Index to Campaign Strategy Newsletters Numbers 43 – 101

In case it is useful … here’s a rough index (with short extract) to Campaign Strategy Newsletters 43 – 101.  I’m currently working on the next one, and #102 is at this website while a compendium of Newsletters 1 – 42 is here.  All the Newsletters can be downloaded here.

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No 101 Feb 2017: Bubble Prints | Values Story of Brexit Split | Whose Fake News ? | International Politics Makes A Comeback | Campaigns Course 21 March


Extract: In 2011 Eli Pariser of Upworthy invented the term ‘Filter Bubble’. His TED talk page explained: “We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview … this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy”.‘Bubbling’ is not new. People have always tended to select evidence and sources which reinforce their views, and hang out with the like minded where possible. Psychologists study how ‘confirmation bias’ encourages this, while the Victorians referred to “congenial company”.


No 100 January 2017: Planet Earth II: A Threat to Saving Planet Earth? | Trump: Don’t Over-Inflate Him


Extract: Despite me even wanting to be David Attenborough when I was a child, and loving the cinematic spectacle of nature in the BBC’s record-breaking Planet Earth II, I agree with BBC SpringWatch presenter Martin Hugh-Games who argued in The Guardian that such nature blockbusters are not helping ‘save the earth’ because they create a sedating illusion that nature is abundant.


No 99 August 2016: Are People More Pro-Nature in Urban or Rural Areas? Brexit | Brent Spar


Extract: As the implications of voting for Brexit sink in, questions of identity are coming to the fore in the UK. Environment, nature and our countryside play a significant part in the British psyche and in debates about identity. It’s often assumed that people in urban and rural areas are very different in their affinity for nature but is this true? If it is true, what does this mean for nature conservation or environment groups, where they should look for support or how they should try to shape policy?


No 98 June 2016: Values | Brexit Campaigns | A Nightingales Campaign Success


Extract: This blog explores why (in my view) both sides of the UK EU Referendum campaign (the decision date is June 23rd) so frustrate and baffle the wider British public:

‘my guess is that the underlying reason both fail to really connect with most of the British public is that their origins are deeply and narrowly political. The pro and anti EU arguments have been rehearsed many times in the halls and backrooms of Westminster but with very little exposure to the public. As such they are fine tuned in UK political terms but largely untried on most of the public except for the rightwing of the Conservative Party and UKIP’.


No 97 May 2016: Brexit and the Cat Factor | Parameters for Campaign Direction | A Lesson in Campaign Directness


Extract: I argue that the most likely explanation for fence-sitting by some large UK NGOs is that, as with fear of annoying cat-owners by taking action on the damage moggies do to wildlife, the conservation groups fear they might lose supporters or possibly legacies if they told members what they really think about ‘Brexit’. Some of these groups have been spooked by a values- driven split in their memberships on the EU.


No 96 March 2016: 48 Strategies, Brexit Values battle, German SMEs v TTIP, A Harbour Campaigns Against Plastic Pollution, A Cautionary Tale and Values and Charity Preferences.


Extract: A List of 48 Campaign Strategies

See my blog for short explanations of these 48 campaign strategies – or are they tactics? I got to 48 and gave up. Can someone contribute another couple to make it 50?


A 2014 British Values Survey asked people to choose their top five types of charity from a long list. This blog shows how values very strongly influenced charity choices. Similar tendencies are likely to be present in charity choices in all countries.


No 95 January 2016: A New Narrative on Climate; Trouble With Stories; Tiny Bits Of Good News.


Extract: The December 2015 ‘climate conference’ in Paris turned around the global political leadership. By adopting a new ambition to actually do what the UN FCCC (Climate Convention) always aimed to do – captured in the pledge to ‘try to’ limit the average increase in global temperatures to 1.5°C – it dramatically changed the political alignment. Out goes giving up on trying to keep the climate within safe bounds, in comes trying to do so.


No 94 December 2015: VW scandal; Is Spain The New Green Leader in Europe?; Terrorism; Why Campaigning Matters; SMEs Start To Campaign On TTIP; Divestment Rolls Forward; Drones & VR.


Extract: When the VW scandal broke in October, I suggested in this post Emissions Cheating : What VW Should Do Next, that the company should make amends by doing three things, which in summary were…. But are consumers ready in its home market ? Of course Germany is no longer VW’s biggest market but is of huge symbolic importance, and it looks from a November survey by CDSM (more below) that VW execs have work to do persuading fellow Germans to buy electric.



No 93 August 2015: Climate and Divestment – a good strategy right now; Any Action from the Catholic Church after the Encyclical? Strange and dark goings-on in the UK; Global values survey results


Extract: In this blog I try to take a planner’s point of view of climate divestment campaigns, and explore five reasons why I think it’s such a great campaign strategy at this point in the climate issue. Other things in this blog: Climate and Divestment – a good strategy right now, Any Action from the Catholic Church after the Encyclical ? Strange and dark goings-on in the UK, Global values survey results, Holiday reading, Good things and Bits from my Blog.


No 92 May 2015: Post UK Election Next Steps; The Media Museum Effect: A Growing Cause of Extinctions?; Evidence That Values Determine The Pattern of Attitudes to Climate Change; Climate and Values Papers; No Alarm, No Reaction. No reaction, no action


Extract: I’ve argued in previous articles that growing blindness to nature is now a significant driver of extinctions. In other words, what people can’t distinguish, they can’t really see (or hear), and so they don’t notice it going. This is undoubtedly a reality in Britain and other highly urbanised societies. Even conservation minded folk, horrified at the concept of the variety of life disappearing, let it dwindle and vanish right under their noses because they can’t recognise plants and animals. They are no longer nature-literate, and so can’t see more or less ‘biodiversity’. We need national efforts for eco-literacy.


No 91 February 2015: The Big Gap Issue; Emotionally Charged Facts; Making Polls Interesting to the ‘Media’, TTIP: A Graveyard for SMEs?


Extract: For those who love Britain’s woods it came as sad news that Oliver Rackham, the landscape historian who coined the evocative term ‘wildwood’ for our primeval woodland and proved by meticulous fieldwork that Ancient Woodlands, direct descendants of that wildwood still exist down English lanes, died this month. He was Britain’s greatest living Ent.

What’s this got to do with campaigns? A campaign needs ‘facts’ but the facts that work, that engage support, that make people see things just like you do (alignment), and impel them to act, need to be emotionally charged.


No 90 June 2014: Superbugs and Politics; Rise of the CSPs; Values Uplift Through Framing; Why Values Matching is a Good Idea; Nature Blindness


Extract: Campaigners and advocates for rational use of state-intervention (by which I mean where the free market obviously fails to act in the public interest) have long struggled with the situation where many politicians realise only too well that the ‘market’ often fails, indeed often gets propped up with financial billions which are siphoned off into private profits, but run scared of saying so because they fear the voting public trust them even less. A major reason, if not the only one, is the rear-view-mirror nature of media convictions that – in Anglo countries at least – leads the media to frame almost any proposed state action as hopelessly old fashioned. Such convictions were formed when today’s generation of senior media execs were at college: the days when capitalism triumphed over communism and the 1980s credit-fuelled asset boom looked like the pain-free benefit of neoliberal economics and deregulation.


No 89 April 2014: Nightingales; The Values Behind #nomakeupselfie; UK Politics & values: Beyond Class; Theory of Change


Extract: The honest truth is that I don’t really have a ‘theory of change’, indeed I try to avoid the term. This is for the same reason that I try to avoid ‘message’: a debate about which is the right ‘message’, or which is the right ‘theory of change’, tends to make you go in circles. So my theory about theories of change, is that organisations or groups, or more depressingly, individuals, who spend -me looking for the right theory of change, are probably wasting their time. […] But if I did have a theory of change for campaigns it might be a bit like this: these things will help.

  1. Experiment, test, learn, improve
  2. Apply the learnings of others about what works
  3. Do both of the above
  4. Create a body of practice that works for your group or for you
  5. Build a campaign around a Critical Path and ground-truth test it
  6. Define your communications strategy (audiences, ac-ons) from the Critical Path
  7. Find your critical path by issue mapping to locate a single significant change
  8. Create a relationship of trust so people can support the campaign ‘on trust’


No 88 November 2013: The Philippines Aid Issue


Extract: Typhoon Haiyan left a wake of human misery and destitution but it also impacted politics and intersected with some of the great issues of our time. It and illustrates many of the communication factors shaping our perceptions, and the choices facing campaigners.

A Disaster Looking for Its Scandal

Most of us are aware of the Typhoon through the news media, and whether that’s online or ‘broadcast’ makes little difference because the new generation of channels (see ‘C’ in CAMPCAT in How to Win Campaigns) have made little difference to how ‘news’ gets constructed.


No 87 October 2013: Beware Those Who Call You Powerful


Extract: Back in the dark days of the Cold War, the shadow-watchers had a dictum that ‘once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action’. I know most readers of this Newsletter live outside the UK and I don’t know what it’s like where you are but here in Britain, there seems to be a new vogue for aggressively criticising campaigns and ‘activist’ groups, and questioning their legitimacy. It is a sinister fashion because it threatens to cut one of the vital arteries of democracy: the freedom of the public to organise and articulate public opinion.


No 86 June 2013: Why Too Much Focus on Opinion Polls Can Lead Your Campaign Astray


Extract: Using examples from climate change, a new Campaign Strategy blog post and report show how, while on the surface opinion polls have an alluring factual objectivity, in reality they can be as tricksy and dangerous as sirens tempting sailors onto the rocks. It proposes ‘ten rules’ for campaigners interpreting opinion polls and illustrates many problems, ranging from the way people answer supposedly analytical questions with intuitive, unconscious responses to the herd-behaviour of the media, the impact of framing, values and the often hidden influence of the ‘choice architecture’ of polls.


No 85 April 2013: Why We Need Climate Crises To Avoid Catastrophe


Extract: Here are three fundamental political truths relevant to many campaigns: first, politicians aspire to be in charge and remain in charge. Second, it is universally recognised that the first duty of government is to maintain public safety – from the integrity of the nation down to the safety of the individual. Third, little sharpens the political mind like being held responsible.


No 84 February 2013: Values in Five Countries


Extract: Students of values might find this interesting. The United States has become much more Pioneer dominated over the last decade or so. Well nigh half of all Americans are now Pioneers. China and India are hugely Prospector countries – at least the urban populations are. And Argentina looks pretty ‘European’ in values terms, while the values of the UK seem to be stabilising, after the recession led to some shrinkage in the optimistic, aspirational Prospector group and a rise in the number of Settlers. Published for the first time at my Blog, these insights come from surveys conducted by CDSM. All but the UK one were commissioned by Greenpeace.


No 83 December 2012: New Wine, Old Bottles?


Extract: Does online increase campaign engagement or is it old wine in new bottles.

What is campaigning and how does the way we frame ‘campaigning’ affect how we then campaign? Is it like fighting a war or all about winning an argument? Or is it a question of raising awareness, a selling job, education or essentially about starting a conversation with society?

The mental boxes we unwittingly employ in order to start thinking about a ‘campaign’ often exert a huge influence over how we create a campaign and what we expect.


No 82 October 2012: What Difference Is ‘Online’ Really Making?


Extract: It’s often assumed that more ‘engagement’ or ‘mobilisation’ is automatically a good thing for campaigns, and that in turn means the more ‘online’, the better. Yet back in 1979, a handful of staff and 10,000 supporters at Friends of the Earth delivered a million paper signatures to the UK Prime Minister’s home in Downing Street, while in 2012 Friends of the Earth (150 staff, 100,000 supporters) plus Avaaz, plus 350 delivered a petition on climate and energy to the same address, also about one million. The pre-social media ‘’ delivered 11 million signatures urging action on governments at the Hague COP6 climate talks in 2000, while the post-social-media 200+ NGO alliance GCCA managed 17 million for the ‘make or break’ Copenhagen COP15 in 2011.


No 81 July 2012: The Need To Change Climate Campaigning


Extract: In a new Campaign Strategy report posted at Changing%20Climate%20Campaigns.pdf ‘Changing Climate Campaigns: Time To Retire The Apocalypse’ I argue for a fundamental psychological and political reconfiguration of the dominant framing of climate campaigns and advocacy.

The ‘old warhorse’ framing of AA, or action to Avoid the Apocalypse, that has been the default model of climate campaigns for over two decades and its sister UP – or the Unresponsive Public – are redundant and need to be retired. They are no longer compelling and do not match the new reality.


No 80 May 2012: New report – The 12 Values Modes (Part Three); Exploring Konyism; Values analysis of DEFRA Green Segmentation; A Big Idea Strategy Sequence;Energy Storage and DNAs; More


Extract: My Campaign Strategy blog ( explores the story, marketing, communications structure and wider issues surrounding the controversial Invisible Children ‘StopKony’ video released in March 2012. It concludes that while it is almost impossible to say whether the video did more good than harm, campaigners should evaluate it as a movie, and a movie marketing exercise, not as a campaign. It also voices doubts over the hidden Christian Evangelical agenda of the project and the significance accorded to the campaign objective.


No 79 May 2012: New report – The 12 Values Modes (Part Two); Why Heuristics Work And Why Campaigns Need A Psychological Makeover; Mainstreaming Change


Extract: Almost by definition, most campaigns are trying to bring about change. At some point, most campaigns want their change to become ‘mainstream’, whether by spreading socially by choice through fashion, networks, norms or other means person to person or group to group, or by rules set by authority.


When something ‘enters the mainstream’, the need for a campaign usually stops. Campaigners may of course want to ‘go further’ so that requires a new campaign. Campaigners may not see it as ‘new’ but as a natural logical consequence. However targets, onlookers and supporters probably will do, because the specific change objective in the proposition [1] will have been achieved. Even ‘stop’ campaigns are often trying to stop and change an established behaviour, and so if that means a departure from what’s seen as ‘normal’, that’s a form of innovation too.


No 78 March 2012: New report – The 12 Values Modes (Part One); how Generation Y may prefer phones to cars; Google, Egypt and Occupy; consequences of under-estimating values signals


Extract: It’s good news and bad news. The good news is that positive change can often be much faster than ‘people’ assume. The bad news is that those assumptions can be hard to shift. The further good news is that if campaigners and communicators understand values dynamics, they can plan out to trigger cascades of change. The further bad news is that these dynamics are often ignored, sometimes deliberately. The result can be that positive behaviours or technologies are treated as ‘more difficult’ to implement than they really are, and that change-pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.


No 77 February 2012: Some Guidelines For Communicating With Settlers, Prospectors and Pioneers

Extract: This month we’ve posted some ‘Guidelines For Communicating With Settlers, Prospectors and Pioneers’ at These cover the different sorts of actions, offers and asks, channels, contexts and messengers, that tend to be preferred by these different ‘Maslow Groups’.


No 76 December 2011: Episode 2 of – interviews with the small fishermen and the EU Commissioner; The Advantages of Insulting Your Audience; Post Durban – Where Now on Climate Change?; Stuff in Brief


Extract: The thing about campaigning is that there is usually a problem with a group of people who are doing the ‘wrong thing’. Maybe they are not doing something they ought to, or we think they are doing something they shouldn’t. Either way, these folk are “wrong”. And the temptation is to tell them so. All too often we succumb.

If it makes you feel better, go right ahead but it’s not likely to work. When was the last time you decided to change doing something important to you, because someone told you that you were stupid, immoral or unethical ? And instead, that you should be like them, and do what they do ? Being attacked not just for what we do but why we do it, tends to be very unpersuasive.


No 75 November 2011: Getting More Resources For Your Campaign


Extract: It surprised me this year when a major campaign group I was running a few days training for (they have been around almost 40 years) declared that the most useful thing we’d covered in two days was the basic ‘Campaign Planning Star’. You can find it online here and in my book How To Win Campaigns: Communications for Change, at along with more examples of each of the ‘points’.

The Star ‘points’ are the point of the thing. It’s a way to think about a concept – the rough idea for a campaign – without getting stuck in any one way of thinking. The five points can all be starting points but they always need to be factored into a concept before trying to turn it into a plan.

No 74 October 2011: 99% and Books Issue

Extract: 99% and the “Occupy” protests [1] aimed at financial centres have sprung up all across the world. As I’ve noted in these Newsletters before (e.g. #16), at times like this it is hard to judge the significance of an event – does it denote a deep seated current of change, a storm wave that will leave a lasting impact, or is it only a short term squall sustained by media attention or political squabbling ? Right now, plenty of explanations [2] are being offered for these protests in the media and blogosphere and their real significance will only become apparent later.

Yet even if it’s hard to judge the significance right now, maybe we can identify some of the conditions required if the protests are to become significant.


No 73 September 2011: Fish TV, Age, Values and Cairo Taxis


Extract: “Television made by fish, for fish, about fish”, shows the activities of Europe’s politicians, as observed by the Eurofish TV Anchor Lobster and his friends. is the animated adventures of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reforms. Widely regarded as one of the most tangled and intractable international negotiations, Fish TV looks at its impact as a social, economic and environmental disaster – in a simple, light-hearted way.

Animator Leo Murray says, “We hope future episodes will feature news and views about how to make the politics work to save fishermen and the fish – we invite you to get in touch with video or words at”


No 72 August 2011: Angela Merkel’s Fish Hut


Extract: This weekend [1], a German fishing hut makes its solo political debut at the Hanse Sail tall ship and marine festival event [2] in Rostock, on the Baltic Sea. It’s there because it’s part of Angela Merkel’s political heritage and because, while she’s Europe’s most important politician, she’s largely absent from the crucial politics surrounding reform of the CFP, or Common Fisheries Policy.

I don’t often write about projects I’ve been working on but in this case I thought you might be interested in the back story. I’ll try and draw out the campaign design principles behind it. I’m taking a bit of a risk as the whole thing may sink without trace but that’s always the case with campaigns.


No 71 July 2011: Holiday Reading


Extract: For those readers in the Northern Hemisphere the holiday season is upon us, so if you are looking for something to read while waiting for someone to bring the bar-b-q under control, here’s a sample of what you may have missed – some content from previous Newsletters 43 – 70.

A number of these also link to longer reports at the website. You can also use the document index to locate articles and Newsletters by topic. (Issues 1 – 42 are contained in a single PDF at the website).


No 70 July 2011: Campaign Lessons From Murdoch


Extract: In this issue:

Campaign Lessons From the Murdoch’s.

Close Up and Far Away Campaigning

The Need To Change Biodiversity Communication

The Lesson of Hugh’s Fish Fight


No 69 May 2011: The Power Behind the ‘Arab Spring’ – Possible Implications for Human Rights Campaigns


Extract: What lies behind the so-called ‘Arab Spring’? The honest answer is that I don’t know, and I don’t suppose anyone does, Arab or otherwise. But one enormous factor could be the shifting balance of unconscious motivational values in those countries.


No 68 March 2011: The Emotional Case for Nuclear Power, And the Rational Response to Climate Change


Extract: A strange thing has happened in the response to the nuclear crisis triggered by the tragedy of the Japanese earthquake. The nuclear industry, long used to trying to marginalise its critics by claiming ‘rational’ high ground and trying to frame opponents as ‘emotional’, has ended up making a case which is more emotionally driven than rational. This, more than anything else, indicates a change in the balance of the debate over the future of the nuclear power.


No 67 February 2011: Clicktivism By-passes Inside Track To Harry Potter Forest


Extract: It may be nothing new to many readers of this Newsletter but ‘online campaigning’ is eating into the political space until now dominated by ‘traditional’ campaign groups. Until recently, solely online campaign groups have tended to focus on different (often newer) issues from large established groups, and/or have serviced more activist, often younger communities with a more ‘radical’ agenda.

The strategies of many of these groups, using the internet primarily for ‘independent’ media communication channels, and as an organising tool, have often been rather naive – and hence they have often been viewed by those they seek to change, such as governments and large corporations, as less seriously threatening than the more established groups which have multiple channels of influence, and deeply embedded connections within the ‘policy communities’.



No 66 November 2010: Change Outcomes


Extract: On October 18 New York Times reported [1] a remarkable success in cutting carbon in the USA. Under the heading ‘In Kansas Climate Sceptics Embrace Cleaner Energy’ it succinctly describes a major achievement in getting cities and communities to cut carbon by saving energy and using renewables. Not through advocating ‘action on climate change’ or by trying to change people or their values but through propositions that start from where people already are – in this case clearly Security Driven Settlers*, safety-oriented, authoritarian, mainly right wing, traditionalist and identity seeking.


No 65 October 2010: Fixing Campaigns


Extract: Most campaigners love starting things. Most of the tools in my book How To Win Campaigns: Communications for Change [1], in others like it, and at campaign websites such as, are about planning or organising campaigns, and tend to assume that you are starting from scratch. In reality many of the problems campaigners and campaign directors face are about existing campaigns, which have got problems.

This Newsletter captures a few ideas to help you think about how to identify and fix those problems, taken from the sections ‘Fixing a Campaign’, and ‘Staying on the Side of the Victims’, and elsewhere, in How To Win Campaigns.


No 64 September 2010:From DADA To Values: Consultations Issue


Extract: Campaigners and those who are the targets of campaigns will often meet over ‘consultations’. Community activists, NGOs or even these days, campaign groups themselves, may be authors of consultations, and in a country like the UK, thousands of consultation exercises are held by public bodies every year. All these are intended to be exercises in communication, although they often have unintended effects, and don’t produce the results hoped for. Nowhere are these trickier than in ‘scientific’ fields, where knowledge is often incomplete or indeterminate, and people often resort to ‘reflexive’ unconscious decision making, based on heuristics, framing or values, rather than the analytic reasoning which is normally pre-supposed in a consultation exercise.


No 63 September 2010: Online Campaigning Issue


Extract: “I think most people would agree”, a campaigner from a large NGO said at a meeting I was at last week, “that organisations like 38 Degrees are a bit annoying”. By ‘people’ he meant campaigners in large NGOs, although the annoyance was certainly shared by UK Member of Parliament Dominic Raab, who in August had his email address removed from the British House of Commons website and tried to intimidate 38 Degrees into no longer getting its supporters to email him on 38 Degrees campaign topics. For his troubles, Mr Raab ended up the subject of considerable public and media attention: after all, he was refusing to do what the electorate generally expects an MP to do, which is to hear the views of the voters and to represent them.


No 62 July 2010: Why Do Qualitative Research


Extract: Readers of this Newsletter will know that I am a consistent advocate of the need to do qualitative research if you want to make your campaigns work. There are numerous examples in previous Newsletters and a simple summary at . In essence qualitative research gets at what people really think and how they might really react, whereas quantitative tells you how many people responded to a question you posed to them.

In this Newsletter I have pulled together a few examples of why. In other words, things we wouldn’t have known without research – but which were important for getting communications right. Not all of these are from campaigning but the principles apply.


No 61 June 2010: Evolution of the Gulf Oil Spill Scandal


Extract: To imagine what it’s like if you are (or were) a fish in large areas of the Gulf of Mexico right now, read this graphic account of a dive into the ‘water’: A good example of ‘taking you there’.

Even before the oil spill, the Gulf suffered huge undersea dead zones caused by massive run off of nitrogen compounds and other pollutants, mainly caused by effluent from American intensive agriculture (e.g. hog/pig farming for cheap meat production), flowing down the Mississippi. These zones [1] lack oxygen and already extended to 6-7,000 square miles from the Mississippi Delta to the coast of Texas. Nobody yet knows the extent of the impact of the oil although it is said by some scientists to have created ‘dead zones’ and a submerged oil plume 15 miles long, five miles wide and 300 feet thick [2].


No 60 May 2010: Basic campaign questions, VBCOP potential & ‘Concern For The State of the UK Environment 2000 – 2010’


Extract: Have you ever had someone come to you with a campaign idea and had to try and find out what it really entails? Or had to find out whether an existing ‘campaign’ really is a campaign at all? Or been in the position where you want to quickly attempt to help someone develop a campaign without demotivating them? If you’re a campaign consultant this happens all the time (for demotivate, read “annoy the client”) but if you work in any sort of campaign organisation, after a while it will happen to you, if it doesn’t every day.


No 59 April 2010: Thoughts on a volcano, UK electoral politics and values


Extract: Having cut back on flying from at least one flight a month to less than one a year, I could be sitting at home feeling smug about all those frequent fliers stranded by ash from the the Icelandic volcano. So irony of ironies, a week or so ago I reluctantly broke my self-imposed no-fly rule and succumbed to the entreaties of a NGO who really, really wanted me at a face to face meeting in New York, and as as result I am writing this Newsletter while stranded in the Big Apple. Make of that what you will.

However this turns out – whether it’s ‘all over’ in days or whether it creates a Northern Hemisphere dust cloud that upsets the climate and disrupts air travel for a year or more – a few things seem certain about the Icelandic ash saga.


No 58 March 2010: ‘How to Win Campaigns’; Homer Simpson School of Communications and more


Extract: It’s (a long title but worth reading): ‘Homer Simpson for nonprofits: The Truth About How People Really Think & What It Means for Promoting Your Cause. A Guide to Behavioral Economics for Nonprofit Leaders’ by Katya Andresen, Alia McKee, and Mark Rovner, at NetworkforGood- Here are three of the findings, based on many of the same studies captured in ‘heuristics’ and other tools reported in these newsletters:

  • ‘Small, not big – The bigger the scale of what you’re communicating, the smaller the impact on your audience
  • Hopeful, not hopeless – People tend to act on what they believe they can change – If your problem seems intractable, enormous and endless, people won’t be motivated to help [see also the Credibility Triangle pp 27 – 30 in How To Win Campaigns, Chris Rose, Earthscan]
  • Peer pressure still works (Nope, it doesn’t end after high school) – People are more likely to do something if they know other people like them are doing it.’


No 57 February 2010: Climate Change Campaigns: Keep Calm But Don’t Carry On


Extract: This month I’ve posted a new paper at ‘Climate Change Campaigns: Keep Calm But Don’t Carry On’ which looks at strategies for climate campaigners in the aftermath of the Copenhagen climate talks. The paper argues against that strategies which primarily focus on the formal international UN climate talks are now out of date because like the talks themselves, they are being overtaken by events.

Millions of people, businesses and organisations are now taking action consistent with cutting climate change pollution, and this creates potential political space because – through the VBCOP principles (described in Newsletter 49, – opinions adjust to be consistent with behaviours. Yet this plays little or no role in the UNFCCC process which is still umbilically linked to the IPCC as if we were still at the stage where politics depended on resolving major scientific uncertainties.


No 56 January 2010: Epics Issue


Extract: Perhaps the best piece of advice in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is to adopt a ‘strategy of tactical positioning’. So how should the rest of the world now apply the advice of this ancient Chinese strategic genius to the case of China and the climate ?


To state the obvious, I would not try to coerce China into a more progressive stance on climate. I guess this is why so many NGOs seem intent on blaming anyone but China – the US, Australia, the EU for example, for what happened in Copenhagen. Many in China no doubt feel they have gone quite as far as they ought to at this time but the planet – that is everyone on it and future generations- clearly need them to go further. Professor Ron Inglehart has shown[8]that because of values shifts he expects China to become a democracy within twenty years but we cannot wait for that, which in any case might only produce something as progressive as the US but much bigger.


No 55 September 2009: Climate Change, Warnings And The Car Alarm Problem


Extract: Most campaigns focus on a problem. Those that promote a solution, need the problem to create a dialectic for ‘news’ or a psychological fulcrum for action. The ‘alignment stage’ of the Motivational Sequence – awareness > alignment > engagement> action – needs to get the sender and receiver ‘on the same page’ about the problem and the solution before you can move along towards action. And a solution without a problem is not a solution. Meanwhile, whereas a problem without a solution is a tragedy: one with a solution is a scandal, as it is avoidable. Finally, problem and solution need to be specific, they need to fit together like lock and key [1].


No 54 September 2009: Maslow Goes To War: Terrorism, Strategies, Values and Democracy


Extract: Campaign strategists of different stripes have long learnt from one another. The ancient Chinese Art of War by Sun Tzu remains probably the greatest book on pure strategy. The Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz wrote: “rather than comparing [war] to art we could more accurately compare it to commerce, which is also a conflict of human interests and activities; and it is still closer to politics,which in turn may be considered as a kind of commerce on a larger scale.” This is often paraphrased as ‘business is war by another means’. In concepts, theories and in practice, the boundaries between social cause campaigns, business, advertising and marketing campaigns, political campaigns and military campaigns, are fluid and when not fluid, porous.


No 53 July 2009: Resolving Koo’s Paradox


Extract: Economist Richard Koo of Nomura has made waves with his case that this is a ‘Balance Sheet Recession’ – in which textbook economics does not apply because individuals, banks and potential commercial borrowers flip from trying to maximise profits, to ‘repairing their balance sheets’ and paying off debt. Depression follows, argues Koo, unless governments borrow and spend until the balance sheets are repaired.


No 52 June 2009: The Gurkhas Campaign – Lessons From Lumley


Extract: Last month UK readers might have noticed the successful conclusion of a campaign started in 2003 to give UK rights of residence to retired “Gurkhas”, a famous regiment of the British Army recruited exclusively from Nepal. Led by a local Councillor from the regiment’s base town in England, and with the support of a rich businessman and former military colleagues, the Gurkha Justice Campaign [1] scored the highest profile campaign success in Britain for some years.

This was however, presented to a one woman campaign and was largely down to media interest in their telegenic champion, actress Joanna Lumley. The turning point so far as the public saw it, came in an extraordinary series of twists and turns in negotiations between the campaign team led by Lumley, and Government Ministers, even the Prime Minister, in early May. At one point Lumley intercepted an unfortunate immigration Minister, Phil Woolas, in the BBC Westminster studios and forced him into an impromptu televised press conference [2].


No 51 May 2009: Values & The Politics Of Aid


Extract: Can values explain why some countries give more generously to overseas aid than others? Rhetorically the answer is obviously’ yes ’but can we actually measure this effect? Although Ifearto enter this rather controversial area of ODA (Overseas Development Assistance), in which I am no expert, the answer also seems to be ‘yes’.


No 50 April 2009: “It’s The Children Stupid!” & Free International Values Campaign Planner


Extract: There are two articles in this newsletter. First, thoughts on what can be done when the future of the planet does not ‘tick the box’- last throws of the dice for climate campaigners in the year that time runs out for saving the climate as we know it – and second, a free International Values Campaign Planner pulling together work by leading values researchers and applicable to any subject, also posted at


No 49 March 2009: A New Campaign Strategy – VBCOP


Extract: This newsletter summarises a new campaign strategy which attempts to bring together the influence of politics through public opinion, and the use of values to generate behaviour, linked by the consistency heuristic. The strategy is described in an 11 page report


No 48 January 2009: Campaigns by ‘Now People’, And Polls


Extract: Two articles in this Newsletter – first two Now People campaign offers, second two polls on biodiversity.

Readers of this newsletter will remember articles about Values Modes [1] and the Mode “Now People”. This is a critical group in public conversation, being the defining owners of ‘fashion’, the most favoured readers of mid-market media, and amongst the most sought after consumer targets for many retail brands. Now People live in the corner of the Values Map which is home to hedonism: “we want the world and we want it now”, is a thought that Now People can easily identify with. They have succeeded in leaving behind their Settler roots – having satisfied their needs for belonging, safety and security – and partly achieved the esteem of others. They are now in full-on pursuit of self-esteem and feeling quite confident about getting it.


No 47 December 2008: Re-Framing Tax: Why It’s A Strategic Target For Campaigners


Extract: Tax is a bad thing. That is the conventional dominant frame now used by politicians, media and the public. Or at best it is a necessary evil, a constraint on our aspirations, a corrective to our instincts, a burden which must be shared, and so on. Framing maestro George Lakoff uses tax as the most obvious example of the power of a ‘frame’ in his elegant little essay “Simple Framing” [1].

Investment, in contrast, is a ‘good thing’, and so although you could be talking about the same policy issue (eg public spending on education), it can be approached from two directions with opposite results. More investment is generally better. Start a discussion from there and more spending is the likely result. More tax is bad so start from there and the conclusion is likely to be less spending.


No 46 November 2008: Learning From The Obama Campaign


Extract: What can campaigners learn from Obama’s campaign strategy? Amongst the torrent of comment, one useful article to read is from the ever insightful Duane Raymond at FairSay.

Duane points out that it was not ‘the internet wot dunnit’ but networking. Given that almost every organisation trying to run campaigns seems convinced that it needs to “make better use of the internet”, Raymond’s piece is a helpful thing to put in front of managers who espouse this point of view but then don’t resource networking. Theirs is the same thinking that used to say “we need more publicity” on the assumption that if you appeared in the media, you’d somehow generate results in terms of real change. But publishing, sending out ‘messages’ or even getting a lot of hits online has no more guarantee of a result that counts than featuring in the newspapers or on tv.


No 45 October 2008: Special Edition: The Spartans Strategy For Making Politics Deliver On Climate


Extract: This Special Edition brings you an unusual article in the form of a blueprint for a campaign strategy to change UK politics at the next General Election, in favour of the climate. It’s not often that a former high ranking official from a mainstream political party shares his views on how NGOs might campaign to force political parties to change their policies, let alone a former director of an international Public Affairs company but Simon Bryceson is both and he does just that in the report How to Make Politics Work For Climate, posted at


No 44 October 2008: Campaigning Your Way Out Of Recession / Who Cares About The Environment


Extract: There are two main articles in this newsletter – one on the financial crisis and one on a new report posted at the website, on who cares about environment/climate in values terms.

Now that the financial crisis is turning into an economic one, what opportunities does this offer to campaigns? Below are some ideas based around renewable energy. The principles though could be applied to other sectors where campaigners and advocates have objectives which could be met by economic growth – for the central opportunity is to harness them to the political need of the moment, which will be stimulating growth, employment and confidence.

To achieve this, campaigners will need to…


No 43 September 2008: Wetter But Not Better


Extract: Summary: a large project of qualitative and quantitative research1 conducted for Natural England shows ways to engage – and not to engage – the English public in a positive appreciation of the undersea landscape. The research suggests that most conventional campaigns to promote Marine Protected Areas are unlikely to ‘work’ for 60% of the population and this will probably undermine attempts to create a political constituency for the same. Less than1% of the population can name a real undersea landscape feature and there is no sense of place for the undersea in England in the way there is for terrestrial landscapes, despite a high affinity for the sea as the coast. Lacking real knowledge, responses to conventional polling are determined by values and transposed views about actors and issues taken from other experiences. The common positive denominator is dramatic topography. The Natural England research has been used to design communications that should work across all main psychological groups.

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