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Links of the Day – all about Bin Laden

2 May

These are links to the most interesting reports about Bin Laden’s death.

How not to run a campaign – because its un-Australian

14 Apr

The un-Australian campaign has been fairly well pummelled in the press. So much so that I don’t think I’ve heard the Government give it a serious response or the Coalition giving it any credence either. That being said, below are a few learnings from the campaign.

  1. Don’t skimp on sub-editing or copy-writing. There are at least two typos in the $20 million ad. Address has two Ds. Choose how you want to spell licence.
  2. Just because you use Facebook and Twitter, doesn’t mean people will automatically like or follow you.
  3. The public are a lot cleverer than they used to be – they know when they are being used.
  4. “Australia is a nation of gamblers” is a dumb thing to say. People don’t want to be gamblers, they enjoy a good punt, they like a flutter or two.
  5. People don’t consider playing the pokies gambling. Two-up – yes, blackjack – yes, horse racing – yes. There is something about those pastimes that have more symbolism than the pokies.
  6. People know people with a gambling problem in Australia.
  7. Don’t use website tools such as online polls and then publish the live results unless you are sure the results will show support your campaign.
  8. If point 4 backfires, don’t leave the tool on your website for 48 hours until you come up with something to put in its place
  9. Don’t be too brazen with your spin. No one has ever seriously proposed a licence for gamblers except you.
  10. As an addition to point 7 – Don’t treat people like idiots
  11. Why is it un-Australian to stop problem gamblers gambling?
  12. Pay for polling and focus groups before you launch a campaign like this. The ad buy is around $20 million – you can afford it.
  13. Don’t ever, ever just assume because you are running a campaign, it will get support. This campaign stinks of industry types coming together saying we need to fight back against the government, therefore if we use strategy a from campaign a and strategy b from campaign b and then utilise the tactics from campaign c, we are onto a winner. More often than not, these tactics haven’t been thought about properly. Will they fit my campaign? Will they educate people they way I want to educate them?
  14. Don’t leave yourself open to very clever attacks like the one to the right. Is this therefore Australian?

Rally for Climate Action

3 Apr

Yesterday, a number of my friends and I went to the Rally for Climate Action at Belmore Park. It was a great event with some good speakers, in-particular Simon Sheikh from Get-Up.

I was however very disappointed there were no ALP representatives there. This is, after all, their policy that they are trying to sell and they should have representatives ready to speak to a crowd of supporters. It may be because they are scared of being labelled hypocrites by the Coalition if there are extreme leftists holding up anti-Abbott placards. Or it could be because the ALP are the party of Government, and in the eyes of some who would have been in attendance, they have made some questionable decisions regarding asylum seekers, banking, etc. etc. so there is always the prospect of anti-Government feeling, which would then become the story.

But within that audience, there was a good deal of respect for the Government for launching a pragmatic environmental policy that has led to negativity and even attacks from some on the right-wing. Essentially, the left is displaying our martyr worship again.

Anyway, below is an incredibly short video, just to show the size of the crowd.

Do your research!!!

19 Jan

I saw this piece on Huffington Post recently regarding a huge error surrounding a Minnesota anti-drink driving advertisement. Essentially, it is all about having a designated driver to drive you home after a night out. It uses the emotional language surrounding a best friend, which is signified by a guy’s trusty steed. That’s all nice and fuzzy, except this is a case where a marketing team was given a concept, fed back an idea and then someone thought “that’s a nice ” and it went into production, but no one did any research.

Now the drama surrounding the ad is that, apparently, according to Minnesota law, it isn’t illegal to ride a horse while drunk. So now there is an issue of people thinking “well, according to the ad, I can ride home after a big night out.”

Nice one.

I’m currently reading a book by Chris Rose called How to Win Campaigns – 100 steps to success. Rose is a senior former Greenpeace campaigner and is now a leading thinker regarding NGO campaigning. In his book, he gives significant time to the importance of researching a campaign and campaign messaging – something which you would think is pretty much a given, but obviously isn’t put into practice all of the time.

Essentially, a succesful campaign is a long-term, structured and strategised programme and all communications have to be structured and strategised as well. That includes research. I don’t know if this utilised an external agency, but if it did, someone somewhere should have been checking the details behind the concept.

I had lunch here a week and a half ago and now it is underwater #qldflood

12 Jan

 

Social media and the Queensland floods

11 Jan

 

This is probably one of the most awesome displays of mother nature I have ever seen. I know Toowoomba reasonably well, so it is a bit crazy seeing this all happen. My home of Brisbane is apparently next because all of these flooded rivers head towards the Brisbane River.

Apparently Brisbane will be hit tomorrow.

But it is an interesting use of social media in Queensland. The Govermnet twitter feeds and facebook sties are putting out regular alerts, as are the news stations. Pictures are being posted on flikr and facebook and videos are clearly going up on youtube. There is live streaming online andpaywalls are coming down to ensure people get all the warning they can

The public are being alerted informed like never before and thank god for that.

 

Communications is the key to political success

10 Jan

I’ve just finished All that’s left – What Labor should stand for, which is a reasonably interesting read looking at the future of the Australian (and in the process global) Labour momevements. It a philasophical look of where we on the left are, where we’ve come from, and where we have to go to ensure social justive and the future of social democracy. There was some interesting articles in there,  but there is a gaping chasm that we on the left we seem never to fill and it is one of my greatest irks.

Where is the section about selling ideas to the public? There is plenty about how the labour movement needs to increase social engagement and that government should be out to help the people, but there is nothing so far as to how to sell it to the public. There is a section on getting trust back into politics, but that isn’t quite the same.

Kevin Rudd made a number of mistakes, some big, some small, but I still believe his biggest one and the err that ultimatly led to his downfall, was the cutting of department communications budgets. When I was looking for a job when I got back to Australia, a public affairs recruitment agent told me that when Rudd got into power departmental communications and marketing positions dried up. This got me thinking, how much did this have to do with his downfall and I figure a lot.

Put it this way. This was a time where a new Government with a relativly progressive agenda wanted to sell in grand new ideas and new ways of doing things. But there was no one to sell it. Communications budgets were cut, so the advertising was left to the Prime Ministers’ office and the cabinet members’ press officers and they couldn’t do it. Not because they weren’t talented enough, but there wasn’t enough time in the day to package it and get it out there. That made it look like they couldn’t engage with the public.

You could also probably guarantee that the communications teams weren’t included in concept planning from day one either. Its important for a comms plan to be included in planning right from day one, so pit falls and wins can be planned out right from the begining.

The CPRS and the Mining Super Profits Tax are two examples where poor comms planning completely blew up in the ALP’s faces. In the case of the CPRS, the Government was trumped by the Opposition having a) not being able to sell the concept to the public b)  not being able to forsee the right wing views that took over in the Opposition and c) Abbott had a catchier line with “a great big new tax”, which is devilishly brilliant. The great big new tax is also an example of  sometimes the left needs to get down and fight with conservatives  in the dirt and throw some mud. That’s where they fight and to match them, we have to do. One person on the the left who did do this succesfully was Alastair Campbell (you know I had to chuck that in somewhere).

But still, despite all of this, the book doesn’t even list communications as an important issue. Reengaging with the community and the public is vital. Sometimes we talk to the public, not talk with and we wonder why they don’t hear us.