The book: buy it here

The approach and philosophy used by bbm campaigns to help their clients achieve success is explained in the book Campaign It! co-authored by Alan Barnard, one of the Founding Directors of bbm campaigns.

This book introduces and demonstrates a new, unique and complete approach to communication for change – the Campaign It! model. It is transferable to any sphere of life. It is tried and tested. It works.

Campaign It! discusses the philosophy, attitudes, principles and skills needed to be an effective campaigner and provides a unique and compelling definition of what makes a cause so powerful.

The book has become the standard text for UK Government communications staff and is found on desks throughout Whitehall.

Alan is a regular speaker at 10 Downing Street’s programme of masterclasses and seminars on campaign management for the Government’s top civil service communicators.

You can download a sample chapter by clicking here and you can buy the book by clicking here.

_GW50205Lord Chris Smith
Review of ‘Campaign It! Achieving Success Through Communication’

This is a book about the art – and the science – of campaigning.  And it starts, rightly, not with the campaigners but with the most important parts of the equation – the cause, and the audience.  Learning the lesson of knowing clearly what you want to say, and then thinking about the impact it’s going to have on those you’re talking with: this is at the core of this very useful, very practical book.

Alan Barnard and Chris Parker bring complementary skills and provenance to the task of unravelling the mysteries of campaigning:  Alan from his hands-on and successful campaigning for the Labour Party and others, and Chris from a distinguished academic background.  And the format of the book, setting out at the beginning of each chapter the tasks and questions, then developing the narrative, then focusing the reader on how to put the ideas into practice: this is enormously useful, real-life stuff.

There’s a host of anecdotes and examples, too.  This book is at heart a practical guidebook, not a theoretical treatise.  It leaves you, yes, with a better understanding of the nature of campaigns and communication; but also with a desire and determination to go out and do it.

Alan Barnard was my Election Agent, back in 1992.  He was brilliant at it.  This book distils the wisdom, the experience, the insight, and the practical tips, that have taken him on a long and successful journey since then.   The willing reader will find it invaluable.

Tony Robinson png

Tony Robinson
Review of ‘Campaign It! Achieving Success Through Communication’

I’m a lifelong believer in proportional representation and was delighted to finally get an opportunity in 2011 to campaign for a ‘yes’ vote in the Alternative Vote Referendum. It seems to those of us involved in the ‘yes’ campaign that a fairer system had to be right way to go so the defeat still rankles. Maybe we couldn’t have won, maybe the timing was wrong, maybe the forces marshalled against us were too powerful, maybe, maybe, maybe… But none of those maybes can account for the fact that, even though previously the polls had shown us well in the lead, we didn’t just lose, we were hammered. The only conclusion I can come to is that we were out-campaigned. The ‘No’ voices grew louder and prospered, while we were side-lined and looked like amateurs.

The brains behind the final few weeks of the ‘No’ campaign was Alan Barnard, and I suspect it was his inspiration that undid us. We had become used to negative messages wheeled out by the usual suspects, and were batting them away with complacent ease. But suddenly David Cameron and John Reid were sharing a platform, producing forceful and plausible arguments for maintaining the status quo. We were on the back foot, all eyes were on the ‘No’s’, and we never recovered.

Fran Healy pngOn the strength of this victory, the latest of his many successes, Mr Barnard has now co-authored a book entitled ‘Campaign It’, a salutary read for all woolly-minded idealists like myself who have spent so much of their lives on the losing side. It’s not simply a ‘how to’ book, there are plenty of those on the shelves already. It’s an overview of the whole notion of campaigning, a process that Mr Barnard and his co-author Chris Parker believe can be applied not just to politics, but to all aspects of our lives. It immerses us in the planning and organisation needed to change things collectively, be it attitudes to world poverty or the borders of a residents’ parking zone.

Dave Rowntree Blur and book pngIts central insight is that good campaigning is a synthesis of poetry and prose. The poetry is the cause you believe in, the prose is the ruthlessly organised, meticulously planned, multi-channel, multi-dimensional, timetabled programme of activity. There is a long-overdue explanation of the power of narrative, which the authors define as the shortest possible story that explains what you want to change and why. We hear how this works through the words of campaigning veterans. I particularly enjoyed the quote from Richard Curtis about how ‘Make Poverty History’, (one of the few relatively successful campaigns I’ve ever been involved in), overcame the pervasive competitiveness and suspicion so often seen among development charities. Once the campaigners had agreed a simple narrative, he tells us “It allowed us to have an astonishing alliance between people who fundamentally disagreed about everything”.

There is one omission; the writers make no reference to the black arts of campaigning. Anyone committed to bringing about change is only too familiar with the experience of witnessing their best speakers traduced, their arguments misrepresented and their motives maligned. It would be foolish to believe that such tactics could be expunged from our political culture any day soon, but a recognition that such practices are central to many campaigns, and few tips to counter them would have been warmly welcomed.

Nevertheless this book is a timely contribution to the debate about how to conduct politics in the 21st century, and I recommend it to all those who want to roll their sleeves up and join the hurly-burly. But please don’t tell the Tories about it.



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