Ensure Your Communications Efforts Cut Through the Noise and Drive Impact

January 29, 2023

The 5 M’s: Citizen Data’s Framework for Change

The 5M Framework

Communication is a catalyst for change. Information — how it’s received and perceived — shapes hearts, minds, and behavior. To be in the driver’s seat and drive impact for democracy and beyond, Citizen recommends the 5M Framework.

The 5M Framework is Citizen’s tested approach to building effective and sustainable campaign plans–whether to shape legislation, build coalitions, or win at the ballot box. Learn more below:

Step 1: Movable

Identifying audiences who may be persuadable is key to any communication strategy.

Persona development — an audience roadmap consisting of large-scale quantitative and qualitative research and audience modeling — is a core offering at Citizen.

In 2021, we released the first democracy segmentation featured in the American Right Democracy Roadmap, which was updated and expanded to the whole country resulting in the National Democracy Spectrum. Democracy personas informed counter-disinformation efforts in Arizona and Georgia in 2022, as featured in Citizen’s Trusted Elections Playbook.

Step 2: Messages

Message guidance is a core part of Citizen’s research focus. Before the 2022 midterm election, one nationwide message test focused on learning which messages best improved public perception of non-partisan election workers.

Our research examined 16 individual messages representing four overarching message themes. Key takeaways included:

  • Highlighting the humanity behind the people who administer our elections; and
  • The ideal messaging framework for enhancing the perceptions of elections is pairing facts about the process with tailored persuasive messaging and a concrete call to action.

Step 3: Messengers

Even the best messages require delivery by a trusted person, brand, or organization to have maximum impact; identify ideal messengers to ensure target audiences listen and absorb campaign messaging.

Last summer, we conducted experiments in key states to learn:

  • Social role archetypes that voters trust most (and least);
  • Whether authority figures or peers are more effective messengers; and
  • The relationship between political ideology and trusted messengers

The results? Everyone loves Firefighters.

Step 4: Media

Our 2022 research delved into Americans’ preferred information spaces for political conversation to learn the best channels for reaching movable audiences.

Citizen launched an n=3000 survey of registered voters, providing invaluable insights into:

  • Preferred types and formats for informational content about news and issues;
  • Most commonly used social media platforms for political engagement;
  • Favorite streaming services and TV genres; and
  • Physical spaces where people feel most comfortable discussing important issues.

This research, summarized in our Trusted Elections Playbook, deepens our in-house knowledge of media consumption habits over time.

Step 5: Mobilize

Once you have identified your audience, the messages and messengers that resonate, and the best platforms for reaching people, it’s time to make all of the data actionable.

Citizen recently launched a Resource Allocation Tool — which outlines how much and where a partner needs to spend for success — and a CRM integration, allowing you to manage and communicate with your acquired audience.


At Citizen, we’re all about using data to drive impact through your communications and outreach programs. Use the 5M Framework to get clarity on your strategy and plans.

The 5M Framework

Please reach out if you’d like to learn more. Enjoy Citizen’s Data for Democracy series? You can find past installments here.

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