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The Culture Hack Curriculum

The Iterative Cycle

Recall that in Module 7 we identified new narrative frames and we built a narrative strategy where we identified our target audience and our nodes of influence. We then looked at how to reframe our narrative and embed these messages to reach the target audience. We have planned and established the conditions to hack into the public conversation, whether it is by actively generating momentum or whether it is by seizing the opportunity of a moment to make our message viral. 

It is important to note that the process of launching a culture hack is an iterative one, that involves trials and errors. Some things might work, and others might not work. As a result, we recommend developing various possible actions to test which one lands. We recommend not investing all of your energy into one action, as it is hard to predict how the public will react. Remember culture hacking is an iterative process and involves an ongoing prototyping of messages and content. 

Think of your first actions as test cases. As you launch these first actions, it is important to monitor and evaluate their results. This is how you will be able to fine tune and re-design actions that you will be able to launch again. There begins a cycle of testing, monitoring and iterating. For the iterative cycle, monitoring and evaluation of data that is collected is critical. We use it to understand our narrative environment, we use it again to understand whether and how we can change this narrative environment. The more you know and understand your narrative space, the more likely you are to achieve a significant impact – data is your access to knowledge. 

Prototyping your hack

Upon achieving the different steps outlined above, you should have a series of potential messages and memes, a media strategy, and a target audience. You have also thought about the kind of emotions you want to convey.  At this point, before they have been shown to the public, these are prototypes. You can test them to be able to see which message and/or meme performs better so you can triage (assign degrees of urgency) and fine-tune your messages. Testing can be done through a variety of monitoring and evaluation methods which ultimately depend on your resources, time and capacities.

Activity 1

Identify the messages you want to test in this iterative cycle:

Message 1:

Message 2:


Below are a series of methods you can use to test your message and any actions you will launch.  For each method, we provide you with some resources you can refer to in order to support your monitoring and evaluation.  To begin with, it is necessary to identify what you seek to measure with each of the key messages you will test in this iterative cycle. There are different types of metrics that are worth collecting, depending on the media format you have chosen for your culture hack. For social media as an example, you could collect data regarding reach (number of views), engagement (likes, retweets, reactions, comments, etc.) and sentiments. You could also monitor to see if your message is being picked up by other media, and if it is changing the tenor of the narrative space. So identifying the specific metrics or data points you want to measure or track for your message is the first step; from here you can now choose which measurement tool is best suited to collect the data you wish to evaluate.

*As a disclaimer, the listed tools below are designed for marketing purposes and not necessarily culture hacking. This points to the necessity of creating tools for life-centric culture change such as the CHL Platform.

A / B testing 

A/B testing consists of comparing how two sets of messages fare when they are presented to the target audience. Group A and Group B are shown two different messages, so you can see what types of response each generates. This type of testing is great when deciding which message to use compared to another message. 

Randomized controlled trials

A randomised controlled test seeks to measure the effectiveness of a message by comparing the reactions of Group A, who has seen the message, with the reactions of Group B, who has not seen the message (control group). Both groups are asked the same questions. The greater the difference between Group A’s and Group B’s reactions, the more effective your message. 

Focus groups

Focus groups allow you to get direct feedback from the public. A focus group is constituted by selecting members of the public that can be representative of your target audience. You can have different focus groups that represent different types of audiences. This enables you to compare the reaction of a particular audience with another and to adapt your message and strategy accordingly. 

Social media monitoring

Most social media platforms allow you to gather data on key metrics such as reach (how many people have seen your content) and engagement (how many people have engaged with it). In this way, you  can know how many people have seen your message on social media, and how many people have reacted to it. There are also external softwares that can collect this type of data. It is also possible and advisable to monitor news media outlets to scout for any change in language and to see if they are picking your new narrative frames.


Surveys are the most common form of data gathering. Through a set of questions and audience criteria, surveys enable you to poll a segment of the population on any topics. Designing survey questions should not be underestimated. It is also something that can be outsourced. This type of tool is useful to gauge a change in the narrative space, if your frames are being picked up and therefore, if your message and meme have worked.


The last step of the iterative cycle is to tweak your messages and strategy according to the results of the monitoring and evaluation processes. Maybe, it is an image; maybe, it is the wording. Maybe, it is about the moment or the audience. This stage allows you to follow the narrative frame to see how it behaves and reiterate your hack to further align with your goals. Some questions to consider:

  • Are the narrative communities responding to your message?
  • Was the tone appropriate for the moment in the conversation?
  • What worked in this iteration and what could be improved?

Activity 2

Using this worksheet as a template, you will plan your monitoring and evaluation of your narrative intervention. In the first row write the message you are testing in this iterative cycle. 

In Column A, identify the tool you will use to monitor the performance of your message (survey, focus groups, A/B testing etc). 

In Column B, identify the metric you will measure for your messages (emotional response, reach, engagement, volume of conversation etc.) 

In Column C, identify the timeline, how long you will monitor your narrative intervention. 

In Column D, write down the learnings and insights you get from the data and in the final column, identify next steps and actions to take to re-fine and re-launch your messages.

As this is a simple template, you are invited to download this worksheet, adapt and customise it to include other aspects you would like to monitor and evaluate during this process, according to your own particular needs.