I came across this post of Jim Garrow's on Death to the Campaign via Dan Slee who has shared his favourite 16 links of the year.
Jim asserts that campaigns - by their start/stop nature - insult their audience in assuming they are passively awaiting our carefully crafted messages. He also takes a swipe at days/weeks/months that aim to raise awareness of something and then frankly bugger off for the remaining 364 days. (Something I have also criticised here.)
I take Jim's point but I have to disagree. I think campaigns - basically a period of intensified effort on a key topic - have value and can make a difference.
At Wolverhampton Homes, we ran a campaign for 2012 which aimed to increase reporting of hate crime. We knew from speaking to our customers that people who suffered hate crime typically felt reluctant to report it for fear of recriminations. We wanted to convince them that it was safe to report hate crimes and to have confidence that we would tackle it. As well as achieving dozens of pieces of media coverage and more than 1000 pledges to stop hate (outputs), over the life of the campaign the reporting of hate crime increased by 68% (a big, fat outcome).
For those people who had suffered hate crime, and perhaps were previously reluctant to report it, I feel pleased that we made some headway in convincing them that we were an organisation that they could trust. I don't for one minute think we're done or that everyone who suffered hate crime reported it, but we've made progress.
Now the campaign has come to an end, we are shifting our emphasis for 2013. After a piece of research for Wolverhampton's strategic partnership, we've recognised that we need to do more to focus on tackling disability hate crime. This year we'll be channelling our energy in that direction.
Great campaigns can give an extra burst of energy, bring attention to a topic and make the difference that our organisations need. By being clear on our purpose and focussing on the outcomes, we can ensure our communications have strategic value.
Bad campaigns that judge success by square footage of media coverage or other red herring measures are, and have always been, dead.