What We Do

bbm campaigns has introduced the disciplines of election campaigning to businesses and organisations. Winning campaign techniques that we developed in politics and Government are now being applied to achieving corporate and not-for-profit goals.

Our Campaign It! model harnesses the techniques, skills and attitudes of political campaigning to create the conditions for success in business, membership organisations and the third sector – and for good causes of every kind.

We start by understanding your desired outcomes, then identifying and researching the people whose support you will need to achieve them.

Next, we help you write and refine the story that will grow support for your cause.

Then we design the campaign to a clear timetable (and manage it, if required) using the best and most appropriate mix of channels, including PR and free media; bought media and direct marketing; digital and social; face-to-face conversations; events; public affairs; retail and point of sale; customer service; customer engagement; and community engagement.

Corporates, charities and governments come to bbm campaigns when they want to change the world – or at least the part of it that’s most important to them.

Approach
Campaign It!

Campaign It! is our approach to organising communications to help clients become more successful and achieve their desired outcomes, whatever they are.

Campaign It! is a discipline that draws on high-level expertise from the world of political campaigning. It is outcome focussed. Deadline driven. All channels integrated with a compelling story; one that will persuade others that the outcome is worth supporting. And the story told in such a way that the target audiences understand it and then take action.

Campaign It! uses campaigns of integrated communications to create the future that allows the desired outcome to become a reality. Because those outcomes really matter to bbm’s clients. What matters to you?

Campaign [kam-peyn]

A bbm campaign is a planned sequence of communications designed to influence specified audiences to take appropriate, timely action to support our clients’ outcomes and to create a different future.

Delivering outcomes that create new futures

Our work is all about using communications, deliberately, to help our clients achieve their objectives and goals. Our campaigns of communications have achieved many diverse outcomes, including:

  • changing an Ofcom regulation that led to a revolution in the way we pay for smartphone use and slashed bills;
  • building community support for major infrastructure projects, including expansion at Heathrow;
  • influencing Government legislation;
  • securing planning permissions;
  • winning votes: at a company AGM, in Parliament and at the United Nations General Assembly;
  • establishing major CSR community programmes;
  • starting a new academic institute at a leading university;
  • developing a charity’s seven-year campaign plan;
  • recruiting and retaining members to a trades union in a shrinking workforce;
  • building reputations and trust in brands and projects;
  • changing organisational culture;
  • shaping and changing public opinion.

In the world of politics, our skills and experience have been commissioned to influence UK-wide debates on voting reform, Scottish independence and our future in the European Union.

What is it that you’d like to be different in the future?

Our approach is based on many years of political campaigning experience

The four directors of bbm campaigns have worked at the very highest levels of political campaigning and in Government. They are considered by their peers as being amongst the best electioneers in a generation, always at the cutting edge of campaign thinking.

They had major impacts during their collective time working for the Labour Party, managing national and local election campaigns, parliamentary by-elections and referenda. They had pivotal roles in the 1997 general election victory and their work has helped change political campaigning in the UK many times over during the last 25 years. Many a senior politician’s career has benefited from the training, advice and support given by these political gurus.

Their political campaign expertise covers: campaign leadership; devising strategy; story-telling and narrative; planning and executing tactics; integrating message delivery through all channels; grid management; election campaigning at national and local levels; grassroots mobilisation; media management and news-story creation;  qualitative and quantitative research.

Using our political campaigning philosophy in business

bbm campaigns has adapted the practices, techniques, philosophy and attitudes developed by the founders as election campaigners and created a model and a process for helping businesses, charities and other organisations achieve their desired outcomes.

They describe their Campaign It! approach as ‘story-telling with a purpose’.

As political campaigners the outcome required is for voters to cast their vote a certain way at an election. Some voters simply have to be mobilised, others have to be persuaded by a promise of a different, better future.

Businesses and other organisations all need to mobilise and persuade other people to take actions in order for the business or organisation to achieve success; to make future conditions supportive of their ambitions and goals.

As with elections, businesses and charity campaigns start with groups of opponents, supporters and ‘don’t knows’ who must be influenced in your favour to a fixed timetable. The skills of bbm campaigns are in integrating communications, all and any appropriate, to mobilise and persuade other people, whether as individuals, groups or the wider public, to take actions in support of achieving outcomes.

Services
Brand and reputation

bbm provides consultancy and Board-level advice on protecting organisational reputation and making your brands work better. We research and advise on the foundations for permanent campaigns of consolidation and renewal that grow membership, markets and influence.

Our research techniques and message development support organisational turnaround and transformation, always building in-house expertise in managing change for the longer term.

We also advise on and execute programmes to manage events and issues leading to critical national media reporting and requiring customer and stakeholder reassurance, often working with legal advisers and statutory authorities.

Corporate strategy brand identity brand audit reputation management turnaround and transformation CEO and Board speeches and presentations internal communications news media management media training Parliamentary inquiries litigation and statutory investigations

Change minds, change the future

The services we offer are based on our core belief that effective campaigns must grow support, connect with communities, create movement and influence people. To succeed, campaigns need the permission of other people, using communications that always influence outcomes in your favour. Changing minds relies on persuasive stories, delivered and told to the right people at the right time.

To achieve success we integrate all of our clients’ communications around a compelling narrative, using all available communication channels and layering the message. By the end of the campaign the message has built to such an extent that it is impossible to ignore.

Growing support for your cause

The decision-makers you want to win over will be influenced by customers, communities, shareholders and media debate.

We take your story to the people that decision-makers listen to, and give them the tools to let their support be known. This can happen with direct communication and with newspaper, TV and radio coverage, as well as social media activity.

Our results scale from small networks of expert influencers to movements with supporters in the millions.

Coalition-building advocacy endorsements supporter database management news media press releases TV and radio coverage social media petitions events bought media

Making a winning case

We craft the language and identify the evidence that will turn your objectives into an emotional cause, so that others can support you.

We mesh an in-depth understanding of your organisation and what you want to achieve with research into your audiences, and what matters to them.

This allows us to develop and test campaign messages and characteristics that make your case with compelling effect.

Story, message development and narrative audience research discussion and research with clients evidence gathering copywriting which is tested and refined infographics content design

Winning your campaign

We work with you to design and manage a planned sequence of communications and events that will change minds and achieve your objectives.

Working to a Campaign Grid, we integrate multi-layered messaging across all channels to an agreed timetable of milestones, achieving specific outcomes in a specific timeframe.

As experts in campaign management, we combine discipline with flexibility to maximise the effectiveness of your whole team, and your budget.

Campaign planning campaign costing campaign management evaluation capacity building grid development and management

Community engagement

To build support for your objectives we inform, engage and sometimes mobilise communities –communities of interest as well as geographical communities.

bbm works with community leaders to extend the reach of your communications into wider networks of stakeholders, often giving a voice to silent majorities in local newspapers and broadcast media.

We also test alternative objectives and options in community consultations. Meaningful and sustainable engagement is developed using direct mail, literature, social media, microsites and events encouraging two-way communication and involvement.

Building supporter databases supporting community advocates endorsements planning applications infrastructure and regeneration consultations direct mail leaflets and newspapers events exhibitions campaign websites social media

Opinion research, market research

We pioneered the qualitative research methods used in national politics, and how to apply them to gain useable insights into your audiences’ beliefs and motivations. Quantitative research is used to measure the scale of the task for a campaign, and to evaluate progress towards your objectives.

Our analysis directly informs how we design the messaging and targeting for campaign communications, producing sophisticated content that changes minds.

Qualitative research and polls are also used for persuasive presentations to decision-makers, and in the news media.

Audience selection analysis qualitative research quantitative research insight communications design intelligence gathering and assessment benchmarking measurement

Standout content design and endorsements

bbm brings your cause to life with persuasive and relevant campaign content, designed to attract attention and be shared.

Our infographics, video and copywriting for social media reach millions, with high conversion rates. We copywrite and design direct mail packages, badges, brochures, advertising, reports and campaign-winning leaflets.

We bring personality to campaigns by advising you on how to approach and recruit famous and influential supporters, and place their endorsements in national media and online.

Print design print management and fulfilment social media content video production copywriting photography infographics annual reports corporate publications websites

Events, conferences and fundraising

We organise and run successful briefings and conferences ranging in size from just a few people to dozens to audiences of more than a thousand. We can advise you on attracting internationally known speakers for policy seminars, receptions and social events.

We work with you to research and invite the right audience, managing invitations and ticketing.

Our events are often integral to fundraising campaigns, and we also create and manage long-term sponsorship and fundraising programmes.

Event concept event organisation and administration speakers, entertainers, content video presentations venue research and management audience research ticketing event sponsorship media management and accreditation webstreaming recording

Changing legislation and regulations

We manage and advise on campaigns to change legislation and regulations for charities, businesses and membership organisations.

Working towards specific and realistic objectives for change, we help organisations design communications and events that will win over MPs and Peers, and provoke national debates.

Petitions letter writing news media coverage Parliamentary monitoring and analysis preparing for Select Committee hearings constituency events Lobbies of Parliament issues research

Work
The Law Society

bbm campaigns was engaged by The Law Society to run its campaign against reductions in the Government’s civil legal aid budget. By developing a narrative providing alternatives to the worst impacts of the proposals, we prevented cuts worth £25 million annually to vital elements of legal aid. The campaign resulted in 14 defeats for the Government during the passage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012), more than any other Bill in the 2010-15 Parliament.

United Nations Staff Unions

bbm campaigns helped frontline UN staff secure the restoration of union rights by analysing how union members, UN management and diplomatic missions perceived each other and then writing a campaign narrative justifying union representation. Budget constraints gave us just six months to deliver and win the campaign. We mobilised 120,000 union members across the world using social media and organised the presentation of a protest letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a memorial service for UN staff killed in the line of duty, gaining global media coverage. Copying these articles with background briefings to Member State Ambassadors led to union recognition being restored within the six month timetable.

ASDA CSR

When ASDA wanted to build deeper relationships with its customers at more than 500 stores, we helped design and roll-out the Community Life charity and social engagement project, later described by CEO Andy Clarke as: “Better than any loyalty card.”

Three

We ran a public-facing campaign called Terminate the Rate for the mobile phone company 3 (now called Three). The purpose of the campaign was to persuade Ofcom to amend an outdated regulation whereby all mobile phone operators were required to charge for historic infrastructure costs, the current impact of which had become to prevent new entrants into the market. We co-ordinated the campaign using many channels – both above and below the line marketing, digital, point of sale, customer service, public affairs and PR. The campaign was successful, revolutionising how we pay for smartphone use and cutting bills for everyone. As a result customers benefited from lower bills and no bill shock and Three became profitable for the first time since they were established.

Back Heathrow

bbm campaigns was asked to provide support to the community-based organisation ‘Back Heathrow’ whose remit is to give a voice to residents in favour of an expanded Heathrow airport. We developed a strategy to show there is a ‘silent majority’ in favour of a bigger, better and quieter airport in the community. Residents have become more confident and vocal in their support for the airport and the boost it gives to the local economy. The campaign had a major impact on the Davies Commission: over 63,000 of the nearly 72,000 responses were in favour of expansion and 53,315 (85% of all favourable responses) were from supporters of the ‘Back Heathrow’ campaign.

CBI

bbm campaigns has helped the CBI Campaigns team improve their messaging for a number of communications campaigns using qualitative and quantitative research to refine their story-sequencing in each case.

The Co-operative Party

We helped secure the Co-operative Party’s funding after the Co-operative Group proposed a motion at its AGM that would have ended its subscription of up to £1m per year. bbm campaigns created a campaign of communications that mobilised Co-op Group members to vote at the Group’s 2015 AGM in favour of continuing to pay the annual membership fee to the Co-op Party.

British Gas

bbm campaigns worked with the CEO of British Gas to create a model of political story-telling that, starting with internal communications, he used across the company to help make its external communications more relevant to their 11 million customers.

Scotland Referendum 2014

(1) We conducted a programme of qualitative research to help plan campaign strategy for the Better Together Vote ‘No’ campaign in the Scotland Referendum and provided ad-hoc strategic counsel subsequently, working with Conservative, Lib-Dem and Labour campaigners.

(2) We created the Let’s Stay Together campaign concept and narrative to give the rest of the UK a voice in the Scotland Referendum, building a database from nothing to over 100,000 supporters in two months. We secured endorsements from over 200 celebrities, creating content for national press and broadcast which drove people to our site. The campaign culminated in Trafalgar Square with a rally attended by more than 5,000, organised with two days’ notice.

Salhia Investments

The Beorma Quarter is a multi-million pound landmark regeneration project in central Birmingham. Aspects of the proposal were outside the planning policy for the city centre and our campaign of communications, supported by local residents and businesses, persuaded Birmingham City Council’s Planning Committee to make an exception to their own policy in order to grant planning permission.

Gazeley

Using a campaign of communications, bbm gained local public and political support for Gazeley’s multi-million pound developments of road-to-rail logistics parks. As part of our work we made sure that all consultants and specialists working on the project knew the right story to pass on to local residents, council officers and elected members, alongside their own particular technical expertise.

Coeliac UK

We helped Coeliac UK structure their campaigning activities around a seven-year plan. We based our advice on our qualitative research, giving us a greater understanding both of people’s awareness of this disease and of the priorities for those diagnosed with it. The analysis gave a starting point for the campaigns of communications that Coeliac UK will use to increase understanding of Coeliac and to influence changes in policy and in provision by health providers, food retailers and restaurants.

Institute for Security & Resilience Studies

bbm campaigns helped the Rt. Hon. Lord Reid of Cardowan to establish a major new academic institute, based at University College London, by assisting with the recruitment of its management board, trustees and staff, raising the funds to help establish the organisation and overseeing its start-up.

No2AV

Four months ahead of the 2011 UK Alternative Vote Referendum, bbm campaigns was asked to re-orient messaging and narrative for the No2AV campaign following the departure of Lynton Crosby as campaign strategist. The Yes campaign was ahead in the polls. We researched and wrote messages that for the first time gave positive reasons for supporting First Past The Post, which were used to re-launch the campaign at a rally with David Cameron and John Reid. Within seven days the No campaign established a 10 point lead, and went on to win by a 68% to 32% margin.

Accord

Following recent widescale changes in the banking sector, the trade union Accord asked bbm to assist in modernising their approach to recruitment, retention and communications in order to position them as a leader in this challenging environment.

ASDA Planning

We have held campaign workshops for the supermarket’s property planning teams in order to demonstrate how the principles of campaigning and excellent community engagement can deliver success. We have also advised and worked with ASDA’s planning team in building local support for new supermarkets.

University College London

We helped UCL develop a new positioning based on their desire to use the might of the university to help solve the world’s ‘Grand Challenges’. We worked with the university’s Provost, Vice-Provost and communications team to develop a university-wide explanation of the future ambitions of the university, linking their research and teaching.

People

Alan Barnard

Alan started in political campaigning as a volunteer knocking on doors and 10 years later was Director of Campaigns and Elections for Tony Blair’s Labour Party.

After then working for The Football Association as Head of Campaigns and Research supporting the FA’s modernisation, Alan founded bbm campaigns to help businesses and not-for-profit organisations use campaign techniques from politics to create the conditions that enable success.

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

Alan is the co-author of ‘Campaign It!’ the book that explains how campaign techniques and principles can be used to achieve any outcome and create a different future than would otherwise have been.

“The brains behind the final weeks of the ‘No’ campaign was Alan Barnard and I suspect it was his inspiration that undid us. Even though previously the polls had shown us well in the lead, we didn’t just lose, we were hammered.”

Tony Robinson
TV historian and campaigner for
‘Yes’ in the 2011 AV referendum

John Braggins

John’s campaigning expertise was honed over many years of directing political campaigns for Labour, culminating with Tony Blair’s victories in 1997 and 2001, when John managed all Labour Party regional and field staff.

Throughout his career, John has been an innovator in campaign research and communications, devising new ways of test-bedding campaigns, conveying election messages and analysing voting habits. Since founding bbm, John has taken his ability to understand what motivates people into the commercial world, with winning campaigns for ASDA, Heathrow and other infrastructure and regeneration projects.

John has a Masters in Marketing, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Market Research Society.

“John Braggins is a former election campaigner for Labour with huge experience of trying to get people to change their minds, and indeed managing to do so.”

Justin Webb
Presenter, the Today Programme

Gez Sagar

Gez specialises in media management for campaigns, especially in creating stories that make national news and provide talking points, confidence and momentum for campaigns. He provides Board level counsel on media relations, communications strategy and reputation management.

Gez joined bbm in 2011 after serving as head of HM Treasury’s Economy Communications Centre during the financial crisis, advising the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Ministers, and serving as Secretary to the National Economic Council’s Ministerial Sub-Committee on Communications.

He was a director at Tribal plc’s communications agency Geronimo, managing public sector campaigns for Government departments, local authorities and police services.

“The trouble with Gez Sagar is that he really does want to change the world, and he probably will.”

Peter Mandelson

Mark Betteridge

Mark negotiated national industry agreements as a trade union officer before bringing his abilities as a communicator and advocate to bbm.

Mark uses his understanding of membership organisations to build successful coalitions to support campaigns, securing endorsements from businesses, charities and unions for campaigns as diverse as the Scotland Referendum and telecommunications market reform. His experience and skills are in demand by organisations and campaigns seeking to engage and motivate local communities.

As a former Deputy Leader of a London council with minority political control, Mark was responsible for relationships with other parties. The success of his inclusive approach was recognised with the Municipal Journal Best Achieving Council Award for 2013.

“Merton’s quiet, consistent and unassuming journey to excellence made it a worthy winner for the Best Achieving Council of 2013 Award. Its high level of resident satisfaction, staff commitment and joined up political and managerial leadership were all strong contributing factors.”

Heather Jameson
Editor, Municipal Journal

Get In Touch

Campaign It!

bbm campaigns
63-64 Margaret Street
London W1W 8SW
020 7636 8990

Is there something you’d like to be different in the future? We can help you run a campaign of integrated communications to make it happen.