When working to combat opposition, campaigns often employ the use of new mediums of communication. Facebook, Twitter, and various real-time social media platforms have become a central focus of many public affairs organizations. Utilizing these platforms is effective and produces results in a number of ways. It is even safe to say that in our modern world a communication organization cannot completely reach its full potential without these vehicles of communication.
Yet, to create effective, engaging, grassroots energy campaigns, traditional, tried and true campaign tactics are needed. Many companies often overlook traditional, tried and true tactics, such as direct mail, phone banking, and canvassing, because the tactics may seem outdated in a tech focused world. However, if these media are excluded, companies are doing their target audiences a great disservice.
Let’s review the ways in which traditional communicative tactics serve communities effectively. Three particular methods work best in order to forge quality relationships between an organization and a community.
Direct Mail Campaigns:
Energy projects generally have a large support base, yet some supporters fail to voice their support. Direct mail allows companies to identify and motivate supporters to ardently back the progress of a new project.
Direct mail should be set up to inform and gauge targeted communities. The direct mail should inform and engage its receiver. Through providing accurate and useful information via direct mail, we are able to debunk any general misinformation regarding the project. To engage the receiver, a series of questions in the direct mail creates a discussion. Receivers’ answers uncover the range of support or opposition to an energy project.
Phone banking is an easy, inexpensive way to find supporters in a community. It can also further your project’s understanding of a particular community. By asking few short questions over the phone, Public Strategy Group is able to identify supporters and determine their level of support.
In understanding the extent of supporter advocacy, we can engage in a discussion regarding potential steps they can take to become more involved in the energy project. Steps may be to write a letter to the governing town body, speak on behalf of the supporting constituency, or simply attending a town meeting.
Canvassing is another tried and true campaign tactic. Renewable energy projects often create a good deal of controversy. Some people enjoy discussing the benefits of these developments, whereas other individuals don’t think these resources are worth time, money, and space. Canvassing allows us to take our analysis of support one step further by entering into real time, face to face discussion with individuals. These individuals may either support or oppose a project. Also, meeting face to face with opposition, shows how your company respects the opposition’s opinions.
Canvassing is a tactic that has been completely forgotten by a variety of public affairs organizations because in today’s world, a great deal of our communication occurs through technology. As a result of this changing element of communication, there seems to be a lack of personal relationships between public affairs and individuals of communities. Canvassing offers an opportunity to meet your target audience face to face and inform, discuss, and forge relationships with individuals.
Today, energy projects face a variety of obstacles. Opposition may occur regardless of a project’s various benefits. Opposition may found its beliefs on misinformation or genuinely opposes any new developments. There is often a group of people that appreciate the benefits of certain projects, but they are tentative to speak their mind. Traditional, tried and true tactics create personal, real time relationships with both sides of a dispute. These tactics create a connection, which enables companies to understand their communities and develop support. A solid communication support system eventually drives project success.
Al Maiorino started Public Strategy Group, Inc. in 1995. He has developed and managed multiple corporate public affairs campaigns in a variety of industries such as gaming, cable television, retail development, auto racing, power plant/wind farm projects, and housing/residential projects. Al received his BA in political science and a MA in American studies from the University of Connecticut.