Creating Powerful Communications Strategies


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Molly Conisbee, Soil Association

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Creating Powerful Communications Strategies

  1. 1. Charity Communications:Communicating the Soil Association 23 September 2011
  2. 2. Communicating the Soil Association 1. Who we are – our history and achievements 2. How does the Soil Association effect change? 3. Our vision, strategic and lobbying priorities – and how the communications team helps achieve them 4. Recent campaigns – opportunistic and planned
  3. 3. Who we areThe Soil Association is a membership charity, campaigning forhealthy, humane and resilient food, farming and land useWe also certify organic food, farms, timber, textiles and healthand beauty productsIncome from our certification business in part funds ourcharitable activities; we are also funded by members, charitabletrusts, major donors
  4. 4. Where we have come fromWe were founded in 1946 by a pioneering group of scientists,farmers, nutritionists and doctorsThe Soil Association was founded to:• Research the connection between the health of the soil, animals,people and the environment• Create an informed body of public opinion on food, farming,nutrition and health• Show there is a way to feed ourselves sustainably now and inthe future
  5. 5. Our founder, Lady Eve Balfour
  6. 6. Our key achievementsThirty years ago we drafted the world’s first organic farming standards and are responsible forpromoting and maintaining the principles of sustainable agriculture in over 30 countries.As a result of our work, environmental and wildlife benefits of organic farming have receivedofficial endorsement, with significant payments to organic farmers for delivering these publicbenefits. Our policy and campaign work is widely respected and has had a profound impact on ahost of public health issues, including GM, antibiotics, pesticides and animal welfare.Working with key partners, we have played a leading role in creating localised food systems,through farmers’ markets, box schemes and Community Supported Agriculture and supplyingfood to the public and private sectors.By harnessing the support of our farmer and grower members through our Organic FarmNetwork, we have created a nationally significant platform for public education, hosting over onemillion visits a year.Our Food for Life Partnership programme is transforming food culture in 360 schools andcommunities across England, and engaging a further 3,600 schools.
  7. 7. How does the Soil Association effect change?• Clear vision, strategy and objectives – our keyprinciples• Focusing on our policy priorities• Communications strategy works to support thesegoals
  8. 8. Vision and pillars of work
  9. 9. Setting our policy priorities: the driversClimate change, diminishing resources that modern agriculture has become dependenton (oil, phosphates, minerals, water), and a growing world population to feed Decreased reliability of production and crop productivity Resource shortages Climate change Emissions Increasing Food waste use of resources Unfair and unequal Produce more food distribution of food A growing Wealthier Changing diets Unequal population populations wealth
  10. 10. Communications Strategy - Form• Re-positioning the Soil Association• Building the brand• Mapping the audiences and stakeholders• Defining the key messages
  11. 11. Communications strategy - Norm• Secure staff buy-in and understanding: everyone whoworks for the Soil Association is responsible for ourcommunications – ‘total communications’• Own the brand and messages: tight, succinct, butmeaningful to incorporate top policy and fundraising asks• Ensure our stakeholders are clear about what we aretrying to do, when and why – they are our ambassadorstoo
  12. 12. Communications Strategy - Storm • Reaching out – showing that change to our food and farming systems is necessary, desirable, achievable • Aiming high - celebrate pioneers, best practice, stimulate research • Building our organisation – living our values and philosophy
  13. 13. Tactics without strategy is the slowest route tovictory. Strategy without tactics is the noise beforedefeat. Sun Tzu Turning plans into campaigns • How will it create the change we believe in? • Tactics vs. strategy • Opportunism • Planned campaigns
  14. 14. The Opportunistic Campaign: Foston Pig Farm
  15. 15. Not in my Banger
  16. 16. The Planned Campaign: Organic September
  17. 17. Discover Organic Campaign• Developed identity, strapline, key messages,supporting messages and boilerplate• Marketing toolkit for licensees – big social mediapresence in 2011 (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr,YouTube• Events and supporting activities – campaign tobe ‘owned’ by community Discover Organic