In May 2017 I worked on local campaign to halt the building of a block of flats in Dorset, UK, that will destroy the local environment and put half of the peninsula in the shade.
This is the story of how we launched a campaign to rally the local community against greedy development plans, file an unprecedented number of objections with the local government, and eventually crash their website under the weight of responses.
In the first part we'll be talking about the planning phase, and how to craft a focused goal and strategy.
In this post we will discuss how to:
From the outset of your campaign, decide what action will have the most effect, and then set this as your immediate goal for the project. You must have one objective on which to focus every part of your strategy.
Our objective for the initial stage of the campaign was simple:
Our reasoning was that generating a lot of public attention would make it very difficult for the powers-that-be to make any decisions without the necessary consultations.
As a side note, though you could also phone and write in, we focused on online the keep our message as simple as possible.
To underpin your whole campaign, you must decide on one very central message or mantra. This is the message that you drive home at every opportunity, for example: "Make America Great Again".
We decided that our main narrative was that Sandbanks is there to be enjoyed by everyone: residents and visitors alike.
We then used the power of three to form three arguments for our campaign.
These are our three main arguments to support that narrative so that we had a coherent story to tell the press and general public:
Important to a strong narrative is its ability to anticipate and address any counter-narratives that your opponents might come up with to weaken your position.
These counters will seek to isolate the people affected to just a small community.
It all comes down to who can tell the story that resonates with the most people.
Some anticipated counter-narratives:
To counter these narratives, you must make sure your story is inclusive of the people you hope to influence.
One well-known formula for a persuasive story is:
Your website will be the focus of your converting supporters into taking relevant action.
It can do this effectively by providing relevant - but not too much - information about the campaign and what action people can take to support it.
If you’re making the site yourself, I recommend using something like the Protect Sandbanks Group website structure:
If you're going to launch a compelling campaign, it is of the utmost importance to create a clear goal, solid plan and simple yet coherent narrative.
Now that we've laid the foundations, head to part two, where we'll dive into how we spread the message and incited the local community to action.
If you have any questions, head to the contact section below and get in touch!
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Based in 🇳🇱 Amsterdam.