Friday, December 3, 2010

Share the Love & Save the World

"All you need is is all you need." -- The Beatles

Once again, the fab four said it simply, and with a good hook and melody. People prefer love over death. Pretty obvious but it's easy to forget, especially by people trying to communicate the importance of conservation to anyone. Be it neighbor, friend, colleague, politician, communication professional, or woman on the street. Messages about conservation tend to go on and on about the death of nature. The result is no result. Most people can only hear that for so long before they stop hearing it.

The progressive and excellent professional communications organization out of the UK, Futerra, proposes that we share the love instead. According to their Branding Biodiversity paper, presenting the awe and fascination and yes, love, of nature is more effective at stirring positive action and inspiring people than any other methods, especially doom and gloom.

At Eco Ocean, we employ a combination of methods but it's nice to know love is the answer. Because, put simply, I love nature and I'm not afraid to say it. Share the love.

Futerra suggests the following tips to get this "love content" right:


Biodiversity is a global issue but local messages are far more likely to resonate with people. Local plants and animals provide a more familiar, relevant and visceral connection for your audience, and local biodiversity provides a platform from which to connect to global issues.

• Integrate pride in local places, plants and wildlife into your messages.

• Use pets as a starting point to remind people that they already care about nature.

• Remember that locals don’t look at their environment like tourists do, and the touristy depiction can actively turn them off. Learn why they love their natural surroundings and start there.

• Sell actions that relate to your audience’s lifestyle, and highlight the personal benefits of doing something for nature, like guerrilla gardening.

Kiss me

Most of your audience value nature as it relates to people. People are what they know and understand, so don’t be afraid to anthropomorphise the species you are communicating about. Make sure you don’t slip back into selling conservation for nature’s sake; acknowledging the feel-good factor is essential for inspiring action.

• Turn your studies into soap operas, and give individual species a lead role.

• Talk about the people behind conservation success stories, as well as the plants and animals. Use testimonies and case stories to reinforce your Love message.

• Talk in human timescales. If you’re communicating conservation plans, tell us what you’ll do in 5, not 25, years.


Conservation actions need great publicity. As well as picking the right actions for your audience, you need to make the actors and their successes visible. This will shift the focus of biodiversity action from avoiding Loss to celebrating Love, and it will help move all conservation actions into the mainstream.

• Use everyday role models, the people who are taking action in their daily lives.

• Showcase success, what we’ve managed to save rather than what we’ve lost.

• Show people what a difference they have made, and say thank you. This will reinforce the feelgood factor and help turn one-off conservation actions into lifestyle habits.

Take a moment to read the entire Branding Biodiversity paper here.

image credits: dawnoftomorrow

No comments: