. Here’s 8 business4good tweets from last week all aimed at promoting effective communication:

If you’re interested in becoming a more effective communicator or perhaps you think your organisation could do with a quick communication audit why not give me a ring on 07966 369579. Always interested in good communication tips. Why not add one.

Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

Some useful public affairs resources #1

japan

Political round-up of the week (wb 04.02.13)

Grow Your Charity Online provides free training+tools for smaller charities

Jargon buster: select committees

 14 campaign tips

Helpful advice on planning a charity event 

Business tips to improve your copy 

New young philanthropists want to be more involved in the creation of charity  projects 

Older people learn better reading comics thanks to creative visuals and storytelling

 

From this week’s top Businesses4good tweets.

If you want to know more about how I can help you communicate, campaign and lobby more effectively why not give me a call on 07966 369579. 

14 campaigning tips: to help you out

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProud to share 14 group learning outcomes from a recent successful Creative Public Affairs workshop Create Impact: Campaign Training aimed at community groups and smaller charities in Reading.

  • Make campaigning a key discussion in your organisation.
  • Understand the impact you want to have as a starting point.
  • Keep focused on that objective
  • Have a good, strong, clear, memorable strap-line (campaign objective).
  • Identify your key stakeholders: the high interest, high influence group.
  • Be effective. Always use strategies that are minimum effort, maximum impact.
  • Have a clear strategy.
  • Prioritise. Being over-ambitious means you spread yourself too thinly which leads to being ineffective.
  • Speak to and discuss ideas with lots of people.
  • Create coalitions: work with other groups who shared concerns and outcomes.
  • Don’t lose sight of direct action and ‘old’ off-line techniques. Don’t necessarily expect to rely on technology and social media for the entire campaign
  • Be flexible and willing to adapt where necessary.
  • There is no one magic solution.
  • Remember the key words: impact, outcomes, influence and effectiveness.

Thanks to @GetInvolvedRDG for funding the event and @RISC_Reading for the excellent venue.

Please do comment on your favourite campaign tip; and follow me @businesses4good to find out more about how to campaign effectively and with impact.

We’ll start campaigning in the morning, Ding, Dong, the bells are gonna chime . . .

Looking forward to running Campaign With Impact Workshop next week on behalf of Get Involved Reading.  One of the first challenges we’ll probably face together is to accept that campaigning means different things to different people. This may sound simple but 20 years of colourful, campaign experience has taught me that people tend to believe that it’s one of the three things: fighting a war, raising awareness or having a conversation with people.

All three hold some truth:

  • When you’re fighting a war it helps if you’re clear about you objective, strategy and tactics.
  • When you’re raising awareness you’re looking outwards and focusing on building alliances.
  • When you’re having a conversation with people you’re thinking about how you can effectively influence ideas, behaviours and attitudes.

Some things you might like to look at if you’re interested in how to:

Other posts of mine you might like, if you like this one:

Stakeholder mapping: it sounds scary but it ain’t necessarily so 

Oh let me in: social media and policy development 

Creating a public affairs strategy/3: What does success look like?

If you’ve found this of use it’d be good to hear from you, perhaps add a comment at end. Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good. You’ll pick up lots of communication and influencing tips.

But is it art? Reaching out to real people

Excellent article by Ekow Eshun on the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei on how to use simple participatory art movement campaign tactics to reach out and connect with “real” people affected by “real” social issues.

  • Have a provocative key message. In Ai Weiwei’s Sichuan campaign the allegation was that 1000s of children had died needlessly because of shoddy, building work fuelled by corruption.
  • Organise people to get to real people with real lives affected by real social issues.  In the Sichuan campaign 200 volunteers went door-to-door to collect information and record the bereaved families’ stories about the children they’d lost.
  • Share these stories on blog posts quickly.

Is it art? I think it is because it’s making people see the world differently, making them aware of something that they perhaps hadn’t seen before. Look through the prism at a different angle. Change starts with a change in perception.

 “This investigation [Sichuan campaign] will be remembered for generations as the first civil rights activity in China. It directly affects people’s feelings and their living conditions, their freedom and how they look at the world. To me, that is art.” (Ai Weiwei)