UNICEF Hungary and Kék Vonal Foundation run campaigns on a wide array of topcis within child abuse, including cyberbullying and domestic violence, and two of them were nominated for the Hungarian Civil Society Award 2021. They find that many areas are still considered taboos, and victim blaming is present even when talking about children. So when it comes to creating campaigns in complicated topics, they had a lot to share.
Involve your target group from the beginning
Luckily it’s becoming more and more fundamentally accepted that we can’t talk about any group without their involvement: whoever may be our target group, they are the ones who know their actual needs and the best ways to reach them. However, sometimes when it comes to children, it’s still easy to think that we know best - after all, we’ve all been kids, and now we are so much wiser! But if we really want to communicate to them, their own input is invaluable, their feedback and ideas can’t be substituted any other way than actually listening to them. Good ways to involve youth in our campaign planning could be organizing a focus group, or in the long term even having a children and youth advisory board, who have the opportunity to react and share their opinions on a regular basis.
Look for pro bono communication support
Let’s be realistic: our capacities and our skills are not endless, and having a really effective campaign requires both. Luckily a good cause can attract good people: both UNICEF and Kék Vonal had positive experiences in working with communication agencies pro bono. The agencies’ creative ideas and professional expertise got the campaigns to the next level, increasing their impact.
Ethical visuals can be creative
When it comes to vulnerable groups, including children it can be challenging to find proper photos and visuals. UNICEF and KÉK Vonal were sure from the beginning that they don’t want to show depressing or aggressive images of children in distress in the campaign - but then how to get people’s attention? With the support of a communication agency they came up with unique visuals, using bruises as the main image. Used both in citylights and online, it grasped people's attention without ethical concerns and conveyed a complex message in a very simple way.
Recognize the signs! Not all injuries are as visible as this bruise, but most of them still leave their traces forever. Recognize and act against child abuse!
Your target audience can be wider than you think
In a complex issue such as child abuse it might not be the best approach to narrow the target group too much. Even if the message is aimed at one target grouo (i.e children), it’s good to be prepared that a wider audience will react, and have content to offer to them too. In this example, manuals were created not only for children and parents, but also for grownups and “onlookers” - those who might meet child abuse around them, and then will be interested and want to find ways to help.
Influencers are best when attached
An important part of the campaigns were working with influencers and celebrities - something that many CSOs would like to try, yet, still finds too difficult to manage. One tip for starters is to look for influencers who are personally affected by our issue, or have a deeper personal connection. This will not only make them more motivated to join, but give authenticity to their content.
You can listen to the podcast in Hungarian here on Hive Mind's Spotify channel. The podcast was created byNIOK Foundation's team (Balázs Gerencsér, Vera Bécser) with Luca Jakab (communication and CSR, Kék Vonal) and Lilla Antal (communication, UNICEF) as guests.