Finding Ways That (Really) Work
Outreach Strategies is part of an ongoing engagement with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to ensure that the U.S. maximizes the climate benefits from the growing development in natural gas production and consumption. Part of this work focuses on reducing fugitive methane emissions, which are a significant source of planetary warming since methane is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas compared to carbon in its first 20 years. In fact, more than half of the warming we will experience over the next two decades will come from short-lived pollutants like methane. This puts methane squarely on the climate map.
And nowhere was this more visible than in Colorado – ground zero for tackling fugitive methane emissions.. Colorado -- a political bellwether state -- is one of the largest gas-producing states in the nation. As such, it was an ideal state in which to seek reductions in natural gas leakage and create national momentum around the issue.
EDF embarked on this ambitious campaign, joining with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and three major natural gas producers to create a set of strong air quality regulations to govern natural gas leakage, which included, for the first time ever, the direct regulation of methane.
To bring attention to the issue and demonstrate support for the regulations, Outreach Strategies worked with EDF to create a strategy and implementation plan to engage high-level influencers in Colorado to weigh in positively in support of the regulations and to spur their adoption by the state’s regulatory body with decision-making authority.
In the days preceding and following the vote from the regulator, OS and EDF lined up overwhelmingly positive editorials in eight Colorado newspapers in support of the regulations, assisted with dozens of interviews, engaged activists and coordinated messages.
As a result of the high level of attention and engagement, the regulations were passed in their strongest form, with no changes to weaken them (despite the best efforts of some industry actors), making the standards the strongest in the nation. The regulations earned coverage from well over two dozen national, trade and online media outlets, and both the regulations themselves as well as the process behind them have been hailed as a national model on a controversial issue.
The Invisible Crisis
Known as “the invisible crisis,” our nation’s water infrastructure – namely its ancient pipes and outdated systems -- is literally crumbling. OS was charged with broadening the understanding of this crisis and the complex work being done to reverse it by the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread.
Over five years, OS developed the platform from which the Foundation became a leading voice on U.S. water issues. In 2012, the Foundation’s program director testified before a Congressional Subcommittee hearing on water infrastructure – which OS captured on video and incorporated into a free iBook. In its last year, the initiative released a series of seven reports outlining the path forward for the country’s water sector, culminating in a comprehensive capstone report, Navigating to New Shores, which was unveiled as a centerpiece at WEFTEC 2014. It was then released widely in Washington, D.C. the following week. In addition to garnering widespread trade and regional press, Navigating to New Shores was also featured in USA Today and Bloomberg.
A Commitment to American Leadership
At the height of the U.S. climate debate, OS was charged with creating an issue advertisement to demonstrate the breadth and depth of business support for passage of comprehensive federal legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Building upon the foundation of leading US businesses, OS engaged a diverse coalition of business organizations and NGOs to recruit and mobilize additional businesses to join a large-scale advertising effort designed to drive home the size and diversity of companies, industries and sectors in support of a comprehensive framework for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The “Climate Leadership” issue ad ran in premiere business outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Politico.
OS coupled the print advertising with on-line placements and an aggressive earned media campaign.
Brand, Message and Launch a Bold New Initiative
In 2011, a diverse coalition came together to catalyze a bold new vision to transform food and agriculture policy. OS was charged with creating a visual brand identity, compelling value proposition and to ensure the initiative arrived on the policy scene with a successful launch.
Recognizing that the most successful communications campaigns begin with sound planning baked into the strategy from the start, OS was involved early on. As the coalition honed its mission, OS advanced and honed strong concepts, branding and messaging for the AGree website, logo and accompanying collateral that continues to this day. On parallel track, OS developed and executed a comprehensive plan to support AGree’s launch at the National Press Club. The multi-dimensional plan included stakeholder outreach and an integrated web and social media strategy, accompanied with paid media and an aggressive earned media effort.