Why communication campaigns?
Communication campaigns are evident if you want to influence the behavior or attitudes of a target group. Communication campaigns create awareness about the problem, ensure an increased level of knowledge and usually also give concrete advice on what the target group should do. At the same time, communication campaigns make visible the organization or company behind the campaign and show its values and responsibility – or perhaps even its raison d'être. Because of this, you must start by clarifying what you want to achieve with the campaign. Who is the target group? Should the target group have new knowledge? Or should it change behavior? Is it important that we are visible as a sender, or is it solely about the case?
How is the communication campaign best accomplished?
The target group's barriers to the more appropriate behavior must be uncovered, and it must be tested whether the arguments and materials that are planned are relevant and understandable for the target group. Focus group interviews, questionnaire surveys or research can be done to gain this knowledge. These insights are necessary for a campaign to be successful as well as it is important to understand the role of the sender. If you are, e.g., a public agency with a teenage target group, it does not work to try to behave young with the young people. You must be trustworthy in your role as sender.
This is also where a dialogue must be created with relevant organizations and partners and at the same time taking a position on any critics. In the end, you have to come up with an overall and concrete plan for the communication campaign.
How do you develop the campaign materials and reach your target audience?
When companies start planning campaigns, it is natural for some to jump straight to what may seem most interesting: selecting channels and produce creative content, as it can often seem fun and straightforward. A large part of campaign planning is of course considering materials and channels, but on the other hand it is not the first step. The campaign materials must be developed on the basis of professional knowledge, understanding of the target group and of course with a strategic goal in mind. It is also important to consider a division of one's target group in order to make communication efforts more effective in this way. If there are large differences within the target group, subdivisions may be needed. Find out who the direct and indirect target audience is. Perhaps the communication should be addressed to a different target group than the target group we actually want to change behavior, and thus work with a so-called auxiliary target group. But even though the campaign's materials have a strategic purpose, the development of the materials is to a large extent a creative process, where both the visual and the strategic play a role in the final product.
It is important that the cool, creative idea does not become the driving force behind the campaign. There are many examples of senders getting too enamored with a fun idea without making sure it will achieve the goals you have. Materials and communication channels must be carefully considered. Not all channels are suitable for all campaigns. For example, young people do not read Politiken. For some campaigns, it is films or events that work best, while with other campaigns you have to focus on the press and digital media.
What is the best advice when developing a campaign?
If you want to develop campaigns that have to move something, it is often best with concrete messages that get everyone on board and reach the recipients at the time when the messages are most relevant to them. If information could change the world, Denmark would probably have been smoke-free, less obese and traffic-safe a long time ago. Professional communicators know this. If a message needs to really have impact, more is needed.