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3. Strategy

🎯 Stage objective: determine the campaign strategy

A successful campaign needs a well thought-through strategy behind it. This isn’t as difficult to create as it may sound!
Every strategy consists of a few basic elements that need to be decided in your workshops:

💡 Objective: what is it that your campaign wants to achieve?
🎯 Target group: who should the campaign reach?
📣 Message content: which message does your campaign want to communicate?
🎙 Tonality: how should the campaign sound?
🎆 Imagery: how should the campaign look?
📺 Media: where will the campaign appear?
🗺 Scope: transnational or local?

Work through each of these elements in your workshops. And don’t forget to consider how they all fit together! These strategic elements will form the basis of the creative work designing the campaign materials later. 

You can download one of the workshop tools we use to work out a campaign strategy below 👇



1. Objective
What is it that your campaign wants to achieve?

This question is usually the starting point for your strategy! Often you will already have an objective in mind when preparing a campaign. Use the workshop to add detail.

One way to do this is to define your objective in terms of your target group: what change in attitude or behaviour do you want to bring about in them? The marketing funnel can help you with this. Think about where in the funnel your campaign objective sits.

Is it about:

1. Creating awareness among your target group of your organization(s), a social issue, or change their attitude?

2. Engaging your target group by generating interactions?

3. Inviting action such as donating, signing a petition, attending a demonstration?

4. Boosting loyalty for example by becoming a member?

A longer campaign or one with multiple target groups could also include several objectives.


2. Target group
Who should the campaign reach?

This is a very important point to discuss in a workshop, as choosing the target group has implications for many other strategic elements! For example, the campaign tonality and media channels both need to be suitable for your chosen target group.

In our workshops we use detailed information about target groups to help with this decision.

You could look at:

⬆️ Next level: Check out the free “Audience Insights” section if you use Facebook Business Manager!

1. simple demographic features (e.g. age, gender, geography)

2. segmentation based on values, attitudes or interests

3. social media data

A great advantage of social media campaigns: most social media platforms have very powerful tools for analyzing target groups. And if you are running paid social media campaigns, you can target ads to very specific groups.

In a transnational campaign context, the target groups might be quite different for each country. An issue that is mainstream in one country may only be relevant for a niche in another.


3. Message content
Which message does your campaign want to communicate?

The content should reflect the objective of your campaign. In our first SOCIAL SOCIAL study we discovered a simple approach for creating powerful content:

the stance – people – action model:

  • Stance: What key message best expresses your position?
  • People: Who are the people we can show to personify your position?
  • Action: What action do you want people to take? 

Including these three aspects in your content will make sure that your campaign interests and engages people.


4. Tonality
How should the campaign sound?

This is about deciding the language used in the campaign: for example, should it sound formal, funny, serious, urgent, descriptive … 

This can be a particularly fun and active element in a workshop!

For example, it could involve:

  • Small writing tasks, such as a designing a social media post
  • Finding examples of different texts – participants select and explain what they think is appropriate

One exercise we like to use is tonality pairs. Based on the campaign topic, we develop several opposing pairs of words that could describe the tonality, such as “confrontational vs empathetic” “light vs serious” “simple vs complex”. Then we ask participants to vote which they feel is more suitable. Here’s how this looks in practice 👇


5. Imagery
How should the campaign look?

The visual language of a campaign is a powerful aspect of its success. Remember that it’s ultimately not about your own preferences, but what will resonate with your target group. Discussing this in a workshop is the first step in the creative process of designing campaign materials.

Two approaches you could use:

  • Ask participants to share examples of other campaigns that they liked
  • Provide an image pool or a moodboard of different looks and get participants to select images they think are appropriate for the campaign

Here’s an example of a moodboard we used in a workshop to develop a feminist campaign. We asked participants to select one image they thought was appropriate, and one that was not. Then we invited participants to explain their choices to help us understand what was important to them. 👇


6. Media
Where will the campaign appear?

Choosing the right media channels is crucial for making sure your message gets across. This includes social media channels, as well as other digital channels (website, newsletter, ads) and can also include offline channels.

To decide which channels are right for a campaign, you need to consider:

  • Target group: which social media channels do they use
  • Existing channels that organizations behind the campaign already have
  • Resources available e.g. for production
  • Organic and/or paid: Can you boost your campaign objective by increasing the reach of your social media content with paid ads?


7. Scope
Transnational or local?

Developing a social campaign with organizations from different countries comes with a central decision. You need to agree as a group if there should there be:

A) A single transnational campaign

with the same materials and messages, simply translated for each country’s language(s) if necessary. This works best when similar issues are to be addressed in each country by the campaign.

B) Local campaigns adapted for each country

built around a shared theme or structure? This is better when context and objectives are too different in each country to force them into a single message. There may also be strong contextual reasons for this approach. Be aware that this approach is likely to be more resource intensive.

👇 Click here for an example 👇

We developed a pro-feminist campaign with activist organizations in several countries. In our workshops we realized that a single campaign that is visibly transnational would be counterproductive in some countries where antifeminist forces already use “foreign influence” as an argument against feminists, so we went for approach B) instead.


There are several ways to deal with this decision in a workshop context! It could be a discussion you have right at the start of the strategic part. Or you can work through the strategic elements in individual country groups first, and then decide at the end if there is enough common ground for a single transnational campaign.

Here's how we presented this decision in a workshop context:

Take me to stage 4!