Communication Tips From the Choose Clean Water Conference


Yesterday I was able to attend the first Choose Clean Water Conference, put together by the amazing Chesapeake Bay Coalition. While I was lucky to be on Eric Eckl’s panel, I drew tremendous energy from the combined knowledge in the room. I came away from the discussion with several key points and a few ideas for concepts of future campaigns. Here are some great campaign tips even if you don’t choose water as your topic.

For the BEST action based campaigns you should:

1) Tell people what you expect them to do (First and Foremost) – no beating around the bush. Without a clear and concise message you lose them.

2) Use stories to get your points across, facts are not as powerful as the story or feeling you leave with people.

3) Make use of social capital – whenever you can– let people involve their personal networks and see others doing the action so that others see that your effort is legitimate.

4) Focus less on the tools and more on the goals– It’s easy to get caught up in Facebook, Email and the many other mediums for which we reach people. It’s really best to finalize strategy before you think to the tactics.

The Panel Discussion:

Eric Eckl led the panel with his extensive understanding of what words work for water campaigns.

And we were the panelists:

We all were asked to rate water specific campaigns based on how strong we thought their words, pictures and the ask for action.

I chose to review Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives — an effort by the Healing Our Waters Coalition that focuses mainly on serving as a resource for legislative staff and caters to a more wonky crowd. I thought their call to action was incredibly strong but their imagery could be stronger. Still they won me over with their impressive Twitter and Flickr pages.

I also rated The Bay vs. The Bag campaign put together by the Save the Bay people over in San Francisco. I loved the video– but felt like their call to action could have been much stronger.

After we all presented, Eric broke people up into groups of 10 and they were asked to plan a campaign for Earth Day 2010. — Fantastic results! We had an incredibly creative audience.

Overall– it was a blast seeing everyone’s campaigns and it was very difficult to judge the hard work.


Image by Choose Clean Water

Look through the Flickr stream to see some of the pictures from the panel.

One thought on “Communication Tips From the Choose Clean Water Conference

  1. Awesome piece – glad I was snapping pics of you for for the post. I at first had my doubts about Eric breaking up the group like for the exercise but I was amazed at how engaged the group was.

    Glad we got to meet and I look forward to collaborating more in the future

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