Choke Points, Martini Glasses and Bad Guys: Supply Chain Communications Lessons from the Field

May 2, 2016

Brands really do rule the world these days, and smart campaigners around the globe are developing innovative strategies to achieve climate and other conservation goals by going directly to the companies whose influence has grown so outsized in recent decades. The reality of national and international gridlock on climate solutions has played a significant part in this shift, notwithstanding new hope around the Paris accord.

The success of many private sector campaigns reflects the fact that the world of corporate valuation has changed dramatically. Because of massive shifts in technology, media and global markets, companies are far more vulnerable to public pressure using brand image as the lever than they were even a decade ago. This combination has proven fertile ground for strategies that target the supply chains of major brands, supply chains that usually have far larger environmental impacts than the direct activities of the corporations themselves.

With generous support from the Packard Foundation, we set out to understand what makes these campaigns so rockin’, and particularly what kinds of communications approaches, strategies and tools the best of them are using. Our research is now complete, and packaged in this nifty report.

The report delves into what makes supply chain campaigns successful and perhaps more importantly, replicable. Recent years have seen major wins for several of the campaigns we investigated, and our aim with this report is to dig behind the headlines with in-depth interviews and media analysis to understand how these victories have been won. We focus particularly on both campaign planning and media strategy planning, for a behind-the-scenes look at what has worked, what hasn’t, and how supply chain victories may or may not translate into policy change.

We’re proud to share it with you, and to present the headlines of the research along with some of the campaigners we admire in a May 19 webinar. The webinar is geared to other campaigners and advocates working in this space, or considering doing so, so that lessons can be shared and learned. We hope you’ll join us!

Belinda Griswold