10 Ways People Power Can Change the World

What do we mean by people power?

Boycotts are just one way people can put economic pressure on a company or brand.

People Power can take many forms depending on what kind of change you’re looking to achieve and who has the power to make that change happen — whether it’s a government, company, community or individual.

So we’ve come up with this list. We’re hoping that it will help you define your strategy and generate ideas for tactics to harness this powerful force for good.

Here we go, in no particular order:


The voices of many can now match the marketing budgets of even the biggest brands, making consumer pressure an effective way to influence companies to change their ways.

Companies, and the brands they own, are more and more responsive to people power in the digital age. Studies show that people prefer brands they know and trust. As a result, brands are sensitive to public pressure and will go to great lengths to protect their reputation.

A brand includes the entire experience a person has with a product or service—including the name, visuals, feel, communication style, taste and sound. For example, Coca-Cola’s brand is not just the word Coke, but also the design of the bottle, the special recipe, the sound of the bottle opening, the history and the advertising around it. Any of those brand elements are subject to pressure.

Consumer Pressure in Action

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Why a campaign against coal was all about olives

In Turkey, people are transforming their nation's energy by talking about olives, not clean air

In Turkey, on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the olive is ubiquitous. “It is the most basic food item that you can find in every single household that is consumed by every person, every single day,” explains Nejat Dinç of Greenpeace … [Read more]

Creating global impact with digital storytelling

How activists and campaigners are scaling stories and engaging people in action
Paddle in Seattle

The Polar Pioneer, Shell's massive drilling rig, was set to leave Seattle for the Chukchi Sea near Alaska in mid-June, 2015. By virtue of being the first rig to drill in the Arctic Ocean, the Polar Pioneer presented a towering symbol of global energy … [Read more]

Six trees, collaborative tech and people power

How a campaign in Auckland gave people tools to craft winning organizing strategies
Save the Trees - Auckland

Ryan Mearns, a Campaign Director at New Zealand's ActionStation, shares his experience with a fast-growing community campaign to save six heritage Pohutukawa trees in Auckland. Like many campaigns that rapidly grow online through email and social … [Read more]

Trusting the people: A manifesto for Open Campaigning

A campaigner's take on sharing our theory of change
Future of Fashion discussion

Pierre Terras, a Global Strategist on Greenpeace’s Detox campaign offers his insights into trust, crowdsourcing strategy and putting open campaigning principles into practice.  One year ago we invited a snowboard freeride champion to join us … [Read more]

3 elements of strong open campaigns

Key takeaways from Open Campaigns Camp 2015
People's Climate March

Colin Holtz is a progressive writer and strategist who has authored several reports and articles for Mobilisation Lab, including Beyond Vanity Metrics: Toward better measurement of member engagement and “Grassroots-led Campaigns” Transforming the … [Read more]

Why strong organisational security culture matters (and how to create one)

Help your team stay safe from online threats and privacy breaches
Culture Shift for online security

You and your organisation may not think much about digital security unless you have dealt with a security breach or threat. We’ve written recently about how you can use threat modeling and a wide range of online privacy tools to help protect … [Read more]

16 ways to protect your online privacy in a high-risk world

How to up your game when it comes to protecting your data, messaging and phone
Phone and Data Security

In just the past month, we've read stories about how Canadian police are tracking environmental activists, the Mexican government is monitoring journalists and activists, and US security agencies are peering into the communications of Black Lives … [Read more]

Stay safe out there: Threat modeling for campaigners

A guide to evaluating risks and knowing what to worry about
Online and operational security for campaigners

For his day job, Norman Shamas is the director of curriculum and pedagogy at an organization that helps people better use and understand technology. In his off-hours, he’s a rabble-rouser. Based in Washington D.C., Shamas was an active organizer … [Read more]