Step Three: Know your participants, audiences and targets

Once you have considered how your Video for Change initiative will create change, the next consideration is to understand who is involved in the issue.

People involved include those:

  • responsible for rights abuses
  • with power to maintain or change the situation
  • affected by the issue
  • who might work with you
  • who might work in opposition to you.


The following methods and activities build on the methods in Step 1 (Statement of Intent) and Step 2 (Theory of Change).

Immersion and observation

By immersing yourself within groups of people or communities, you’re better able to observe and learn from their practices. Without spending considerable time with a community, you run the risk of making false assumptions about people’s priorities, needs and rituals. If you’re already a community member, this method can help you reflect on how your own community functions.

Spectrum of stakeholders and potential partners

To develop an effective strategy, it’s useful to identify the positions of institutions, organisations, groups and networks that already work on or influence this issue.

To do this, begin with your “Why?” statement from Step 1 where you defined how the initiative will contribute to positive social change. Now rephrase this into a position statement. For example: “We believe we should have balanced gender representation in our Parliament.”

Next, draw a half-circle, divided into five wedges, including the following:

  • Active allies — already leading/taking actions to support your position
  • Allies — have an interest in supporting you
  • Neutral parties — may not be involved in supporting your position but could be
  • Opponents — may oppose your position
  • Active opponents — are likely to actively interfere with your actions.

The result is a spectrum of stakeholders that you can use to help design your Video for Change initiative. On the left side of the spectrum, write in the institutions, organisations, groups and networks who you believe most support your position. On the right, write in those who you believe oppose you.

Mapping influence

After you have placed all stakeholders on a spectrum, you now need to consider where opponents and allies (existing or potential) are situated in terms of their influence. Identify actors who have the most influence on your issue or your initiative.

Use the below diagram to put stakeholders on an axis showing their influence and level of support. You may need to do more research in order to do this effectively.

Now, use both your spectrum of stakeholders overview and the influence mapping to decide:

  • the people you want to work with directly
  • the people who you want to complement, connect or be aligned with
  • the people (most likely adversaries) for which you’ll need to have a strategic response, but will most likely not work with.

Segmenting Your Audience

Beyond identifying key stakeholder networks, organisations, groups and institutions, it’s also important to find a way to better understand and know your target audience(s). Audience segmentation is not a perfect tool, but it can help you design more effective communication and outreach efforts, because it allows you to understand how different groups are likely to respond.

Your target audiences may include those people directly capable of making the change you’d like to see, but it will also include groups of people you want to engage during your initiative.

For this activity you should spend time considering the best way to segment your target audiences — meaning you will divide your audiences into separate parts in order to get a better overview of each group. You should also consider what makes people within your target audiences the same and what makes them different, and how they relate to the issues you are addressing.

The most common ways to segment audiences include:

  • their demographics, such as age, ethnicity, gender, class, etc.
  • where they live
  • what they do to earn a living
  • platforms they use to express what they feel and think.

By identifying these things, you can divide your target audiences into segments. This allows you to better set up strategic targeted communications that are useful to them and serves their needs and interests, as well as helping them take the actions best suited to their situations.

It may also allow you to look across each segment and analyse those conditions or situations that each segment has in common and unites them, allowing you to coordinate collective action across various segments of your audiences. This can help seed interesting collaborations and dialogues that otherwise may not have occurred.

Finally, a deeper analysis of your audiences — especially the platforms they use — will also allow you to start the process of thinking about how you will reach audiences and engage them in your initiative.