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Category: Storytelling

How to use digital storytelling to win over hearts and minds

Craig Dwyer, founder of ForaChange and Social Media Director for Yes Equality shares his learnings on unleashing the power of digital.

Original article on Actbuildchange.org

There has never been a better time for activists and organisations to harness the potential of campaigning in a digital world.

Your campaign or organisation may already have a presence on social media, but are you using it to its full potential? Are you taking advantage of all the options digital offers to help meet your aims and objectives?

Digital and social media play a crucial role in shaping public thought about campaigns and organisations working on progressive social change. It enables audiences to be become aware of, stay up-to-date and take action on behalf of your cause.

The 2018 Global NGO Online Technology Report found that 93 percent of global NGOs (non-government organisations) have a Facebook page, 77 percent are on Twitter and 50 percent are on Instagram. Yet only 32 percent have a written strategy.

Winning Over Hearts and Minds

Achieving the desired outcome for your campaign or cause will usually require winning over hearts and minds.

Digital and social media can be used to identify, collect and curate stories as part of your digital storytelling strategy. This involves changing the narrative and reframing how people perceive your campaign issue. Storytelling must be central to your digital strategy, as it lets us amplify our voices, reach more people and make human connections. This shapes public thought on your campaign and influence relevant stakeholders.

Stories not only empower the storyteller but can also inspire others to share their story. The cumulative effect of these stories, from different messengers to different audiences, will help create understanding and emotional resonance. Fundamentally they inspire people to take action.

Campaigns that can create a space which encourages supporters to tell their own stories – to describe, in their own words, what motivates them to support your cause will have a much greater impact and create more meaningful connections.

Research on how social pressure influences participation found that people are motivated by how others perceive them. If by taking action they are likely to be perceived as pro-social, fair and caring, people are more inclined to participate.

In 2017 I had the opportunity to work on the campaign for marriage equality in Australia. As part of our GOTV campaign, content was created to encourage Yes voters to take a selfie as they returned their surveys and to share it on social media with the hashtag #PostYourYES. The aim was to create a situation where other voters, seeing all their friends posting selfies, would want to take part.

Within hours, #PostYourYES was trending on Twitter, and over the coming days, this had a snowball effect: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter flooded with images of Australians posting their Yes votes in mailboxes across the country.

Man and woman posting into a red letter box. Image, Craig Dwyer
#PostYourYES Image, Craig Dwyer

Successfully introducing an element of social pressure to your campaign can prompt supporters to create content that can be shared with peers and promotes your central message.

Changing the Narrative

How you frame your issue will also be crucial in helping change the narrative.

You can have different messages for different target audiences, but they should all sit within an overarching frame and narrative.

An effective frame will:

  1. Articulate the issue in a compelling and authentic way
  2. Appeal to people’s values
  3. Show how things can improve
  4. Outline what a person can do to help achieve that

#SaferFromHarm a joint campaign between Ana Liffey Drug Project and Humans of Dublin – aimed to raise awareness of the importance of introducing Supervised Injecting Facilities (SIFs) in Ireland, to reduce the harm from injecting drug use.

Much of the narrative around introducing SIFs was focused heavily on policies, procedures, and examining SIFs’ effectiveness internationally. We set out to change the narrative by putting a human face on the issue, telling the stories of people who would benefit from introducing SIFs into Irish society.

Across social media, we shared the stories of seven people who have been affected by drug use. including Brigid, who lost her daughter to addiction 12 years ago, and Aidan, who was living with an active addiction.

One thing they all had in common is that they believed introducing SIFs would ensure that drug users were #SaferFromHarm. The digital storytelling approach proved instrumental in achieving the objective of changing the narrative and reaching as many people as possible with key messages highlighting the importance of introducing SIFs.

Image of peoples faces
#SaferFromHarm Image, Craig Dwyer

Craig Dwyer is the founder of ForaChange, a free online resource for NGOs, campaigners and activists on designing and implementing effective digital strategies for progressive social change. He was the Social Media Director for Yes Equality during the 2015 marriage equality referendum in Ireland and he travelled to Australia in 2017 to work on their marriage equality campaign.


Reason to Change

We mostly think that we can bring about change by relying on people’s reason. But as  social psychologist Jonathan Haidt wrote in The Righteous Mind, “Anyone who values truth should stop worshipping reason.”

This is an edited excerpt of an article from thewholestory


For decades, economists assumed that human beings were reasonable actors, operating in a rational world. When people made mistakes in free markets, rational behavior would, it was assumed, generally prevail. Then, in the 1970s, psychologists like Daniel Kahneman began to challenge those assumptions. Their experiments showed that humans are subject to all manner of biases and illusions.

“We are influenced by completely automatic things that we have no control over, and we don’t know we’re doing it,” as Kahneman put it. The good news was that these irrational behaviors are also highly predictable. So economists have gradually adjusted their models to account for these systematic human quirks.

Campaigners instinctively understand certain things about human psychology: we know how to grab the brain’s attention and stimulate fear, sadness or anger. We can summon outrage in five words or less. We value the ancient power of storytelling, and we get that good stories require conflict, characters and scene. But in the present era of tribalism, it feels like we’ve reached our collective limitations.

So our collective challenge in changing hearts and minds is: how can we avoid reinforcing the polarization of attitudes? How can we constructively use the conflict between opposing sides, to advance the debate and not entrench existing attitudes?

The lesson for  anyone working amidst intractable conflict: complicate the narrative. First, complexity leads to a fuller, more accurate story. Secondly, it boosts the odds that your work will matter — particularly if it is about a polarizing issue. When people encounter complexity, they become more curious and less closed off to new information. They listen, in other words.

There are many ways to complicate the narrative, as described in detail under the six strategies below. But the main idea is to feature nuance, contradiction and ambiguity wherever you can find it. This does not mean calling advocates for both sides and quoting both; that is simplicity, and it usually backfires in the midst of conflict. “Just providing the other side will only move people further away,” says social psychologist Peter T. Coleman in his book The Five Percent. Nor does it mean creating a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and their opponents. That is just simplicity in a cheap suit. Complicating the narrative means finding and including the details that don’t fit the narrative — on purpose.

The idea is to revive complexity in a time of false simplicity. “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete,” novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in her mesmerizing TED Talk “A Single Story.” t’s impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person.”

As researchers have established in hundreds of experiments over the past half-century, the way to counter the kind of tribal prejudice we are seeing is to expose people to the other tribe or new information in ways they can accept. When conflict is cliché, complexity is breaking news.

As LGBTI activists, we are often drawn to simplify the stories. First because we need to mobilise our supporters. And mobilisation requires to be simple, sharp, action-focused. Secondly because we are drenched in attacks from our opponents, which are all but simplified, if not simplistic; so we react by doing the same. Thirdly, because simplifying helps us to make sense of a world that often just looks too absurd to grasp.

But if we want to have a deep and wide impact at changing attitudes, bringing complexity back into the debate might be a non-negotiable parameter.


Video : Reporting your event with mobile phones – Tips and recommendations

Tips from Rise For Climate

If you're planning an action or event, and want to know how to best cover it online using just your mobile phone (and a few other tools) -- here are some tips. With just a few steps, you can ensure that many people see and hear about what happened.

General Digital Reporting Tips

And here is also a planning checklist you can walk through with your team.

1. Capture the message and spirit of your event
  • Plan how you will showcase the major moments of your action and especially what the main story and purpose is.
  • Don’t take a photo when people are standing around not doing anything. Show people being hopeful, energetic, determined.
  • Try and include in your photos/video lots of elements, Like including important landmarks as well as your message in a single photo.
  • Interview people (with their permission) and ask them why they decided to take action.
2. Use a variety of shots, media and platforms to showcase the full story of your action.
  • Takes photos from far away, in the middle and close up. (Or up high)
  • Livestream if you’re going to have a big dramatic moment. It’s also ok to just shoot short mobile videos at key moments and upload them. Here is a guide with more details about video and live-streaming.
  • For videos, it’s best to hold the phone horizontally, (unless it’s an Instagram Story).
  • Decide  if you want to hire professional photographers and videographers also. This can really help.
  • Be strategic about which social media platforms you use. You don’t have to share on all of them. Focus on where you have the most followers and where people in your area go to get their information.
3. Some basic equipment can help.
  • Backup battery pack for your phone.
  • Monopod or tripod  for stability. Hold that phone steady!
  • Microphone for audio. (If you don’t have a microphone just be as close as possible to people when you interview). You can use a lavalier microphone for interviews or a shotgun microphone for general sounds. There are versions of both that you can attach to a phone.
  • Bring your own pocket wifi or at least make sure you have plenty of data on your phone.
4. Be Safe!
  • Go in pairs or as a team and make a plan how you will work together. Maybe one person focuses on Twitter while the other does livestreams on Facebook.
  • Have a plan for how you will meet up if you get separated.
  • Make sure you have a security plan in place (depending on your situation.)
  • For more resources on security best practices for filming sensitive situations, check out the organization Witness.
5. Encourage everyone to share their experience.
  • Remind participants to share on their social media about the event – and use the hashtag! It’s great to have coverage of an event from many perspectives.

Tips for effective image testing

In a previous post, we shared some insights from the Resource Media website on choosing the right image for your communication. But how will you know whether your carefully laid out thoughts actually work? Here are some more insights from the same source on how to test your visuals.

Why test?

Testing your visuals can help you:

• Learn what an image “says” to your audience and the associations it triggers

• Understand if an image is engaging and compelling

• Unearth unanticipated or unhelpful associations

• Spot ways to improve a particular visual communication

• Motivate more action-taking, and be cost-effective with outreach

• Reveal trends to help you refine your next visual projects

What to test?

Good image research starts with thoughtful planning to identify goals and desired outcomes for the communications outreach, key audiences and the channels needed to reach them, and the interests and values of target audiences. A good planning process gets as specific as possible, as these considerations will in turn inform image options and testing design.

Looking at your range of ideas for visuals and appeals, what predictions can you make about what will be best at drawing attention, triggering emotion and engagement, and motivating action? What are you pretty confident about based on past research and  experience? What are you unsure about or perhaps assuming without prior research to go on? These will become research questions to explore in your image-testing.

How to test?

An online experiment via Facebook comparing the effectiveness of two or three different visuals in motivating participation is useful in ensuring an outreach campaign is as efficient as possible. The shortcoming is that you don’t get to understand as much about why one image does better than another to inform broader learning. That’s where a focus group approach is helpful.

But in image testing, there are some additional elements to other focus group discussions that need to be considered:


The very start of an image-testing focus group is a chance to see viewers’ reactions to photos before they are influenced to some degree by discussion and material shown over the course of the group. For these first visuals, consider showing photos alone without accompanying text so you can learn where the imagery itself naturally “takes” viewers – whether it triggers the interests and associations you presume or not. Later, you can get feedback on versions with text, or other more “message-laden” approaches such as side-by-sides or drafts.

A quick-glance test:

In the real world, photos get only a brief moment to catch viewers’ interest as people scroll online or flip through print material. This can be simulated in a focus group by showing a set of photos to participants briefly, one at a time, and then putting them away and asking which caught your eye, and why? Later, participants can take more time to dwell on the images and provide feedback on each.

Assessing reaction:

In addition to paying close attention to the associations that come up for participants as they view images, it’s also helpful to watch for signs of more engaged reaction. Are people mentioning personal memories or experiences? Are they imagining more beyond what’s shown in the image? Are they using words and phrases that convey feelings, either their own or those felt by the subjects depicted in the image? Do they talk about values or ideas that are particularly important to them?


A memorable image has greater influence than one which is quickly forgotten. At the very end of a focus group, when all the images have been put away, consider asking participants to identify which of everything they viewed during the group stuck with them most, and why.


Question prompts to get feedback on images:

• What do you see in this image?

• What does it make you think about?

• What are the first words that come to mind?

• What questions would you ask about it?

• Is it important to you in any way? How?

• Which of these images is most compelling to you? Why?

• Which stands out the most to you? Why?


Storytelling: Seeing is Believing

This article is a summary of the publication Seeing is Believing : A Guide to Visual Storytelling Best Practices by Resource Media


300 million photos are uploaded on Facebook alone every day in 2017 (source), that’s how powerful our drive for pictures is. No story has the power to move people without visual support. This is why we all need to understand the principles of visual communication.


First Principle: we are a visual species.

Study after study bears this out. Effectively pairing words with pictures and video enhances attention, memory, recall, and believability. For example, in one study when information was presented orally, people remembered only about 10 percent of what they heard when tested 72 hours later. That figure jumped to 65 percent when pictures were added.

Second Principle:  Our decisions and actions are based more on emotional reactions than rational thought.

Good visuals make people feel first, and think second. Effective pictures and videos evoke powerful emotions. Emotions drive decisions. Let emotions be the initial filter for selecting one picture over another.

Third Principle:  Visuals are the most effective communications vehicles for evoking emotion and getting people to take action.

The rationale for paying close attention to visuals when you are trying to get people to make a decision or change behavior is clear. However, understanding that pictures are important isn’t enough. You need to be intentional about how you use them. This is where the art of communications strategy meets the science of human behavior.

7 rules for effective visual communication


1. Don’t assume others will react to a picture or video the same way you do. Test visuals with your target audience.

A few hundred dollars is sufficient to run several versions of your campaign concurrently on Facebook to see which headline and photo combinations generate the most clicks. As the digital landscape evolves, traditional opinion research firms and online companies are developing new, creative, inexpensive ways to test how various images perform before finalizing the design of  campaigns.

2. Pair your pictures with words for highest impact and to cement them deeper into your audience’s memory.

If your pictures are going out via social media, consider integrating captions into the pictures so that they can travel together throughout the social web. These social memes can go viral precisely because the message – humorous or serious – is not lost when the picture gets shared over and over again.

3. Make sure your images match your message.

If your visuals send one message and your words send another you create a disconnect in your audience’s mind. Don’t, for example, pair a devastating picture with a hopeful headline. The visuals will win the battle against words every time.

In this campaign, for example, in spite of the fact that the written messages detail how bad smoking is, the social cues in the image drive people in the exact opposite direction:

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 11.29.41

4. Use genuine, not generic pictures.

One good test to determine whether a photo has true emotional impact or is simply filler is to try and write a caption or cutline for it. If you can’t write a caption for the photo that relates to the point of the body copy surrounding it, the chances are good your photo does not belong there.

5. First impressions matter! Invest the most in the first picture your audience sees

Think of the first picture your audience might see in any communication you develop as the “hook.” But make sure you are hooking the emotion you want. Don’t confuse the most beautiful photo with the most effective photo. The two can be very different.

6. To use pictures effectively, be diligent about taking them…

The most effective photos will, of course, reflect the work you do on the front lines.  You can also get great photos from your supporters or you can mine the Internet for photos. If you are looking for free, legal-to-use photos on the Internet, the Creative Commons is the place to go.

7. People relate to people in pictures. Choose your subjects carefully.

Common ground between your cause and your audience can quickly be established through pictures of people. But choose those people pics with an eye to what works best. For example, we are biologically programmed not to look away from people looking straight at us.

We also connect better with people who are most like us. The 2012 “I’m a Mormon” campaign used this principle when showing people of many different ages, occupations and ethnic backgrounds above the simple caption “I’m a Mormon.” The campaign was meant to make the Mormon Church seem more accessible, more mainstream, by getting people to recognize themselves in at least one of these pictures.

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 11.43.02

Babies provoke an especially powerful emotional response. One experiment conducted in the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland in 2009 reveals our altruism when it comes to babies. The researchers planted 240 “lost wallets” all over the city and found that the ones that had photos of babies in them were returned a whopping 88 percent of the time. Compare this to the wallets containing photos of elderly couples, which were only returned 28 percent of the time, and those with no photos in them were returned only 14 percent of the time.

Last but not least, favour single people pics : When it comes to photos, our eyes want to focus in on one thing. Our brain hates the effort involved in processing a group shot. Effective fundraisers know that showing a single individual who represents.  Group photos are effective when it comes to protests, rallies or public meetings on an issue. These are good times to show pictures of masses of people as your main point to the viewer is to show how many people cared enough to turn out, not for the viewer to care about an individual person.

Why social change needs to be a laughing matter

Reproduced from Wagingnonviolence.org


Struggles against human rights abuses or militarism are rarely linked — in thought or discussion — to humor. As serious matters, they deserve serious, strategic thinking about how to dismantle the power structures that enable them. But what if humor itself is a powerful tool for doing so? In “Laughing on the Way to Social Change,” in the January 2017 issue of Peace & Change, Majken Jul Sørensen explores this possibility in the context of three recent examples of activism in Sweden and Belarus, asking how the use of humor affects the way nonviolent action operates — particularly its ability to disrupt dominant discourses and therefore challenge power.

In the first example, two Swedish activists flew an airplane through Belarusian airspace, dropping 879 parachuted teddy bears with signs reading, “We support the Belarusian struggle for free speech.” A response to an earlier action where Belarusian activists assembled stuffed animals in a central square — bearing signs like, “Where is freedom of the press?” — the parachuting bears ultimately resulted in two Belarusian officials being fired. The second and third involved a Swedish anti-militarist network called Ofog, or “mischief.” In response to NATO military exercises in Sweden, Ofog created a “company” whose purpose was to make these exercises more realistic by providing civilian casualties. Dressed as businesspeople, activists walked through the streets “recruiting” ordinary Swedes for “jobs” as killed, wounded or traumatized civilians. In response to a Swedish military recruitment campaign, Ofog added words to recruitment ads, changing their intended meaning. For instance, on one that said, “Your friend does not want any help during natural catastrophes. What do you think?” Ofog added, “By the military. Other help is welcome.” Using the ambiguity inherent in humor, these actions were able to catch their audiences off guard, spark discussion and bring attention to free speech or militarism in ways different from how logical argumentation could have.


Sørensen examines all three actions from the vantage point of Stellan Vinthagen’s four dimensions of nonviolent action to see how humor might contribute to, or detract from, their operation. The first, dialogue facilitation, refers to nonviolent action’s ability to maintain an openness towards the adversary even in the midst of conflict. On the one hand, a humorous action like those above might inhibit dialogue if observers are “suspicious or annoyed” about the actors behind it or the lack of clarity around its meaning. On the other hand, especially compared to more aggressive forms of resistance, humorous action signals an inherent openness through its playful approach, providing an invitation to dialogue and also lots of “‘material’ for conversation.”

The second dimension, power breaking, is the one Sørensen sees as best served by humor. It is widely understood in theories of nonviolent action that those in power will not give up their power — or even engage in dialogue — unless pressured. Humor is well positioned to break through dominant discourses — themselves forms of power — by disrupting the language and symbols used by those in power to represent reality in a particular way and providing alternative interpretations of that reality. Doing so opens space to question what has been considered “normal” and “natural” — like the need for a military to keep one’s community safe.

The third dimension is utopian enactment: the ability of nonviolent activists to enact, at least momentarily, the new reality that they envision — as when black civil rights activists in the U.S. South engaged in normal, everyday activities like eating or swimming in “white only” spaces, enacting the integrated society they hoped to create. Utopian enactments show that other realities are possible and can create “hope [and] joy” in the midst of anger and despair. Humorous actions are well suited to such enactments, as they engage the imagination and are not bound by the usual constraints of “reality” — as seen in the international solidarity enacted by teddy bears.

Finally, the fourth dimension, normative regulation, re-establishes nonviolence as the norm and violence as an aberration — seen in the training for and maintenance of nonviolent discipline, even in the face of violence. Humor can play a role here in defusing potentially violent confrontations with police, as “a carnivalesque atmosphere” can make interactions “less hostile.” In cases where humorous actions can be interpreted as aggressive or involving ridicule, however, their productive role in utopian enactment and normative regulation may decrease.

While humor may contribute nonviolent action’s effectiveness in some of these dimensions, it may detract from it in others. While parachuting teddy bears through Belarusian airspace challenged the regime’s authority, it did not invite dialogue with the regime — only with the general public. Ofog’s actions disrupted dominant militaristic discourses and engaged the general public in dialogue, but they did not enact the new anti-militarist realities activists envisioned. Most importantly, though, humor — “by playfully twisting the language of power” — provides a tool for activists to engage in what Sørensen calls “discursive guerrilla warfare.”

Contemporary relevance

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, U.S.-based nonviolent resistance has received a massive jolt of energy. Beginning with the Women’s March the day after the inauguration, the resistance has had a lot on its plate: the possibility of nuclear war with North Korea, escalation of war in the Middle East, and the undermining of international organizations and agreements, but also immigrant and refugee rights and protection, a racist law enforcement and criminal justice system, climate change and environmental deregulation, the normalization of sexual assault, an inflated military budget at the expense of crucial social programs, the gun lobby, health care, abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, anti-Muslim prejudice, workers’ rights and economic inequality, and even an emboldened white nationalism — to name a few. In this context, the more we can learn about effective activist techniques — including humor — the more successful we will be at pushing back against the racist, militarist, sexist, science-denying agenda before us.

Practical implications

How can these insights about the use of humor in nonviolent action be applied to current resistance to the Trump agenda, as well as to other nonviolent movements elsewhere in the world? First, it may be useful to conduct an analysis before undertaking an action (as part of a nonviolent campaign) to assess its likely effects on the operation of the four dimensions of nonviolent action, as outlined by Vinthagen: dialogue facilitation, power breaking, utopian enactment and normative regulation. Which of these will be strengthened and which will be weakened through the action — and are these trade-offs worthwhile and useful for the overall goal of the action? Second, similarly, activists should ask themselves: who is/are the intended audience(s) for the action, will different audiences be affected or respond differently, and are these responses useful for the overall goal of the action? Finally, on the basis of this analysis, how might the action be improved to more effectively challenge dominant discourses and spark discussion while minimizing the ways in which it could be read as aggressive or disingenuous?

This article was published in partnership with the Peace Science Digest. To subscribe or download the full issue, which includes additional resources for each article, visit their website.

How to f…ck up your video

Reproduced from Charity.com

By Tom Tapper, co-founder and creative director, Nice and Serious

The five villains of charity video production (and how to defeat them)

Image: Nice and Serious

Since 2008 we’ve produced hundreds of videos for charities at Nice and Serious. Some have been a big success, others less so. But over time we’ve seen a familiar pattern emerge; the faces of five fiendish villains we all struggle to fight.

You might recognise some of them. We’ve painted a picture of those villains along with our tips to defeat them.


Meet Informaticus. He’s probably the most common villain we encounter. He overwhelms viewers with facts and figures, to the point where they disengage and drop-off. Why? Because humans don’t respond well to numbers; as it takes time for us to process them and they don’t emotionally resonate with us.

How to defeat him

The story is your greatest weapon against Informaticus. We can’t get enough of a good narrative. Find something tangible and human and recount the details. Have confidence that from the specifics of the story, viewers will see the bigger picture. Don’t forget audiences expect to be entertained by video content, not just informed. And always ask yourself: why would anyone want to watch this? If you can’t think of a good reason, keep working on the story.

Cautious Nauseous

This is Cautious Nauseous, a fiendish villain that feeds on your fears and anxieties. She knows you’ve got a lot riding on the film production – people to please and targets to hit –  and she’ll convince you to play it safe. The result? A video that’s uninspiring or unsharable.

How to defeat her

First of all, you need to become comfortable with some level of risk. Secondly, push your creative team (internal or external) to develop original creative ideas that meet your objectives. Thirdly, try and road test your concepts and scripts with colleagues, friends and family to get a fresh perspective. Finally, if you’re ambitious with your film, you’ll need to bring key stakeholders along with you from an early stage.

The Jargonaut

If you know a lot about a subject, you’re vulnerable to the Jargonaut. It represents a video with a robotic voice over and a script peppered with jargon. The result? People are sent to sleep.

How to defeat it

You have to fight the Jargonaut on two fronts. The first is language. Keep sentences short, words simple and the tone conversational. Read everything out loud – it will help highlight stumbling blocks. The second front is voice. Avoid a cold, generic voice over (sometimes referred to as Mid-Atlantic). Each accent has its associations, for example, in the U.K. a Scottish accent is considered trustworthy and a Geordie accent is considered friendly. So choose an accent that fits your organisation.

Miss Hit

Miss Hit is a villain without a target. She releases arrows in all directions, hoping one will hit. She represents a brief without a target audience, or an audience which is far too broad. Sometimes she gets lucky and hits the target, but mostly she misses, because it’s hard to judge the impact without a target audience in mind.

How to defeat her 

The most effective way to defeat her is to set a narrow target audience. And the good news is this is starting to become commonplace. But it’s no good defining a target audience if you don’t put it into place. Which is why we recommend creating a persona, and judging the creative against it. The result is that feedback goes from ‘I don’t like this because’ to ‘I don’t think Sarah will like this because’. This approach forces you to judge ideas more objectively.

The Blubbersaurus

The Blubbersaurus is a powerful beast. It represents the overuse of sorrow; the video smothers your audience in despair. The result? People have little sense of hope or agency. And if this approach is taken too often, it can leave your audience desensitised and disengaged with your cause.

How to defeat it

The key is not to fight the Blubbersaurus, but to befriend it. To evoke emotion is a powerful communication tool; a sorrowful scene can be a strong motivator to act. After all, jeopardy is a key part of a good narrative. But it’s important that you use emotional stories sparingly, and you give your audience a genuine sense of agency – by taking action they can help solve the problem you’ve just exposed them too.

Regardless of whether you work in a charity, corporate or agency, we’re all susceptible to the five villains. What’s important is that we familiarise ourselves with their fiendish faces and be mindful about the creative decisions we take in the film production process.

Good Stock photo sites

Every campaign needs good visual. But where to find what you need in the maze of commercial offers ?

A consultation on the fantastic e-campaigner community ECF forum has identified the following sites:
















(list of sources)













The way to Storytelling

From Storybasedstrategy.org

Storytelling has always been central to movement building and successful campaigns. Now in the face of an increasingly complex and fragmented media environment, being strategic about how we tell our stories is more important than ever. Creating a strategy to frame an issue, build an inviting brand and distill our messages into the right memes are critical to helping campaigns generate the critical mass of popular support to win.

Story-based strategy can be used to deconstruct opposition narratives as well as craft our own stories by focusing on a few key elements of effective social change storytelling.

The Conflict: What is the problem we are addressing? How is it framed? What aspects are emphasized and what is avoided? How can we reframe to highlight our values and solutions?

The Characters: Who are the characters in the story? Do impacted communities get to speak for themselves? Who are cast as villains, victims and heroes?

Show Don’t Tell: What is the imagery of the story—what pictures linger in our minds? How does it engage our senses? Is there a potent metaphor that describes the issue?

Foreshadowing: What is our resolution to the conflict? What vision are we offering? How do make the future we desire seem inevitable?

Assumptions: What must be believed in order to believe the story is “true”? Does our opponent’s story have unstated assumptions we can expose and challenge? What assumptions and core values do we share that unite our communities around a common vision?

Find out more on each of these aspects by clicking on the respective links in the bold titles.