Stepping back or stepping off a cliff? When stories need to be reframed

One of my favourite quotes is from one of the best storytellers of our time, Barack Obama. He once said: “I had to know and understand my own story before I could listen and help others with theirs.”Obama Quote-01

So often,  we run into organizations that are struggling to understand their story. Especially when it comes to advocacy, they have an idea of what they want to happen but not why.

Sure,  usually it’s pretty easy to answer why they want change for their business or for their members. But the real magic happens when they understand why the change is important to a broader audience. And it’s this understanding that opens the doors to creating champions and sparking a movement that leads to real change.

One example of this is a client we were working with that had been working for years lobbying government and businesses to allow their members access to technology that would allow them to remain competitive in their industry. It really was a must. And as far as a business competition issue goes,  they were spot on in their storytelling.

BUT,  the government didn’t want to get involved in business competition issues. And the big businesses involved had little incentive to make a deal with the little guys represented by the association.

And so this organization continued to spin its wheels trying to make change going up against two fairly immovable forces. And they were understandably frustrated.

This is when Amplifi entered the picture,  when we were asked to assist them in developing an advocacy campaign leading to their members gaining access to the technology needed.

We looked at their previous work,  examined the issue,  considered the decision makers that needed to be influenced, and concluded that while yes,  their story was about business competition it was also about the right of consumers to choose where they do their business.

So we helped them reframe their story so that it appealed to the general public. And taking this new story,  we were able to create advocacy materials that made people realize that this issue was important to them. Armed with this new story,  members were mobilized in every riding across Canada – leading to the change long sought after.

Without taking a step back to take a look at the issue,  the audience,  and the story,  this change never would have happened.

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