How to reignite the ‘celebration day’ in your marketing, produce quality films in the developing world, and how not to handle crisis communications

Written by Strategic Agenda’s Communications and Writing team

 Working together to conquer comms in the development sector

We are Strategic Agenda, a communications agency that provides strategy, content, design, video and linguistic services to the global development and aid community.

This newsletter highlights impressive campaigns-for-gooddigital tools, and the latest news relevant to third sector comms. Each month, our writers and comms experts research the latest trends in the sector, so you don’t have to. Our aim is to support and enrich your experience of working in communications and contribute to development and aid campaigns that are more memorable, far-reaching, and valuable to users.

Campaign spotlight: UNICEF’s ‘Poems for Peace’ and Charity Water’s ‘Pledge your Birthday’

The annual day, or celebration day, often feels like an easy MarComms win, especially for stretched comms officers and strained social media managers seeking to feed the daily beast.

Put together a graphic, the thinking goes – maybe even a carousel – exhibit the values of your organisation, and elicit a chorus of support from your followers. However, the question needs to be asked: is this really impactful? Is it purposeful? Have you made a difference, or simply ticked a box?

This month, we are highlighting two campaigns, from UNICEF and charity: water , that take on the celebration day a little differently. These two examples show how community engagement and multimedia and multichannel approaches can make your annual day campaign stand out, provide a variety of content options, and closely align your activity with your organisational values and objectives. Read our full article for a deeper analysis of the strategies behind UNICEF’s and Charity Water’s campaigns.



Strategic Agenda’s film production amid an energy crisis in Madagascar

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) (SEforALL) is an international organisation that supports communities to implement affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy initiatives in line with SDG 7. In February 2024, our film team travelled to Madagascar to shoot a collection of films for SEforAll to showcase the impact of solar grids on communities, in a country where only 25% of the population have access to electricity. Find out more about our filming experience in Madagascar in the full article.



Improve your SEO: Keep your website visible in the changing digital landscape

Calling all leadership teams: all comms and marketing professionals know that using SEO to maintain a flow of traffic to our websites is essential. However, Google’s announcement of their AI search engine changes the game as we know it. Google AI produces a much more detailed summary than standard search engines, including an overview of the topic which is searched, and links to learn more.

Here are five top tips to make sure people can still find your content:

  1. Be visual and creative: Incorporate more videos and images into your website, and turn boring text-based content into eye-catching visuals to stand out in AI search results.
  2. Long-tail keywords: Forget about generic, short keywords, and instead deploy longer-tail keywords which answer the detailed questions your audience is actually asking. First identify those long-tail keywords and phrases, and then make sure your website has the answers.
  3. Let users do the talking: Encourage customers to leave reviews, testimonials and social media shutouts. AI search engines are increasingly featuring content from sites such as Reddit, so having a strong presence on these platforms is a huge advantage.
  4.  Keep an eye on Google’s AI moves: Google are always mixing things up with their AI tools, such as combining Performance Max and Broad Match. Stay in the loop on these updates, so you can adjust your strategies.
  5. Experiment: The AI search landscape is still new, and no one has all the answers yet. Encourage your team to try out different tactics, keep track of what works, and be ready to switch things up based on your results. Stay flexible.

How not to do crisis communications: learning from the IFC scandal

For several months, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has been engulfed in a scandal over sexual abuse in a chain of private schools they funded in Kenya. Rather than following their approach of punishing the whistleblowers, the IFC should have swiftly acknowledged the scandal, launched a thorough investigation, supported victims and implemented strict safeguarding measures to restore trust. For more on this story, check out Inclusive Development International’s reporting.

Learn more: AI to bolster your comms

Events: AI for Good. The UN’s flagship conference is held annually in Geneva and we’re attending. In recent years, ChatGPT has transformed this into an exciting and urgent conference. We’re going to the session on Thursday 30th May, so get in touch if you’re attending and would like to connect with us!

Tools: Chat GPT Mobile App. Unlike the desktop version, the mobile version crucially speaks back to your prompts. This conversational mode is a game changer for learning things like languages but also for exercises like your big moment in the media spotlight. Prepare for an upcoming radio interview by feeding ChatGPT the context, your role and the presenter and ChatGPT can not only generate a script for the imagined interview, but also highlight key arguments for and against.

Reading: Why AI is making you stupid, OpenAI’s (and Google’s) game-changing new releases, and Apple drops the (creative) ball, by Fola Yahaya, CEO of Strategic Agenda.

Stay tuned: The ‘Comms Roundtable’

That’s our monthly commentary on comms in the sector. 

This newsletter aims to start the comms conversation, in anticipation of Strategic Agenda’s ‘Comms Roundtable’ in October 2024. This forum will bring together like-minded comms professionals with a desire to exchange ideas and solve problems. Join us in this forum to talk about the highs, lows and future of comms, as we team up to conquer our ever-evolving line of work. Stay tuned for more info about the roundtable in future newsletters.

Stay in the loop

We’ll send you quarterly updates so you can see what we’re working on, what the future holds and how we’re shaping it.