Strategic communication campaigns are an essential tool for businesses, governments, and organizations to achieve their goals of influence and conversion. A strategic communication campaign is a well-planned and executed effort to communicate a specific message to a targeted audience in a way that achieves a desired outcome. Successful strategic communication campaigns have the power to influence public opinion, change behaviors, and achieve specific goals, which makes your ability to create and launch your own strategic communications campaigns a truly powerful skill. In this article, let’s explore five examples of successful strategic communication campaigns and analyze how they achieved their goals.
Nike's "Dream Crazy" Campaign
Nike's "Dream Crazy" campaign, featuring Colin Kaepernick, was a groundbreaking strategic communication campaign that sparked a nationwide conversation on racial injustice and police brutality. The campaign featured a black and white image of Kaepernick with the tagline "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." The campaign was a bold move by Nike, as Kaepernick had been at the center of a national controversy for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. The campaign aimed to align Nike with the values of social justice and equality and show that the brand was not afraid to take a stance on a controversial issue.
The campaign generated significant media coverage, with over 4 million mentions on social media and 15 million views of the campaign video within the first 48 hours. Nike's stock price initially fell but quickly recovered, and the company reported a 10% increase in sales in the following quarter. The campaign's success was due to Nike's willingness to take a stand on a divisive issue and align its brand with the values of its target audience.
Dove's "Real Beauty" Campaign
Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign was a strategic communication campaign that aimed to challenge the beauty industry's narrow definition of beauty and promote a more inclusive and diverse definition of beauty. The campaign featured women of all ages, sizes, and races and encouraged women to embrace their natural beauty. The campaign was a departure from traditional beauty advertising, which often promotes unrealistic beauty standards and photoshopped images.
The campaign generated significant media coverage, with over 10 million views of the campaign video within the first month. The campaign's success was due to Dove's willingness to challenge the beauty industry's status quo and connect with its target audience on an emotional level.
Airbnb's "We Accept" Campaign
Airbnb's "We Accept" campaign was a strategic communication campaign that aimed to promote diversity and inclusion on its platform. The campaign featured a series of videos and ads that highlighted Airbnb hosts and guests from diverse backgrounds and emphasized the company's commitment to inclusivity.
The campaign generated significant media coverage, with over 5 million views of the campaign video within the first week. The campaign's success was due to Airbnb's willingness to take a stance on a social issue and align its brand with the values of its target audience.
Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" Campaign
Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign was a strategic communication campaign that aimed to increase brand loyalty and engagement among millennials. The campaign featured personalized bottles with individual names and encouraged consumers to share a Coke with friends and family.
The campaign generated significant media coverage, with over 500,000 photos shared on social media using the hashtag #shareacoke. The campaign's success was due to Coca-Cola's ability to connect with its target audience on a personal level and create a sense of community around its brand.
The ALS Association's "Ice Bucket Challenge" Campaign
The ALS Association's "Ice Bucket Challenge" campaign was a viral sensation that took social media by storm in the summer of 2014. It was a strategic communication campaign aimed at raising awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The challenge involved individuals dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads and challenging others to do the same or donate to ALS research. The campaign quickly went viral, with celebrities, politicians, and ordinary people participating and posting their videos on social media, using the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge.
The campaign's success was phenomenal, with over 17 million people taking the challenge and 440 million social media interactions worldwide. The campaign raised over $220 million for ALS research, a significant increase from the $2.8 million raised in the same period in the previous year. The ALS Association used the funds to support research, patient services, and advocacy efforts.
So, what made all these campaigns so successful?
First, the campaigns had a clear and simple message, easy to understand and participate in.
Second, each campaign had a strong emotional appeal and tapped into people's desire to participate in change, a movement, an ideal, or make a difference and help those in need.
Third, each campaign had a broad reach. Each had an obviously broad target, and all were easy to ‘see yourself in’ and share on social media, making it accessible to people of a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
Last, the campaigns were well-timed, either to the zeitgeist of the times, changes to consumer interests and behaviour, or the season.
Creating and launching a successful strategic communications campaign of any kind requires careful planning, execution, and analysis. Here are some basic steps to follow as you attempt your own:
Define your objectives: Start by identifying what you want to achieve with your campaign. What are your goals? Are you trying to increase brand awareness, promote a new product, or raise funds for a cause? Your objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
Know your audience: Understanding your target audience is critical to the success of your campaign. Who are they? What are their interests, habits, and behaviors? What channels do they use to consume information? The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your message and delivery to them.
Craft your message: Your message should be clear, concise, and compelling. It should resonate with your audience and align with your objectives. Your message should also differentiate you from your competitors and highlight your unique selling points.
Choose your channels: Decide which channels you will use to reach your audience. Will you use social media, email marketing, traditional media, or a combination of these? Your choice of channels should be based on your audience's preferences and behaviors.
Develop a content plan: Develop a plan for the content you will create and share across your channels. Your content should align with your message and be relevant and engaging to your audience. Consider using a mix of formats, such as text, images, videos, and infographics, to increase engagement.
Determine your budget: Decide how much you can allocate to your campaign. Your budget should cover all aspects of your campaign, including creative development, production, media buying, and analytics.
Create a timeline: Create a timeline for your campaign, including key milestones, deadlines, and deliverables. Make sure you allocate enough time for planning, execution, and analysis.
Launch your campaign: Once you have completed the planning and preparation, it's time to launch your campaign. Make sure you have all the creative assets and content ready to go. Monitor your channels closely and be prepared to adjust your strategy if necessary.
Analyze and optimize: Use analytics to track your campaign's performance and measure your progress against your objectives. Use this data to optimize your strategy and adjust your tactics for maximum impact. Remember to stay flexible and adapt to changing circumstances.
Evaluate and learn: Once your campaign is over, evaluate its success and learn from the experience. What worked well, and what could be improved next time? Use these insights to inform future campaigns and build on your success.
Creating and launching a successful strategic communications campaign requires a combination of planning, high creativity, and analytics. Be inspired by what you see working around you, and follow a process, staying focused on your objectives and audience. Remember to be flexible and adaptable, and always be prepared to learn from your experiences.