Organisations line up to run from the Big Society

Posted on 19/12/2011

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Organisations are running from the 'broken' Big Society brand

This weekend saw another key supporter of the Big Society defect.

Following on from a mauling by the Public Accounts Committee, Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, claimed that Big Society communications had failed and the brand is broken. Speaking to the FT, he said:

I think the brand Big Society is now irreparably damaged . . . but the concept of a bigger and stronger society is not . . . And one of the dangers for us is that because the brand has been severely damaged, it’s undermined our role in arguing for public service reform.

So with the voluntary sector now looking to run from the Big Society brand, the warning I gave a few weeks ago to social enterprises to avoid the toxic link with the Big Society becomes even more acute.

In an interview for the Guardian’s Social Enterprise podcast, Sean McGinty and I discussed the importance of ‘Society Profits‘ and how social enterprises should become involved in the campaign to help set themselves apart.

But before organisations sign up for it – and more communications – they need to ensure that they are SET for the media. I explore this more fully in a blog for the ClearlySo site, but in summary, SET stands for Strategy / Explain / Target:

  • Strategy: be clear on the business objective behind communications, the audiences you need to reach to achieve that objective and design tactics which appeal to this audience
  • Explain: avoid jargon, get your messages ready – and your defensive lines ready
  • Target: make sure you do your homework on the media outlets you want to target and don’t rely on press release distribution services – establish one-on-one relationships with key journalists