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How union communicators can succeed in 2014
This year promises to be an eventful one for progressive communicators, and we’d really like to see you knock it out of the park. So we asked around NOW’s offices: what are the ways (large and small) unions (small and large) could dramatically improve their communications impact?
Here are some of the suggestions we heard. And whether you’re a professional leading a major public campaign, a volunteer helping your local get the word out, or somewhere in between, we suspect you’ll find a potential new year's resolution or two in here:
- Focus. Limit the number of issues you’re speaking out on and campaigning for. Stick to your key messages. And if your resources don’t let you have an effective presence in every channel and medium, then pick the ones where you’ll be most effective.
- Use your indoor voice. Emotion is crucial to persuasion — but over-the-top outrage shouldn’t be your default setting. If every communication is out of anger, people will tune you out.
- Humanize your union. Talk about your union as people, not as an institution, an office, or a set of rules and procedures. Give rank-and-file members every opportunity to be spokespeople, leaders at events, participants in lobbying and more. And offer them the training, coaching and mentorship to be a success.
- Focus on people. Instead of dwelling on a policy or process around an issue, talk about how it affects people… especially if those people are your audience.
- Look (and think) before you share. We’re seeing more and more folks falling publicly for hoaxes and misunderstood parodies, sharing them online as the real thing… and then wiping some virtual egg off their faces. If a story seems too good to be true, it may well be.
- Have fun. When humour’s appropriate, crack a few jokes, even (especially) at your own expense. Just avoid sarcasm and sneering, and remember: progressive humour pokes fun up the power hierarchy, not down.
- Dress for 2014. I know your logo doesn’t look like Microsoft’s clip art library threw up into a bowl with your union’s name around the rim. But give it a hard look and ask if it’s time for a change. Then hire a professional designer to help you bring your brand and visual identity into the present.
That's just half of our suggestions. Check out the full list here — and have a terrific new year!
Name: NOW Communications Group
Location: Canada-wide with offices in Vancouver, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax
Bio: Full service advertising. Social marketing. Union communications. Electoral campaigns. Change marketing. NGOs & Associations. Video, online & interactive. Training & Coaching.
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