Friday, 6 May 2011

Summary: Session 9c - Empowering advocacy: Communicating consumer rights

A summary by Pat Onoapoi of:

Session 9c - Empowering advocacy: Communicating consumer rights 

Thursday 3 May 2011, 11.30am-12.30pm
Luke Upchurch, Head of Communications and External Affairs, Consumers International
Rehan Saiyed, Director, Storm Design, New Zealand

Communication is a key part of the work of consumer organisations. The session was on how powerful communications tools can be. There is now a blurring of the boundaries between grassroots action and global advocacy as well as between consumers and producers and this is due to communication tools which are pamphlets, campaign films, publications, social media etc. The power of social media lies in the number of people using it so we need to be using it as consumer organisations. See  for examples of how consumer activists are using social media tools to effect change and to make a real impact. By joining them consumer organisations will get a profile and can then start a campaign. Carrotmob are giving over their technology to effect change.

Storm Design (New Zeeland) also gave a presentation on the design of the Congress logo. According to them, the criteria for good graphic identity are: the form and concept should work very well with product/service it’s designed for, should be pragmatic, simple, bold and distinctive.
The design brief and elements for the Congress logo included Yin Yan (represents consumer rights), dragon dance( reflects energy of the congress) Hong Kong, future consumers, circle.
Questions and comments from members:
·         Has a cost/benefit analysis been carried out on using social media?
·         The whole concept of Carrotmob is offensive and promotes corruption
·         People who want to subvert the system also use social media so consumer organisations should use it carefully
·         One of the best communicators is Chaz Davies of creative defiance.  Consumer organisations can learn from this model. Chaz could provide mentoring in communication graphics
·         The story of stuff’ puts consumer issues into graphics. Consumer organisations should map out creative people and work with them

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