Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Wednesday 30 December 2009

Stakeholder analysis

Do a telephonic survey with experts on the issue to make a list with the major stakeholder groups and ask who could be invited for an informal brainstorm. Then invite (6 - 9) people you know and or who have been suggested to you for a short session ending with a reception. Make together again a list of stakeholder groups, write the names of groups, organizations etc. on cards and then place all the names of the groups on the stakeholder map (see illustration). Try to come to a consensus about each placing. Finally discuss shortly which are key groups that if their position would change, would help solve the issue. Identify key leaders of these groups are in each group, key messages and the best communication channels and events for these groups. This was - in a nutshell - my advice recently to a client who spent months on commissioning a stakeholder analysis to a content expert and finally got a 100-page report that brought up more questions than answers.

Survey users before updating a website

Email outdistances all other communication channels in importance. This is one of the outcomes of a survey we just did among the CEC members (700). Research and advice, training and professional updating are core focus of most of the organizations where respondents work. Users indicate that web searches, web sites and online social networks are more important information channels than radio or television... perhaps even greater importance than print publications. The 120 respondents also indicate a preferred interest for a CEC website that provide links to key publications, expertise among CEC members and links to key training/e-learning resources.

Friday 18 December 2009

New segmentation, new strategy

In 'Sell the Sizzle' Futerra shows us a new segmentation of the climate change audiences. We have seen them in Copenhagen. The global cynics: the outright deniers, the worriers about costs, the others-first, the industry lobbyists, even the radical political groups and defaitists who haved lost faith in the UN system. Then there are the global activists: the climate campaigners, the carbon realists and the carbon opportunists. They all frame the issue in their own way. Finally there are the home first: people who are next to us in the super market, in the train etc. They are the majority - the quantifications are my optimistic guesses. They feel not engaged at all. The point Futerra makes is that change has to come from the 'home first'. Who will reach this audience first? We or the cynics? How we communicate is vital. Not with a focus on imminent disasters, but by letting them dream of a life with a lighter footprint and giving them the choices we need to make to get there. Read it all for yourself.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Framing climate change

Climate change is the largest environmental issue; it's an energy issue; it's an equity issue; no it is a footprint issue! The first three are ways negotiators, lobbyists and activists frame climate change in Copenhagen. Over the news one rarely hears about the footprint. Governments have experience with environment problems; there are economic opportunities in the energy challenge; there is the political reality of the north south divide. These are things negotiators can deal with. But do they realize that Copenhagen has a larger footprint than any other UN event? This metaphor brings climate change in our daily life, our own behavior: how we live, how we travel, what we eat (e.g. how many kilometers are in our fish, meat, vegetables or fruit). If we calculate the full costs of the way we live, we have the key to solve climate change: change your footprint or pay for it. It will help the environment, drive the energy issue and contribute to a fair global distribution of the burden to solve the problem.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Sell the sizzle

Climate change is no longer a scientist’s problem, it’s now a salesman’s problem. In its latest publication Futerra calls upon government spokespeople, climate campaigners and business advertisers to stop selling visions of hell. Instead they must create and sell a vision of a 'low carbon heaven’. Futerra's reasoning: When selling a sausage, it's the sizzle that counts, the sound and smell - otherwise you're selling a dead pig. Unfortunately on climate change it's passed-away pork we've been flogging, so maybe a bit of sizzle might help... The second metaphor Futerra uses is 'hell does not sell'. Until now we have been selling climate change as hell (rising sea levels, extreme wheather events etc.) and people are not buying it. They tend to conveniently deny it. In Sell the Sizzle Futerra points out a new framework for climate change messages: a positive vision, the choice to avoid hell, a plan and first steps. I would say a must read for communicators all over the world.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Practice what you preach

In communication it matters what you do, more than what you say. If you are campaigning for climate change or biodiversity you have to be conscious of your own behaviour, your food, your energy, your leisure time. Living the change we want to see in the world, can also be the communication strategy. Let people experience the peace and happiness of a candle night. No stressing nightmare stories about the consequences of climate change, but the full experience of an intimate meeting with family or friends. Living the dream of a sustainable world - that is how I perceive the strategy of the global Candle Night Campaign of Japan for Sustainability. Join in on December 22!

Thursday 3 December 2009

Mentality differences among generations

Hedonism and individualism are increasing amoung youth, their interest for society and the environment decreases. Motivaction - a group of Dutch marketing researchers - published this week its survey on mentality, attitudes and trends of youth. They compare and analyze the response of three generations on a standard set of questions and complement the information with qualitative research. Ten years ago a similar survey showed a much higher interest (33%) in environment among young people between 15 and 23 years old. "I worry about the damage to the environment" now scores 58% among the youngest generation. Ten years ago that was 78%. The researchers see a trend of selfishness and more a-social behavior emerging among young people. I wonder what this will mean for awareness raising about climate change and the much needed behaviour change strategies?