If you’ve been following the news at all recently, it’s been hard to miss the continuing coverage of the climate change protests happening all around the world. These have been organised by men and women of all ages and backgrounds, but the big ‘star’ to emerge from this ongoing news story wasn’t a famous actor or a determined politician, but a 15-year-old from Sweden.
Greta Thunberg has seemingly become an overnight sensation, reaching the world’s press and spreading her Message to all four corners of the globe. She’s met with world leaders and spoken in front of crowds of thousands of people. Greta initiated the ‘school strike for climate’ movement at the end of last year and in March three members of the Norwegian parliament nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Outside of Greta’s points on climate change, which definitely bear listening to, she teaches us about so much more than science. What we can also learn from Great is how to spread a message.
As a 15-year-old activist, there will have been times where Greta was dismissed, patronised or ignored altogether. In order for her to spread her message and be listened to internationally, she would have to put her doubters’ criticisms to one side and continued in her mission.
She has remarked about how even her own father is wary of the strong tone of her speeches, saying: “He becomes scared when he reads it, he is like, you shouldn’t say this, it is too provocative”, but she stuck to her guns and has caught the world’s attention.
Use the right platforms
The school strikes for climate were a global sensation, going well beyond Thunberg’s native Sweden to over 1,000 countries in over 100 countries. Being in some senses a ‘typical’ teenager, she harnessed the power of social media to spread the word about her movement.
This teaches us that we’ve got to understand where our audience is and the best way to reach them. Social media campaigning was perfect for Greta Thunberg, but your next big idea may need an entirely new approach in order to be seen by the right people.
What makes Thunberg such a compelling public speaker and such an authoritative voice on climate change is that the tone she uses is honest, brutal and often shocking.
One of her tweets from December last year optimises this: “We have to understand the emergency of the situation. Our leadership has failed us. Young people must hold older generations accountable for the mess they have created. We need to get angry, and transform that anger into action.”
The words you use and how you express yourself are essential to any creative project, whether an international campaign or something on a much smaller scale. If you choose them wisely and have a marketing strategy based around clear and precise communication, you’ll find yourself achieving a lot more tangible results.
Whether Greta Thunberg’s ultimate goals with regard to climate change will be successful, nobody knows for sure. She has at least succeeded in making waves and calling attention to an issue where politicians, activists and celebrities have failed. By learning from how she communicates, we can all become better at spreading our respective messages.
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