With COP26 already paling into the background, many local authorities are now considering their next moves to tackle climate change.
After the build up and expectation around COP26, it could be said that the outcomes were somewhat underwhelming.
Public opinion and engagement suffered due to media’s reporting of compromise and tempered ambition from world leaders. There was also an emerging public perception that small lifestyle changes were being overlooked, and the focus placed too heavily upon costly changes such as electronic vehicles and replacement boilers which attract significant cost, and are just out of reach for many residents.
With so many mixed and conflicting views, there has never been a more important time to engage with your residents to demonstrate interventions happening at a local and community level to encourage resident action and help meet carbon reduction ambitions.
Five fundamentals for effective communications
To ensure that you get the most from your climate change communications, we look at five fundamentals to ensure your council communicates effectively, providing the best return to help meet your targets.
1. Work to a behavioural science methodology
Greenredeem define ‘behavioural science’ as the pursuit and application of knowledge gained through understanding human behaviour.
It’s only by applying a methodology based on observations, evidence, critical analysis, and repetition that you can establish and apply general behaviour change rules through testing and verification of your communications.
Put simply; without a methodology, messages can be pushed out, but how do we truly know that people have listened, understood, and are changing what they do as a result?
2. Audience segmentation and personas
Crafting your messaging to suit your audience is the most effective way to engage, build trust and motivate them to act.
Whatever audience you wish to target, the more you know about them, the easier it is to effectively communicate. It also helps you to create and adapt your content strategy to mirror their needs. Depending on the level of detail available, you can build a robust picture of your residents and begin to segment your audiences or create personas.
3. Capturing data – an email address alone is not enough
With the introduction of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection, it has become a lot harder to track the effectiveness of email campaigns on Apple’s Mail app across iPhones, iPads, and desktop. The changes have had a big impact on metrics such as location and email open rates. In light of this, it’s important that all marketers adapt accordingly.
To combat this, Council’s should look at collecting more data on sign up, such as location, postcode, age and household occupancy. This will allow for more accurate audience segmentation and personalisation in lieu of new data privacy rules.
In addition to collecting information on sign up, Council’s should be thinking about incorporating omnichannel metrics that demonstrate user engagement. This could be website visits, interactions and account activity. This will give a stronger indication of real resident action, rather than individual email clicks, which aren’t a reliable enough signal of real action.
4. Targeted and frequent contact
It’s only through the insights gathered that you communicate effectively. Delivering targeted and personalised communications, allows for continual improvement to achieve sustained impactful results.
People do not actively seek out environmental information, therefore, maintaining regular interactions with residents is key for their ongoing engagement and campaign momentum.
Frequency of contact, nudging people to take notice and act is key. Our insights gathered over 12-years of creating behavioural change campaigns, reveal that the most effective frequency of contact to change a person’s behaviour, is weekly.
All touchpoints with resident communications should ideally be recorded to build an understanding from their individual actions. This allows for further personalisation and automation based on user interactions.
Without this level of insight, applying a behavioural science methodology is difficult to achieve. It’s through these touchpoints that you can effectively observe, benchmark, analyse, test, and verify in real time.
Taking a meticulous approach to insight gathering mitigates against knowledge gaps and means that, if necessary, you can be reactive, respond and refine campaign interventions in real time to maintain effectiveness and resident engagement.
Having the ability to produce monthly engagement reports of all activities whereby critical analysis will determine the effectiveness of communications and any required interventions to meet objectives.
If you need any help with your climate change communications get in touch.