Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Three Elements of a Successful Social Campaign

Peace Day is an annual event that takes place on September 21st. This year, for Peace Day, the organisation Peace One Day has launched a social action campaign encouraging people to answer the question "Who will you make peace with?" The Global Shapers Geneva Hub has embraced the campaign and sparked a call to action with the entire Global Shapers Community. A number of other hubs, from Guyana to Barranquilla, have taken up the campaign and are raising awareness in their local communities. 

There are three elements that make this specific social action campaign such a success:

The campaign is EMOTIONAL. One of the key elements of the question "Who will you make peace with?" is that it brings about an emotional reaction. It changes the perception of peace as a lofty global goal, where the responsibility lies on diplomats and politicians, and instead focuses on peace as a highly personal and emotional concept.

The campaign has UNIVERSAL APPEAL. When asked "Who will you make peace with?", most of us can immediately think of several people with whom we are NOT at peace. The question has a universal relevance (regardless of cultural, religious, or socio-economic background) that appeals to human behavioural traits. Most of us are holding a grudge against someone or something.

The campaign engages individuals in an AUTHENTIC CONVERSATION. Sharing suggestions for Tweets and Facebook status updates can be effective, but what makes this particular campaign effective is that it asks an open-ended question with no right answer. "Who will you make peace with?" invites us to participate- without judgment, without expectation, without an ulterior motive. It genuinely draws us in to a participatory and meaningful conversation.

These three elements- emotion, universal appeal, and authenticity- have enabled Peace One Day to expand their message beyond those who are familiar with the organisation. Their goal for 2013 is to raise awareness about Peace Day to 600 million people. With their current campaign, I have no doubt that they will succeed.

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