Story-Based Strategies for Winning Campaigns and Building Movements

May 19, 2010 |  By Design Action |  Categories: Messaging and Strategy

Re:Imagining Change by Patrick Reinsborough and Doyle Canning

FINALLY! Our allies at SmartMeme have written a book that is a useful tool for designers and communication strategists. The book Re:Imagining Change by Patrick Reinsborough and Doyle Canning is a great handbook for “change agents” who work for social justice. Although geared to the entire campaign from framing and messaging, to outreach, to actions, there is a lot of great information which can be applied to our work as visual communicators. This book fills the gap where George Lakoff fell short — giving us hands-on tools and practical applications of the theory of framing, and taking it beyond.

Re:Imagining Change tells us how to use “Story-based Strategies” as a method to reframe the story and shift the power from the mainstream narrative (read: right-wing, conservatives, corporate, government) to OUR messages. By retelling the story in our campaigns, we take control of the message. In this way, we can create “memes”– viral images, phrases and symbols–which will spread and be distributed through organizing efforts. We learn how to intervene at “points of assumption” to challenge the popular narrative and belief systems which maintain the status quo and to offer alternatives.

What I found useful in this book are the actual worksheets for the activist to use to help analyze the narrative power and to come up with creative strategies for winning. Even the layout of information and formatting of the text made it accessible and easy to read and reference.  This is a fun book to read and has a lot of supporting imagery and pullout boxes.

Particularly helpful are the case studies where these strategies are put into action. The visual communicator can see examples of brand-jamming, effective advertising, and message and image memes.

I recommend adding this book to any communicator’s library – it may be compact in size, but the value to page ratio is immense!

Available from PM Press.

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