When the American Lung Association asked Carrie Schum and her team at Porter Novelli to develop a campaign to encourage smokers to make another attempt to quit smoking, they never expected to end up with the headline “You’re not a failure. You’re a seven-time learner.” Although the campaign headline was different from anything that the American Lung Association had done before, the campaign tested strongly because of one key reason — Carrie and her team developed a strong understanding of their audience.

As Hattaway’s Executive Vice President, Carrie brings a long history of using research and audience insights to produce smart, strategic, and successful communications campaigns for organizations such as the American Lung Association, the Truth Initiative, and the Internal Revenue Service. She believes that having a clear strategy along with the courage to try something new is essential for achieving desired outcomes.

“[For effective communications, you need to] know where you want to end up, know what your objective is, be very clear about why that’s the right objective, and then be open to the way you get there…. because it might be unexpected.”

For successful campaigns, Carrie believes that it’s important to trust what your audiences are telling you and not merely your assumptions about them. By understanding the unique characteristics of your audiences — such as the isolation felt by people who are trying to quit smoking or the ability for teenagers to make their own decisions about smoking — you will be able to reach your audiences in new and different ways.

On this episode of Achieve Great Things, Carrie gives us a crash course on how to combine audience insights, smart strategy, and courageous choices to drive meaningful behavior change.