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climate change efforts

Communication Tactics for Municipalities to Use in Climate Change Efforts

Right now, it’s no secret that climate change is becoming an increasingly crucial situation for municipalities to consider. While it already affects all life on Earth until we combat it, the reality is that so many people are hesitant to even believe in it. Why? Because climate change data can be so hard for people to conceptualize. The spread of misinformation and politics doesn’t help, either.

Another issue that can make it difficult to act on climate change is adapting to the changes made. For example, to lower fossil fuels, the Biden administration aims to make half of all vehicles in the United States electric by 2030. Concurrently, several car manufacturers have greeted climate change efforts by signing the zero-emission by 2040 declaration at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Despite this, though, the U.S. is still running behind on electric vehicles, in large part because government incentives aren’t as generous as they are in other countries.

In a similar scope, governments must adapt their communication tactics to address a diverse audience. However, as diverse as they are, some of the people within that audience might have trouble understanding the point, or they might not even believe in climate change at all. Here are four communication tactics for municipalities to include in climate change efforts.

Communication Tactics for Municipalities to Use in Climate Change Efforts

1. Use Credible Sources

Now more than ever, in a world where “fake news” is a frequently trending topic, people must be vigilant in discerning fact from fiction. This is particularly true in the U.S., where climate change has become so politicized and divisive that governments have gone so far as to remove climate change efforts and regulations that were already in place.

To help combat the issue of both misinformation and climate change, governments must use credible sources, such as climate change experts and scientists, in their communications strategy. These experts can communicate the complexities of climate change in more simple and/or metaphorical terms to be more relatable to your audience. Being relatable to your audience will help them to understand, and getting them to understand will enable or even inspire them to become more involved in their communities and climate change efforts.

Besides helping your audience understand, being relatable is important to storytelling, another avenue municipalities should take in their climate change communications.

2. Highlight Uplifting, Personal Stories

According to a 2020 survey from Digital Third Coast, more than 65 percent of people surveyed have watched more news than usual and are either anxious or overwhelmed by it. To get residents on the same page, governments should be careful to communicate climate change in a personal, positive light. There’s a scientific reason why people like to hear stories that resonate with them. It increases the release of oxytocin, a hormone that makes people feel good.

It’s important to pay attention to mental health in the world of marketing. You want people to feel good about the future of climate change instead of hopelessness. The point of climate change efforts is to get people to act. If municipalities want their residents to care about climate change, they need to inspire them with stories they can connect with, including ones that will inspire their future.

Connecting a climate change message to your community’s cultural values and beliefs is another strategy governments can use to make climate change relatable. For example, say it’s the Superbowl, an annual sports event watched nationally by millions of Americans. The U.S. Government or its municipalities could fund a climate change commercial featuring people recycling during the big game to encourage people to act. The great appeal of commercials is their visuals, another vital tactic to consider in climate change communications.

3. Visualize Climate Change

Because climate change is so visual, residents would benefit greatly from graphics, infographics, videos, commercials, and other visuals to highlight climate change stories and data.

Governments should use Instagram, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn as marketing tools to spread these visuals. Social media is where many residents go to find engaging and informational content. If your municipality isn’t utilizing it in your communications strategy, you should be. It can help your municipality to communicate complex information and ideas related to climate change. More importantly, it can also encourage residents to act on it.

4. Think Globally; Act Locally

Thinking globally means thinking about how people can slow, stop, or reverse climate change. Acting locally means finding ways to make a difference with climate change in your community. Teaming up with other organizations to act on climate change is another route municipalities may take to encourage efforts. An example of this is Gwinnett County, Georgia. Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, a nonprofit organization aiming to make Gwinnett County more environmentally friendly, and Gwinnett County Solid Waste Management teamed up on November 6th for America Recycles Day to collect electronics, latex and oil paint, tires, and other hard-to-recycle items.

Climate change will only worsen if we don’t work together to solve it. It’s a global issue that requires local and national action. Municipalities should think about how they may encourage residents to act on climate change issues within their communities. Taking simple steps, such as encouraging residents to recycle, save water, or support environmental groups will help make a difference.

Do you need help considering your climate change communications strategy? Our creatives at PivotPath have the tools to help. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

‘When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.’

The idea of conformity might be appealing to some, but it’s not that simple in the diverse, multicultural environment.

Part of the wonders of effective communication is maintaining a diverse audience. Even so, it’s essential to understand and confront our own biases, experiences, and values that shape the lens through which we view our reality. With the aid of cultural competency, you will be able to communicate to your multi-cultured audience with ease.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

What is Cultural Competency, and Why is it Important?

According to the American Psychological Association, cultural competency allows us to understand and respect values, attitudes, beliefs, and most importantly, to interact with people from cultures or belief systems that differ from our own—and is perhaps the most helpful tool in business and marketing that you can have at your disposal. Having been a key aspect of psychological thinking and in practice for some 50 years, it’s even become listed as one of psychology’s core competencies. In most aspects of life, but especially with marketing and politics, cultural competence in communication could be comparable to the “hitch” that holds you and your target audience together.

Most importantly, when you have an audience of several different cultural backgrounds, handling your cultural competency can differentiate between a well-communicated message and a poorly-communicated one. To have a good sense of multicultural competence, it’s important to have the following competencies:

  • Basic knowledge of your own culture, worldview, and values.
  • A willingness to learn about the cultural practices, worldviews, and values of others.
  • A positive attitude toward cultural differences and a readiness to accept and respect said differences.

In a globalized, increasingly diverse world, with diverse people—refugees, migrants, immigrants, citizens, and so on—anyone can be your audience, and you can gain valuable insight in interacting with a worldly audience. But, how do you communicate with everyone across the board in a leveled, realistic way?

1. Focus on Structure

When it comes to structuring—through presentations, social media, videos, blog posts, or whichever medium you choose—we recommend that you ensure that the message of your medium is understandable and easy to digest. Make it easy for your audience to understand and follow along. Logically structured messages also make it easier for you to relay your message.

When communicating your message, start with the most crucial aspect of it first. Background and detail aren’t as necessary as you would think. Rather than building up to it, order your thoughts by decreasing importance. Readers will have an easier time parsing your message, and you won’t have to waste time to deliver the point. Use bullet points to your advantage whenever there are three or more points you want to make. Use bold print sparingly: it draws your readers’ attention, but too much of it renders the attention moot. Be sure that the bold text is self-contained so that your readers can find it easily.

A consistent, coherent, and light format—consistent fonts, font sizes, spacing, and numbering—keeps the message’s readers’ attention. If you consider capitalizing words or sentences to get your reader’s attention, don’t. Writing in all uppercase hurts more than it helps as it is obnoxious, and your message will be remembered for the wrong reason.

2. Leave the Idioms Out

In marketing, humor and idioms can help get your message across, primarily effective if you and your audience share the same culture, humor, and language. However, if your audience shares varying cultures, leaving the humor out of the picture is most advisable. What is funny in one culture may prove to be confusing, or even offensive, in another, and you don’t want to risk a misfire. 

Avoid jargon and fancy words to help save the reader time and effort. Otherwise, you risk making your audience stop and think about what’s being said to them, breaking the piece’s flow. Writing shorter sentences is an excellent way to ensure that communication between your brand and your audience is easily digestible. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about them possibly missing the point. Because your audience is multicultural—quite broad, generally speaking—the message has a chance of being lost in translation with long, complex sentences. As such, writing at a 10th-grade level is recommended. This isn’t meant to disparage or insult the readers of your text, but instead, this is to help ensure that the message is received with little margin of error.

3. Research, Research, Research

An essential step in this article, research, allows you to do many things: from defining and understanding your audience and their issues to letting you know how best to get the message across. To connect to your audience, you need to understand why your topic is important to them, and in turn, why their attention is vital to you. Why should they care? Why does your topic matter to them? What motivates your audience as a whole?

However, when it comes to research in the vein of cultural competency, you should give as much attention to your audience’s culture as possible, too. These include linguistic preferences, cognition, ethnocentricity, values, and communication styles. Researching the cross-cultural differences of your target audiences is essential, and, whatever you do, don’t put them into one marketing box. Cultural norms and values influence how people think, act, and feel, and the people who identify with them often share both. Once you gain an understanding, implement these cultural standards and values into your messages. Similar to nonverbal signs and their meanings, we need to know and recognize different cultural tendencies. As an example, some cultures use “she” as their primary preferred pronoun. It could be the opposite in other cultures.

Knowing such intricacies could help you have an advantage over other business marketing firms with a multicultural audience. More importantly, though, research can help keep your multicultural audience and minimize linguistic and cultural fumbles.

4. Ask Questions and Rephrase Comments

While this part is a bit on the shorter side, it is nonetheless important. Checking in with audiences is a good habit to form. Better yet, asking questions and rephrasing comments is particularly useful with a diverse audience, as it could give you a chance to go over your message to anyone who might have missed it. Rephrasing a question also allows your audience to get clarification, and it can also help you gain clarification from your audience.

5. Craft Sensitive, Culturally-Relevant Messages

To ensure that your multicultural audience stays as your audience, you have to respect the people who comprise it. Crafting a campaign that respects and reflects their values and beliefs can be the most effective way to earn your audience’s trust. As such, basing your campaign on stereotypes and assumptions is the quickest way to lose said audience. Furthermore, it can damage your organization’s reputation, credibility, and you can lose your audience’s trust in one fell swoop.

Therefore, there are several things you must consider when crafting your content. If there is a demographic shift in your audience, research it and quickly identify their needs. Rather than merely announcing that you “want” to reach your audience, find out who they are through research, as said in an earlier point. If you want to create dedicated communities, you must develop content specific to those targeting groups. A good example of this is creating an online community that allows an organization to understand consumers’ experiences and hear their stories in their own words and culture. This way, they can trust that your organization reflects their values.

5. Be Prepared for Feedback

An often overlooked aspect of communicating with multicultural communities, preparing for your audience’s feedback helps you just as much as it helps them. Audience feedback allows you to avoid costly mistakes, helping generate goodwill in combination with the earlier points in this article. Whether on social media or paper, through surveys, polls, or focus groups, knowing what your audience is saying about your company is crucial for your results. Are they happy with your interaction? Do you engage with them?

Listen to your audience’s mentions. Host focus groups. Hire native speakers of your target market. You can even partner with a reputable translation service with native linguists. Precise expertise, who are best-equipped, can help you in any of the following. They can impart valuable advice for your product or service. They can also help you implement a cultural sensitivity strategy within your broader marketing objectives.

Multiculturalism, however broad it is, is one of the world’s greatest assets and accomplishments. It can fuel innovation and growth. It can foster friendships, business relationships, and more when people are exposed to different cultures. Here at PivotPath, we think this is incredibly valuable for this ever-changing world.

Do you have a multicultural audience, but you just don’t know how to address them? Are you a non-profit organization or agency looking to branch out to stakeholders and residents alike? Contact PivotPath today for a free consultation!

Keys to Developing an Effective Communications and Visibility Plan for Your Intergovernmental Organization

Communications can either make or break your market, and when you’re working in an intergovernmental organization like the European Union or United Nations, every bit of strategy helps. Marketing communications is worth its weight in gold as it captures the attention of beneficiaries, community-based organizations, and strategic partners alike and informs them of your programming and the excellent work your organization does. Even better, though, robust communication strategies are a surefire way to ensure maximum visibility. This article will go over crucial tactics you need to include within your communications and visibility plan, how strategy can impact your organization, and how to implement it most effectively.

Keys to Developing an Effective Communications and Visibility Plan for Your Intergovernmental Organization

What a Communications Strategy Is and What It Is Not.

Fundamentally, a marketing communications strategy is an effort to reach your target audiences through communication. Your organization could communicate these strategies through a host of methods such as television, radio, social media, games, events, graphics, publications, emails, public speaking, or any other medium that can communicate the message effectively. However, “communications strategy” is a mouthful, which is why many often use a shorthand: Public Relations, or PR, interchangeably.

Now, let us be the first to tell you: public relations and a communications strategy are NOT the same things. Sure, they may be closely related—both serve as forms of communication between an organization and its beneficiaries, investors, and the general public. However, the critical difference is that public relations often imply the relationship between an organization and the larger public. Communication strategies instead focus on promoting an organization’s products or services to its beneficiaries.

When it comes down to it, there are three essential aspects to the strategy: the message, the target, and the medium.

The message is what you want to say.

The target is who you are speaking to.

The medium is what channels you are using, in other words, where your message is to be said.

Each aspect is equally important. A successful communications strategy almost always frames these three elements in a complementary manner. This builds trust in your organization, reaches the right audiences, and achieves a positive ROI.

Key #1: Set Concrete, Clear Goals and Objectives

There’s nothing worse than jumping the gun, and we’re all guilty of doing it in one way or another in communications. As tempting as it may seem, trying to take the bull by the horns without planning is a common yet troubling pitfall. It can often lead to mismanagement down the road, or worse, overwhelm your staff, often leading to the strategy never getting off the ground. With concrete, clear goals and objectives, you mitigate that risk, managing it in smaller, clear milestones.

 

We recommend referring to the SMART system, illustrated by the Coaching Tools Company, to set your communication strategy goals into a viable roadmap.

Key #2: Pinpoint and Prioritize Your Target Audiences

Speaking of jumping the gun, it’s equally as important to identify who your target audience is before you begin. Further, if you want to gain the attention of a different audience, be sure to segment the audience based on common needs or interests, then craft your message specific to that audience.

Perhaps the easiest way to segment your target audience would be to conduct surveys or interviews. Be sure to ask questions about their values, needs, wants, and so on. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions to have an easier time developing your audience:

  • What groups or individuals do you want/need to engage to help you reach your goals?
  • Who would benefit the most from your organization?
  • What actions do you want the audience to take?
  • Who do you generally engage in your programs, projects, and initiatives?
  • What are the challenges that hold back your supporters from contributing, if any?
  • What do your supporters have in common?
  • How do individuals find your organization? What is the easiest method? (e.g., social media, events, word of mouth, etc.)

These surveys are often more important than people realize. They are crucial for creating highly targeted marketing messages that your audience can relate to. Once you have gathered enough data on your target audience and know what they want, you’ll be able to move on to the next step.

Key #3: Craft an Important, Compelling Message

Regardless of who it is, target audiences will have different motivators and barriers that are quite different from one target to the next. Therefore, the last thing you want to do is have a too general message because otherwise, it will fall short. Always try to keep your message clear, concise, personalized, and uncomplicated—because it won’t do any good if your message is buried in jargon.

Often, compelling messages can be quite challenging to form, even if you know the behaviors that drive your target audience. Here are four key elements that must be tailored to each audience:

  • The Key Message – The core takeaway, or message, that you want your audience to know.
  • The Secondary Message(s) – A secondary message is supporting information that helps bolster your key or original point.
  • Proof Points – A proof point is precisely what it sounds like: factual evidence that affirms your earlier messages.
  • Call to Action – Perhaps the most important aspect, a call to action instructs your audience to contact your business.

Key #4: A Little Integrated Strategy Never Hurt Anybody

This is where the communications plan comes in. While an integrated strategy sounds intimidating, that sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. Strategies bring a blend of communication goals, tactics, and methods that you employ to devise the best possible plan that works for your organization. PivotPath can help you with this, as we did for the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone.

Many frameworks could help brainstorm what approach you want to take in communication, but the most widely-known framework is the PESO model, originally illustrated below by Spin Sucks.

The PESO Model places the highest importance on the following information:

  • P: Paid Media — Promotional efforts such as social media ads, sponsored posts, and native advertising, all of which involve paying for placements on third-party channels. These include native advertising, event sponsorships, paid search such as Google AdWords, etc.
  • E: Earned Media — Buzz generated by the public (e.g., the press, your audience, your communications team, etc.) through traditional public relations, word of mouth, television, influencer marketing/relations, etc.
  • S: Shared Media — Content on social media channels designed to prioritize driven engagement between an organization and its audience. This includes social media content (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and user-generated content like reviews, videos, comments, etc.
  • O: Owned Media — Your organizations’ media—websites, blogs, events, etc.

When developing your tactics, be wary of the 80/20 rule. It states that you should only allot 20 percent of social media content for direct tasks (i.e., donations, event registration, etc.) and allocate the remaining 80 percent for building community through engaging content.

Key #5: Build Up Your Budget

Setting up a budget plan means that your organization must account for financials at all project steps. Being effective and cost-effective is the name of the game. Getting cost-effective press for your business through influencers, journalists, and bloggers with stories of your organization, brand, and products. Be sure to contact people linking similar content or even utilize tools such as Crunchbase or JustReachOut. Building a budget is also a fundamental resource for assessing your plan’s return on investment.

To get building, it helps to consider the following:

  • Does your organization have an existing budget allocated for communications activities?
  • How much will each line item in the tactical portion of your plan cost?
  • If applicable, what are the projected vs. actual costs for previous campaign implementations?

Your budget should serve as a guardrail to help keep your plan on time and track. To avoid frivolous spending, be sure only to allot spending within your budget unless you’re confident that you absolutely need it.

Key #6: Map Out an Actionable Timeline

The final key in any strategy is to map out your activities in a timeline. Believe it or not, timelines are essential in ensuring that you stay on track when transitioning from the planning phase to the implementation phase. Monthly or quarterly timelines apply to these types of marketing strategies, but be sure to keep in mind any significant events and holidays that you want to leverage, as it could be a worthwhile endeavor.

An innovative, well-rounded communications plan can reward your time, patience, and effort and ensure that you launch a successful campaign, program, or service. However, be sure to tailor the steps to achieve the best goals you’re aiming for. Again: this is NOT a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Be sure to take notes if an aspect of the plan does not work out.

Key #7: Monitoring Your Success – Evaluation

Even when your organization has pulled the plan off, it’s just as important to monitor the plan’s effectiveness. Was there a shift in audience or supporters? Were people responding to your community insights? Regardless, marketing is the engine that drives attention and engagement to your brand and values. Marketing measurement tools like Google Analytics, marketing analytics software, and surveys will help you see what works versus what doesn’t in terms of engagement through your marketing efforts.

Are you interested in developing an effective communications plan for your business? Contact PivotPath today to schedule a free consultation to improve your marketing strategy!

gdpr guidelines

Five Big Questions Related to GDPR | What You Need To Know

First things first. We’re not lawyers, and what follows does not constitute legal advice. We have a vested interest in the success of our partnership and want to provide information to collectively aid us through this process.

 Download guide here

Here are five big questions related to GDPR:

  1. What is GDPR?
  2. Does it affect our company or organization?
  3. How does this change the way we collect and store data?
  4. Does this change the way we communicate and market?
  5. How do we get started?

WHAT IS GDPR? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

(Regulation (EU) 2016/679) is a regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union. The European Commission intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). The European Union currently has data protection regulation that determines how personal information can be used by companies, the government, and other organizations. GDPR changes the definition of personal information and how data is obtained and used. Within GDPR, there are 99 articles setting out the rights of individuals to have easier access to the information data companies collect about them. There are also determinations of fines related to non-compliance, and responsibilities for obtaining consent and usage of personal information. This law provides greater transparency, enhanced rights for EU citizens, and increased accountability.

gdpr guidelines

DOES IT AFFECT OUR COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION?

GDPR regulations apply to any company that processes EU consumer data. This is applicable no matter where the company resides or where the servers that collect the data are located. These provisions promote accountability and governance. These measures minimize the risk of breaches and uphold the protection of personal data. Compliance for GDPR does not lay at just the feet of marketers, but in all processes of data storage, collection, and usage. Thus, this will become a boardroom topic if it has not already. Additionally, companies that have “regular and systematic monitoring” of individuals at a large scale or process a lot of sensitive personal data may have to designate a data protection officer (DPO).

 

HOW DOES THIS CHANGE THE WAY WE COLLECT AND STORE DATA?

LAWFULNESS Not everyone that handles the personal data of individuals is the same. GDPR regulation falls within two main categories: controller and processor. A controller is an entity that decides the purpose and manner in which personal data can be used. This is your role. A processor is a person (or team) that processes data on behalf of the controller; and includes obtaining, recording, adapting, or holding personal data. GDPR requirements are different for each. In addition, the controller is responsible for and must demonstrate compliance with GDPR principles.

Bottom line: for data processing to be lawful under GDPR, companies need to identify a lawful basis for processing personal data. Companies also need to be able to document this.

gdpr guidelines

HOW DOES THIS CHANGE THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE AND MARKET?

Most marketers will understand that GDPR is actually a blessing. It forces us to be responsible and better marketers. It also provides our subscribers with exactly what they want. And that’s the way we all should be marketing. Think of this as a new (albeit required) goal to only communicate with those who want to hear from us. Also, to have all data in order which can only build trust and loyalty with subscribers.

HOW CAN WE GET STARTED?

Having a full understanding of GDPR is important, as it may impact a number of facets of your business practices. The place to start is in education. While there is a myriad of articles and resources on the net, we find the information from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Interested in learning more about how to ensure your communications are GDPR compliant? We are here to help.

End of Year Blues? Here are 6 Tips on Creating your BEST Annual Report

Writing up the required annual report can be the most dispiriting part of the year for nonprofits and community foundations, especially in a year so many were threatened by COVID-19. However, it can also be an opportunity to effectively market your organization’s story by getting visually creative. Here are six tips to craft your best annual report yet.

annual report

1. Work as a Team

John Maxwell states “teamwork makes the dream work.” The same can be said in relation to creating your best annual report. Engaging annual reports are not solely developed by the CEO and your organization’s numbers. Assign tasks to each department head and partake in a planning committee to decide the information your organization will need, such as who will be responsible for assembling the income and expenditure reports. Utilizing your graphic design and content writing teams may help to share the story of your accomplishments and activities.

Graphic designers can:

  • Be creative with the colors of your brand to highlight the past year.
  • Use best design practices.
  • Make infographics, charts, graphs, and other visuals to showcase your brand.
  • Work with photographers to create powerful data visualizations, including photos and videos.

Content writers can:

  • Use the facts and figures to craft the story of the year to tell your story in a relatable way.
  • Interview supporters, employees, and any others who can enhance the accomplishments of your organization.
  • Combat challenges with transparency and prove that your organization has accomplished its mission and has been responsible to its supporters.
  • Use the facts and figures to forecast your company’s fiscal future.

2. Share Your Story

While the basics of an annual report include an introduction, a shareholder’s letter, a business profile, a financial statement, and an auditor’s report, the most important aspect of a good annual report is sharing your organization’s community with the impact of the year that will be told throughout the document.

An annual report should never be boring. To counter that, you don’t want to only report the facts and figures with your shareholder letter and call it a day. Instead, you want to use the facts and figures to showcase the activities, accomplishments, successes, and failures of the year and the years going forward.

Content writers can do this in several ways. They can simply list the activities, accomplishments, successes, and challenges in relation to the mission. To collect additional information, they can interview supporters, donors, and strategic partners, and use those interviews throughout the report in conjunction with the tasks, achievements, progress, and shortcomings listed. In addition, the writers can interview and write personal profiles on supporters/donors, employees, and others who have made an impact on your company, and/or on how they may impact your organization in the future.

Your best annual report:

  • Introduces the audience to your company.
  • Explains what your company has done in the past year.
  • Uses the facts and figures to highlight the accomplishments of your organization from the prior year.
  • Describes how your organization will do what it wants to achieve in the future.

3. Let’s Get Visual

Humans are visual beings—over 90 percent of information processed by the brain is from sight. According to Neuroscience News, even those born without sight use the visual part of their brains when hearing sounds in the dark.

So it is no wonder, then, that in order to create the most engaging annual report you can make, you must consider making it aesthetically pleasing. It should also be visually appealing to positively represent your organization and attract your targeted audience(s). And there are many ways to do that, including a food company that asked its supporters to bake part of their annual report booklet in order to read it.

Two other creative examples include Vrijwilligersacademie Amsterdam, a volunteer foundation in the Netherlands that encouraged their supporters to turn their annual report into origami after reading it, and Sonae, a shopping center company that turned their annual report into playful, rotating gears.

While print is the traditional way to go with annual reports, many organizations these days find that digital reports can be the most cost-effective, creative way to reach more supporters. It is also one of the easiest ways to market to more audiences through email, social media, etc.

This digital report from the Humane Society of the United States in 2019 showcases beautiful animal photography mixed in with articles explaining their accomplishments and interviews from supporters.

Some organizations have found using videos to create their annual reports has been the creative way to go. There are several reasons why video marketing is beneficial.

4. Be Transparent

Being transparent can be important to any part of an organization, but particularly in creating your best annual report. Your organization should not only divulge its activities and accomplishments from the past year, but it should also stress the shortcomings. Many organizations have had to face challenges in the past couple of years due to COVID-19.

An effective example is this digital report from Pathfinder International in 2020, whose impact included how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their organization’s mission and the people they help. Pathfinder International is an organization that supports women in making their own reproductive choices. In their annual report last year, they explained how they moved through the challenges of the pandemic, from health services and contraceptive supply chain issues to nationwide lockdowns.

5. Forecast Your Fiscal Future

An annual report typically goes over the prior year’s financial successes and pitfalls. A good annual report projects the potential for future revenue growth, too.

It’s also important to ask and answer what activities your organization will take on in the future. Don’t make your audience work to find out more about your future course of action.

Your best annual report:

  • Compiles your organization’s plans for the future.
  • Incorporates new programming and services your organization plans to propose.
  • Comprises plans for research and development.
  • Presents information about other opportunities and initiatives for your organization.

Providing a future plan of action gives your supporters an idea of your organization’s direction, which can help with monetary support.

6. Ask for Feedback

Include a feedback or response form. It can be helpful to know how your audience feels about your organization and your annual report. After all, effectively listening to your audience is essential. Feedback or response forms can help your supporters communicate about their opinion or questions they have on your annual report. That way, you can prepare to make an even better annual report in the future.

To keep your audience content, it may even be important to consult with your board members and supporters during the process of creating your annual report. Include them in the design direction. You don’t have to act on everything they say. However, incorporating some of your audience’s wishes will ensure that the final result is met with openness and transparency.

It’s important to keep an eye on your audience and how they respond to your annual report not only for transparency. You also want to get to know them.  Don’t just repeat the same unhelpful information over and over again. For annual reports that are created digitally, find content creation platforms that offer analytics reports. This will allow you to quantitatively measure and enhance your annual report for future use.

If all else fails and you need help finding what your audience wants, ask our team of creatives at PivotPath to help your organization pave the way to your best annual report yet. Contact us for a free consultation today.

strategy

What’s HOT in Nonprofit Communication Trends?

How to Communicate with your Non-Profit Organization (The New Trends) 

Nonprofits have seen a significant change in their marketing strategies, communication, and fundraising since the pandemic impacted their organizations. They have been creative in planning their communication with others and what that will look like post-pandemic. Look to see What’s Hot in Nonprofit Communication Trends.

communicating with your team members effectively
University students talking to their teacher while learning the lecture over the Internet at the campus.

The Importance of Time Management for your Nonprofit 

The pandemic took a toll on many companies in regard to planning the future of their business. Most goals were put on hold for a year or even longer. Companies are still apprehensive about planning due to the uncertainty of post-pandemic life. The company needs to manage its time efficiently so it can work towards completing the goals it did not get to finish before the pandemic. Employees and volunteers are also returning to the office after many months of working from home, which may come with distractions.

Virtual is the New Normal for Communication in your Nonprofit 

What’s Hot in Nonprofit Communication Trends? A significant change in communication between organizations has been the use of virtual meetings. If it weren’t for zoom or FaceTime, most sessions would not have been as informative without face-to-face contact with people. Nonprofits have focused on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to market to people. Social media has become a place for all ages to stay up-to-date on the news and find entertainment for hours on end. Nonprofits are still strategizing on better ways to communicate with others since COVID restrictions are easing up around the world. However, they may still try to utilize some of the marketing and communication strategies they learned from the pandemic into the future of their organizations. This will allow them to reach a broad audience that supports their organization and mission.

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PivotPath partners with the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone for Agro-Technology Initiatives

European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone

The mission of PivotPath, in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, was to ensure maximum exposure of agro-technology initiatives in Sierra Leone through the successful receipt of the Delegation’s Call for Proposals.

Summary:

Under its Jobs & Growth Programme, the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone launched a call for proposals for agro-technology development.

The purpose was to increase private sector investment in technology and innovations in the country. This is a uniquely competitive opportunity for Sierra Leonean organizations and SMEs seeking to develop and/or expand sustainable agro-processing and agribusiness innovation and technology. 

About the Client: 

The Delegation of the European Union in Freetown is one of 139 European Union Delegations around the world, serving the European Union interests as a whole, in so far as they are concerned with:

  • presenting, explaining and implementing the European Union policies;
  • analysing and reporting on the policies and developments of the countries to which they are accredited;
  • and conducting negotiations in accordance with a given mandate.

Delegations are also involved in the conduct of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), providing regular political analysis, conducting evaluations jointly with Member State embassies and contributing to the policy-making process.

In Sierra Leone, the European Union cooperation programme covers a range of target areas such as infrastructure, governance, macro-economic support and rural development. The EU cooperation programme in Sierra Leone is presented in the Country Strategy Paper for Sierra Leone which has been developed with the national authorities. The European Union Delegation in Freetown manages cooperation projects developed in the framework of the Country Strategy Paper

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The Challenge:

The European Union Delegation (EUD) to Sierra Leone wanted to promote its Call for Proposals to fund Small Business Enterprises aiming to develop or grow agro-tech initiatives within the country. The EUD contracted PivotPath to provide communications and awareness of the Jobs and Growth Programme funding opportunity, and highlight existing projects within the agro-tech space.

The Agro-Tech call for proposals was designed based on the positive experience gained under the Agro-business Development from Organic Resources (ADORE). This is an initiative funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by the Welthungerhilfe organisation, Moawoma cooperative, Lizard-Earth and Door to Europe companies. In collaboration, the group aimed to support production and processing of organic cacao into chocolate bars made in Sierra Leone. 

The ADORE project will stimulate the sustainable growth of the Sierra Leonean agri-business sector, particularly in Kenema and Kailahun. The project aims to build inclusive partnerships between value chain stakeholders at all levels by linking farmers with the national and international markets.

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The Solution

PivotPath team members traveled to Sierra Leone to conduct interviews and desk research as a basis to better understand the landscape and current communications. The team then crafted a strategy, formulated it into a strategic communications plan and oversaw and conducted the implementation as follows:

  • 4 Video productions featuring Ambassador Vens announcing the call for proposals.
    • A virtual information session that was attended by over 210 interested applicants, and highlights from the EU funded ADORE project. 
  • 11 Newspapers and specialized magazine coverage, social media coverage throughout the campaign initiative, with over 33 publications. 
  • A series of articles written and approved on agriculture innovation and technology development in the world.
    • This included a specific case study in neighbouring countries and in Sierra Leone to illustrate the relevance of the initiative shared across 12 newspapers and magazines.
  • 4 Radio jingles in rotation across 13 radio stations in the country. Jingles in English, Krio, Temne and Mende.

The Results

Due to the following deliverables, the Jobs and Growth Programme had over 8,000 impressions with two months and reached over 224 small business enterprises within the country.

With the successful promotion of the Agro-Tech Development initiative, agriculture can play a vital role in boosting the country’s economic growth. These initiatives can provide sustainable and climate-smart agro-development. In turn, this can improve agriculture efficiency and promote economic self-sufficiency for young (and seasoned) agri-preneurs, particularly women and young adults.

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5 Signs Your Agency Needs a New Logo ASAP

A logo largely defines how consumers will perceive a brand. In other words, it can make or break a brand’s success. Here are five signs that your agency needs a new logo ASAP.

It doesn’t reflect who you are.

Branding is the representation of your agency as a personality. An effective logo design must communicate who you are.   

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • Who do you serve?
  • What makes you different?

Imagine your brand as a person. What does that person look like? What does that person sound like? Develop your design with consideration for how you want your brand to be perceived. 

It doesn’t consider all aspects of visual communication.

A brand’s logo is easily the largest component of its visual communication. 

Visual communication involves using visual elements to tell a story. For instance, the color, shape, form, place, proximity, and typography of your design should readably illustrate your agency’s identity. Is the shape distracting? Is the font readable? Ask yourself these questions. Ineffective visual communication can cause potential consumers to deter.

Its colors don’t communicate.

Color influences perception. Color theory recognizes that each color communicates a different meaning. Once you understand who your brand is and what it looks like, your logo should include colors that reflect that identity. 

Warm colors like red and yellow evoke action and urgency, whereas cool colors like blue and green communicate peace and calm. When using more than one color in a design, it’s important to understand that some colors work together, while others do not. 

It’s not consistent. 

Your logo must be consistent across all channels. 

All of your branding materials must have your logo on them, from your website, to your social media, and even your letterhead. A brand compromises its credibility and the trust of its audience when it fails to consistently display its visual identity.  

It doesn’t motivate.

An effective logo will add value to a brand and influence its audience to engage with the brand. 

Your design should communicate the emotion and personality of your brand in efforts to persuade. Your brand’s image can motivate your audience to act. Audiences are more motivated to act when they identify with a brand. Motivating action will bring more business, and more business will bring consumer loyalty, which is crucial for a long-lasting presence.

Restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult.

Branding involves creating an image that markets. A logo motivates consumers to recognize and engage with a brand. 

If you’ve read this far, the odds are that your agency needs a new design. It may sound overwhelming, but restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact PivotPath for a free consultation today, our team of innovative creatives can help your agency develop a logo that is sure to entice your audience and promote growth.

What Makes a Brand Future-Proof?

Advancements in technology, coupled with shifts in consumer trends, can threaten a brand’s sustainability. The future is inevitable. However, there are ways to embrace the changes that accompany it. Keep reading to find out how to make a brand future-proof. 

Be relevant.

An audience analysis is an examination of a brand’s consumers. A thorough analysis will consider the age, race, gender, class status, and location of a brand’s audience. By gathering this information, your brand can assess the likes and dislikes of its audience. This will help it deliver products and/or services that are relevant to its consumers

A brand should frequently conduct an audience analysis to align with changes in consumer trends. This can help a brand withstand the test of time. 

Be unique. 

Make your brand future-proof by defining what sets it apart from other brands.

Your brand may offer the same products and/or services as other brands. It is essential to create and identify the je ne sais quoi that distinguishes your brand from others. Your brand’s unique quality should consider of its audiences. A unique identity can spark consumer interest, increase consumer commitment, and drive employee motivation.

Be consistent. 

A brand is more than just a name and logo. A brand is an identity. Your brand’s identity must be consistent to leave a long-lasting impression. 

What does your brand look like? Visual identity refers to the visual elements that define a brand. For instance, the color, shape, form, and font make up your brand’s visual identity. 

What is your brand’s voice? Consider how you want your brand to be perceived. Then, make that voice heard across all channels (social media content, website, interactions with customers, etc.)

Every service, caption, visual, and email should communicate your brand’s identity. Consistency helps build consumer commitment to a brand. Once consumers commit to a brand, it must meet consumer expectations to maintain long-lasting relationships. 

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

Unfortunatley, success doesn’t make your brand invincible. A brand that is successful today can easily weaken overnight.

Your brand’s presence and performance promote its longevity. However, it can be difficult for a brand to maintain a relevant, unique, and consistent presence without assistance. This is where we come in. Schedule a consultation with PivotPath today. Our team of innovative creators can help you ensure that your brand withstands the test of time.

A Guide to Spring Marketing

When developing a spring marketing plan, you may notice that there is not a lot going on during this time of the year. With the passing of several major winter holidays and events, it may seem difficult to create clever and relevant marketing strategies for the spring. But, do not fear, this is where we come in! PivotPath is here to provide you with a detailed guide to marketing during the spring. Continue reading to uncover helpful tips and strategies when marketing this season.

Pick a relevant spring theme for your marketing campaign:

Springtime is associated with many things: growth, renewal, blooming flowers, spring cleaning, longer days, and rain. So, capitalize off of these associations, and make your marketing campaign spring-themed. Using a spring theme can help give direction to your content, and create a more cohesive and appealing campaign. For example, a non-profit food bank that is focusing on the theme of “spring cleaning” could have content that looks like this:

“Jump into spring cleaning by cleaning out your pantry! And when your pantry is organized and cleaned out, give back to your community by donating the food to us!”

Using spring colors, fonts, and photos will also help to create a cohesive marketing campaign. Bright, pastel colors like pinks, yellows, greens, and teals, are very popular in the spring! Use these colors along with floral graphics to create eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing content.

Incorporate contests/giveaways in your campaign:

Many businesses see spring as a lull in their marketing plan, but one way to rejuvenate a marketing plan is to incorporate contests and giveaways. Contests and giveaways, which are typically run on social media, can be a great way to engage and grow your audience.

A contest or giveaway usually incorporates rules, qualifications, and a prize/reward. Rules outline exactly what the viewer must do to enter. Including rules such as “tag a friend,” “comment and tag a friend,” or “share this post” help expand your brand’s reach and audience. Other rules like “follow our page” and “like this post” will boost your brand’s following and engagement. Most importantly, choose rules and qualifications that are the best for your business and the goals you hope to achieve.

When choosing a prize or reward, it is important to choose one that is desirable and relevant. Your prize should always reflect the effort required to win it. For example, if you ask viewers to fill out a long survey, enter personal information, and follow your social media accounts, you must choose a high-value prize to incentivize people to put in the effort. The prize or reward should also be relevant to your business. This will encourage continued interaction with your business and your products/services.

Research unique national or international holidays:

Spring can seem spiritless when compared to the busy winter holiday season. Use this opportunity to give your audience a reason to celebrate! Amidst the better known holidays in spring:

St. Patrick’s Day: March 17th
April Fools Day: April 1st
Easter: April 4th
Earth Day: April 22nd
Cinco de Mayo: May 5th
Mother’s Day: May 9th
Memorial Day: May 31st

…there are many unique holidays that your business can also mention when marketing! Conduct research on national or international holidays for each month, and choose which holidays are most applicable to your business. For example, here are some unique holidays in March:

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day: March 1st
I Want You to be Happy Day: March 3rd
Employee Appreciation Day: March 5th
National Frozen Food Day: March 6th
International (Working) Women’s Day: March 8th
International Day of Awesomeness: March 10th
Plant a Flower Day: March 12th
National Pi Day: March 14th
Everything You Do is Right Day: March 16th
Awkward Moments Day: March 18th
International Day of Happiness: March 20th
National Goof Off Day: March 22nd
National Puppy Day: March 23rd
Make Up Your Own Holiday Day: March 26th
Something on a Stick Day: March 28th
National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day: March 29th

Your business can incorporate these holidays when crafting content, planning promotions, and creating contests. Implementing unique holidays into your marketing strategy will help you stand out, create excitement and celebration, and engage your audience.

Focus on your community and give back:

Because springtime is seen as a time for growth and renewal, many people associate the season with community events and giving back. When looking for marking opportunities, search on community groups and pages to get your business involved, visible, and to give back to your community.

Getting involved in community events can offer your brand an opportunity to interact directly with potential customers and heighten your brand awareness. Set up tables full of relevant swag, like branded fans on a hot day, to encourage people to get to know you, your business, and your products/services.

Another marketing strategy to increase visibility in your community is to give back. Consider devoting a day for your business to volunteer at a local charity. This will benefit your community and benefit your business by making your brand more recognizable and positively received.

When preparing for your spring marking plan, do not hesitate to reach out for help. PivotPath offers a wide range of services to help your business spring into the season. Contact us for a consultation today!

Using Instagram/Facebook/LinkedIn as Marketing Tools

A brand’s social media presence influences 73% of those that engage with the brand. When used efficiently, social media platforms are proven to be effective marketing tools. However, many brands misinterpret their functions, which often results in ineffective marketing.

You don’t always need an account on every social media platform. In fact, this can produce adverse effects. When using Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn for marketing purposes, it’s important to understand that each platform delivers information in a unique way. Here are some insights on how to effectively optimize these social media platforms as marketing tools for your brand.

Instagram is an image-driven platform.

Instagram’s character limit is relatively large, but that doesn’t mean that your text should be. To maximize Instagram as a marketing tool, limit your brand’s bio and captions to two sentences. Including a call of action in your text will prompt your audience to participate in authentic engagement. Hashtags are also a great way to encourage audience participation while simultaneously increasing your brand’s visibility.  

Visual elements are meant to replace text. Use Instagram’s function as an image-driven platform to complement the message you aim to communicate with your post. Images and text should be clear, compelling, and consistent with your brand’s image.   

Instagram also has a story feature that allows your brand to post content that is visible to viewers for 24 hours. Stories offer the ability to directly engage with your audience through question forums, polls, and more. Instagram stories are a great way to enable audience participation and further your brand’s engagement. 

Instagram Reels is Instagram’s newest feature and closely resembles the social media platform TikTok. Its algorithm is currently driving more traffic than any other Instagram feature. Instagram Reels is helpful for those looking to increase brand visibility.

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world.

Facebook has more users than any other social media platform. This poses both an opportunity and a threat: Your brand’s range of communication is highest on Facebook, but this places a great deal of power in your audience’s hands. 

Due to the platform’s considerable audience, it’s difficult to get traffic and engagement without paid Facebook advertising. With paid social, you will expand your reach and impressions while targeting specific audiences to ensure you attract those you seek to engage with the most. Bear in mind that the process to create Facebook Ads changes periodically, so be sure to review the guidelines within the Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook allows its users to post text, images, and videos. When utilizing such a wide range of features, it’s crucial to understand that the text of a Facebook post shapes the success of its visual elements. Keep your text brief and informational. Consider the who, what, when, where, and why of your message. An unclear text will confuse your audience and may cause them to deter.

Facebook was the first social media platform to introduce the “like” function. The platform has since developed by offering additional reactions to posts. This tool is especially useful when assessing your audience’s likes, dislikes, beliefs, and values. Use this information to your advantage when crafting future posts. The share feature allows users to share posts with their Facebook friends, which offers a promising avenue for increasing your brand’s visibility.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

LinkedIn operates as a professional social network. It allows users to disseminate and engage with information that advances their professional prospects. LinkedIn remains an invaluable platform for increasing brand awareness and establishing relationships with businesses and consumers alike. 

LinkedIn’s professional nature requires careful attention to credibility and expertise. Therefore, your brand’s content must evoke professionalism. This is best achieved through using both visual and textual elements together. Your text should be concise yet informative and grammatical to complement clean and compelling visuals.

The use of blog posts and articles on LinkedIn allows for even greater use of the platform in that users can highlight their expertise while increasing their reach. Make sure your content illustrates your brand’s capabilities to expand your audience, strengthen your brand’s identity, and encourage consumer and business partnerships.

Maximize your brand’s potential.

Social media has changed the way we operate both personally and professionally by providing individuals and institutions with the ability to communicate to large audiences.

When using social media platforms as marketing tools, it’s crucial to acknowledge that your content is a representation of your brand. Through understanding the functions of each platform, you can help your brand nurture audience relationships, maximize its reach, and achieve its goals. Contact PivotPath’s team of innovative creatives to help your brand maximize its potential.

Not Every Social Media Platform is Needed to Promote Your Brand

Social media is a large part of everyday life, even more so now that COVID-19 has taken away the ability to connect in person. People are beginning to rely on social media platforms to make meaningful and impactful connections.

This can be intimidating for businesses. Promoting a brand on social media is difficult enough, but relying on social media platforms for all communication with your audience is a new challenge. Many businesses are scrambling with their social media strategies, creating accounts on any and every social media platform possible. Though this may seem like a reasonable option, branding on every social media platform can be ineffective, disingenuous, and a waste of time. 

Here, we outline why you do not need every social media platform to promote your brand and ways you can effectively use social media to make meaningful connections for your business. 

Your audience is not on every platform:

Not many people have an account on every social media platform, so why should your business? Your target audience is a specific group of people. They have unique characteristics and traits, and each social media platform attracts distinct groups of people.

Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all popular platforms, but each is used for a different purpose. Most of Instagram’s users are female and between the ages of 13 and 28. In contrast, the majority of Facebook users are above 30 years old. LinkedIn users range in age, but use the platform for work and business related purposes. 

The data collected on each social media platform will help your business understand where to connect with your audience. Whether your business wants to build connections with other businesses, community members, fitness junkies, gamers, etc., it is important to find which platform(s) they are primarily on. This way, you can meet your audience on the platform they use to further enhance your brand awareness and engagement. 

You do not have the time to devote to every platform:

Creating content and a social media plan takes time and organization. Your business is working hard to cover all your bases. But, when you try to cover every social media platform, your work can become sloppy and ineffective.

Without meaningful content, your audience could perceive your communication as disingenuous and calculated. This is not how you want audiences to perceive your brand. If you are going to be spending the time creating content, campaigns, and promotions, don’t you want them to be meaningful and impactful?

Always prioritize quality over quantity on social media. To do this, you need to allocate your time to the most important platforms for your audience. This way, you can spend your time creating purposeful and engaging content that will create a brand image that is heartfelt, personable, and authentic.

How to make a meaningful social media strategy without every platform:

  1. Evaluate and research your target audience– Ask yourself, who are you trying to reach? Where is your audience spending their time while online? What kind of content does your audience seem to enjoy? Does your audience even have social media? Thoroughly research your audience and their behavior. This will help you to alter your social media strategy to include the most effective kinds of content to post on the most applicable platforms.
  2. Focus your time on key platforms– After choosing which platforms are most effective for your business, focus your time on building quality profiles and accounts. Because you have less platforms to work on, you can spend more time constructing unique and substantial content. If your business is large enough, consider creating multiple specialized accounts on the same platform. This will allow you to hyper-focus on each group within your audience to create personalized content that is more relatable and powerful.
  3. Concentrate on building connections– Your business should be creating connections and relationships, not just partnerships or associations. A focused social media plan will offer the ability to create a marketing strategy that is sincere, personable, and authentic. Whether that be by conveying similar interests, interacting with customers, or using relatable humor, audiences are more likely to interact with a brand they feel personally connected to.
  4. Do not hesitate to reach out for help– Above all, do not hesitate to ask for help! Promoting your brand can be a difficult, meticulous process. Use resources that are available to you, like PivotPath, and contact us for a consultation. Our marketing focuses on building connections and relationships. We will be sure to help your business create a brand strategy that is meaningful and impactful!