So you've read our "Yes, Your Climate Action Plan Needs a Brand" post, and we convinced you of the value of investing in intentional branding and messaging at the very start of your planning process? Good stuff.
Nike’s Swoosh. The classic Apple symbol. The World Wildlife Fund panda. Target’s bullseye. These are all iconic brand logos. When you see them, you know what they represent. And when you hear the following words, you probably know the company or product and something about it: Melts in your mouth, not in your hands (M&Ms); Red Bull gives you wings; Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there; Yes We Can (Obama presidential campaign).
The words and visual identity of these brands carry meaning and clearly communicate the essence of that company or organization – and what they want you to do (buy our products) or think (we should protect that panda).
The same should be true for your work on climate action, resilience and sustainability plans.
Bottom line: you need to be deliberate about the words and images you choose in order to raise awareness of and create buy-in for your climate and sustainability work and move people down the path to taking meaningful action in their lives. Branding is a key ingredient to your long-term success, and you have to embrace it early on and stick with it.
As we welcome in a new year and despite the terrorist event of last week, I am filled with hope and focused on positivity. If there is anything the pandemic should have taught us, it's that humans are intricately connected to each other and to all life on this planet. We must stop this idea that humans must dominate all other living species and rather embrace a reality where we live in harmony with each other and with all species on this planet.
When I recently had rare wildlife sightings in my Boston winter backyard, I was moved to put some thoughts together that I've shared in this video -- or just keep reading.
Communities large and small are grappling with the COVID pandemic and civil unrest related to police violence. Deep, historical inequities have been laid bare. Once again, our most marginalized neighbors are bearing the heaviest burden.
As you contemplate future community engagement -- as part of a planning process (comp, transportation, sustainability, resilience, climate action plan, etc.), piloting a new program, or spreading the word about assistance opportunities -- equity must be at the core of your approach. Your RFP can help set that expectation and ensure you get more than checking the box style engagement.
"Integrating Equitable Engagement Into Your RFP Process" is a cheat sheet for local governments to set clear expectations for, ask the right questions of and effectively evaluate consultants on the ability to deliver equitable community engagement.
Here at KLA, we love to show off our clients’ accomplishments. And this year we really mean SHOW off.
In 2020 we produced 9 videos (with more in the works) that showcase their climate action and resilience initiatives -- highly effective tools for community outreach. These clients – Beverly and Salem (joint Resilient Together initiative), Concord, Dedham, Devens, Watertown and Weston all in MA – are using these videos to engage people in their planning processes, launch their final plan, and encourage people to be part of the solution as the plan moves into implementation. An additional three clients – Columbia, MO, Encinitas, CA, and San Antonio, TX – have new :30 videos (optimal for social media and embedding on websites and in emails) to promote their climate and sustainability websites.
Why was video a key part of our work on these projects? As a visual species, humans find videos more engaging, more memorable, and more popular than any other type of content out there. Video is an incredibly strong tool for storytelling and information retention. In fact, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.
Take a look at these 9 short videos to see the power of video in action. We break down unique features and format for each along with why we took the approach we did.
In a sign of how busy we have been at KLA even before the stress of COVID, we are just now able to share with you a conversation I had in late 2019 -- seems like eons go! But, like it or not, the topic of waste reduction is just as relevant today.
Indeed, from grappling with changes in the recycling industry to setting ambitious Zero Waste goals, local governments have to grapple with the realities of waste processing -- not to mention the increasing amount of waste we're generating -- even as they pursue waste reduction strategies.
Which is why I'm excited for you to listen to my SAS Talk with Kim podcast with Dona Neely of the Eco Efficiency Center in Devens, MA. They run The Great Exchange which keeps about 50 tons of material out of the landfill every year while supporting local businesses, nonprofits and schools.
This week is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but all the typical ways we would celebrate -- local Earth Day fairs, park clean ups, school projects -- are not possible during a time of COVID19 social distancing. And it’s not just Earth Day events. Communities large and small are kicking off or in the middle of community engagement efforts for sustainability, climate action and resilience plans.
The show must go on.
And we've captured here some of the ways to keep momentum going on these important issues -- including Livestreaming, virtual meetings (with breakout rooms, polling and more), social media content, storymaps, and more.
We're looking forward to seeing all the creative ways local governments and nonprofits are engaging people in virtual events and activities on Earth Day and beyond.
Shout out to Nashua, NH, for letting their residents explore all the renewable energy installations in town virtually. We worked with them to add this "storymap" feature to their newly revamped Livable Nashua Dashboard utilizing the Knight Foundation's free StoryMap tool. Click on the image below to check out how Nashua is showcasing their clean energy progress in an innovative way.
We hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe during these scary times. The threats to our public health and economy are unprecedented, yet the responses of communities nationwide rallying together while staying physically apart keep us going.
May you also find success transitioning to working from home (as you can see, we moved a team strategy session to Zoom with plenty of smiles), keeping your kids educated and entertained, and tracking down toilet paper and wipes.
The uncertainty around the trajectory of COVID19 makes it unlikely that any public events will go forward as planned this spring -- including Earth Day (the international celebration has moved to a digital mobilization event) or community engagement around sustainability, climate and/or resilience planning. Even smaller stakeholder meetings will be impacted.
Cancellation is not your only option! Be resilient! In fact, for the sake of our communities and our planet, the show must go on in some shape or form. There are plenty of options for creative workarounds.
If there is one thing the KLA team has been so far in 2020 it's BUSY! With a raft of new sustainability, resilience and climate action work, we are thrilled to welcome Karen Kao to the team as Project Manager!
New year, new face at KLA. We are thrilled to welcome Kari Hewitt to the KLA Team as Director of Client Services. She joins us from VHB after 10 years, most recently as Director of Sustainability -- and where she and I worked together.
Kari will hit the ground running leading our work with the State of Delaware in developing their Climate Action Plan, supporting our MVP action grant clients in Massachusetts, and continuing to expand our reach throughout the country.
Many of you already know Kari and will share our excitement about adding her expertise and energy at this critical time. For those who will just now have the pleasure of working with her, I did a quick Q&A with Kari so you could hear from her in her own words.