Protests, Campaigns, and Female Language

Authors: Jack Maycock, Jece Shunmugam, Kate Savin
  • Reading time: 5 min.
  • Posted on: November 9, 2020

Read on for a handpicked selection of the good, the bad and the one to try in the world of social impact communications. This week, we’re highlighting the power of protest, Trump’s last ad, and how AI is helping women big themselves up.

| NAILED IT:  The Power of Protests

As Joe Biden took the lead in Georgia, one of the key battleground states in the US Presidential election, commentators noted the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement in empowering citizens to register to vote. 

In Georgia, the activism that followed the murder of George Floyd likely led to a significant surge in turnout for Black voters (around 12 percentage points) and increased youth engagement in the June primaries, as voters under-30 saw their early voter share essentially double in a single day. 

Source: TargetSmart

More recently, whilst many factors played a role in flipping Georgia blue, including Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic and the hard work of campaigners like Stacey Abrams, the influence of the protests must be considered. Protests are powerful not simply because people march on streets. They’re powerful because they inspire protestors to become lifelong campaigners, fighting for equality and justice at both the ballot box and on the streets.

| ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Trump’s final push

There are two sides to every story however – did Donald Trump’s final campaign ads hinder his own reelection campaign? 

Trump sought to focus his final efforts on the unrest recently experienced in a number of US cities in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder. His rallying cry against Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as “fanning the flames of violence” likely resonated with much of his base support, also energising them to go out and vote. However, this message had limited appeal for the two-time Obama voter in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, that Trump won over in 2016. 

His final 2016 campaign video spoke much more directly to these voters’ daily lives, where he lambasted trade deals that lead to the outsourcing of jobs, a significant issue in these Rust Belt states.   

| ONE TO TRY: Women: big yourselves up with this AI tool

Did you know that women are four times more likely to use disempowering language than men? 

In ‘The Language of Female Leadership’, Dr Judith Baxter’s discusses the all-too-familiar experience for many women of ‘double-voice discourse’, where the speaker assumes someone will respond badly to their comments, and uses language such as ‘Correct me if I’m wrong’ or ‘It’s just my opinion, but…’ to mitigate this assumed risk.

A new digital tool from AnalogFolk is addressing this problem. Using Microsoft LUIS Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning technology, BigUp identifies passive phrases written by women and generates powerful, confident alternatives. 

The tool is still in Beta mode, so the more women that give it a go, the better it will get. Learn to promote yourself honestly here: