«The place to be for strategic thinkers»

Giovanna de Marco has written an excellent article on the Campaigning Summit Switzerland for the UN Special Magazine on Multilaterism. I got the article today and would like to share it.

Do it with love, no matter what. That is the belief that anything we do must have our brain’s mark and also our love’s imprint. This is also the leading idea of the “Campaigning Summit Switzerland”, taking place in Zurich on 13 March.

Campaigning Summit Switzerland is a great opportunity to gather experts and lovers of communication, public relations, social media, change management and personal development. At this event, new trends and innovations in the field of advertisement campaigning and the art of storytelling as an extraordinary tool to engage people are displayed. We met Peter Metzinger, founder of business campaigning. He and a team of passionate campaigning aficionados created a platform where the not-for-profit, political and corporate sectors, can learn from each other through stories and examples; where they can learn to think “outside the box” and consequently embrace change.

What is business campaigning?

Business campaigning is a management model to achieve change by engaging people. It is also a way of thinking, a philosophy that originated in the strategies of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like Greenpeace, which are accustomed to “impossible missions” with extremely challenging goals, big opponents and tight budgets, too tight for what they deem necessary to succeed.

Business campaigning is the framework for a coordinated series of strategically planned activities or operations to change the behavior and thinking of specific groups of people. It is more than communication.

Question: Campaigning Summit is an event involving different sectors, where multilateralism is the keyword. Can you tell us more about it?

Answer: We have representatives coming from many fields such as public relations, advertising, NGOs, political campaigning, social media, change management. A mixed crowd with one common denominator: achieving change by turning target groups from opponents to supporters of a goal. It is a true hub to connect professionals from the non-profit and business sectors.

Q: You have been creating campaigns since 1982. How does your background as physicist help or influence your approach?

A: My two first campaigns were against a paint sludge landfill outside our village and against written tests during my physics studies at the University of Heidelberg. As a physicist you learn to analyze very critically any assumption and to be extremely precise in how you define things. This way of thinking helps me a lot when it comes to deeply understanding the initial situation and to defining the goals of a campaign. Too many campaigns are based on an insufficient situation analysis or goals that have not been clearly defined. These campaigns are doomed to fail in general. The mechanisms of campaigning, of course, I did not learn at university but trough experience “out in the field”.
Q: What is the main goal of the Campaigning Summit Conference and what can we expect from such an event?

Our mission is to bring together people who are interested in the latest state-of-the art approaches to change management and communications. Our objective is to offer a platform for inspiration, networking and learning from each other, especially from representatives of other professions who need answers to similar questions, such as: “how do I engage people to help me achieve my goals?” and “how do I make people change their behavior or their way of thinking?”.
Q: Why is it important to attend the conference?

A: For networking, inspiration and knowledge exchange between professionals. For instance, marketing specialists can learn from change management specialists, public affairs experts can learn from social media experts and the other way around. The feedback we received from the past Campaigning Summits was that there are many marketing conferences, but none of them is as inspiring and useful as the Campaigning Summit Zurich, now called Campaigning Summit Switzerland.
Q: What will make campaigns successful in the future?

Social media have brought us new dimensions that strengthen the way of campaigning. Authenticity as prerogative will become even more important, not only because of the increased transparency that comes along with social media but also as a result of issues like the National Security Agency scandal. The space for manipulation is strongly reducing.

Just as important is a new way of thinking. Not only do we need to use networks, we also need to think in networks. This thinking is called “Relational Thinking”. It is about the relation between people, organizations, different communication channels and professions. If we understand relational thinking, we are ready for the next phase of marketing, communication and corporate strategy.

You can download the article here.

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