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Deciding which tactics to use

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To reach each of your target audiences your campaign may require a wide range of activities.

Your activities, however contrasting, should sit comfortably together and fit the overall concept of the campaign. This does not mean that organisations cannot use novel and innovative approaches and messages to communicate this concept. Organisations not typically known for their public campaigning can make very powerful interventions, which can in many ways be more powerful if they are unexpected.

Campaigners should use the right tactic, at the right time, with the right audience. No matter how much you plan, be flexible enough to be ready take advantage of unexpected opportunities. Once a particularly innovative campaign theme or action has succeeded, its impact will not be as great next time round. You need to constantly create new ways to dramatise an issue as you build pressure for change.

Inside, outside – or both

You may come across mention of campaigns taking an ‘insider’ or an ‘outsider’ approach. This distinguishes between campaigns that work within the confines of the target they are want to influence – government or private or public body – to make change and those willing to stand in outright opposition, putting pressure on a target through challenge or conflict.

In reality the insider/outsider distinction can break down quickly as many campaigns combine low-key lobbying with campaigning that seeks the glare of publicity. A more helpful dividing line is to think about how far you want to be pushing at fundamental principles of the target or improve certain aspects of a policy or the way it is carried out. Is being confrontational in public the only way you can make headway? How much room do you want to leave for quiet compromises at a future date?

Clearly your campaign style will affect your relationships with target decision makers and the possibility of success you may have.

Some types of campaigning, or tactics, include:

  • marches, demonstrations or smaller protests
  • public meetings and rallies
  • symbolic association with the cause such as wearing a badge or wristbands
  • non-violent and legal direct action activities.

The tactics and tone you adopt in your campaign must fit with the values of your organization.

Always ensure that you have the right permissions to carry out any campaign action.


Page last edited Jun 13, 2017

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