Over the past few weeks, my colleagues have started sharing what their teams are thinking and doing in response to the climate emergency. We’ve heard from the service design team and delivery managers, with more on the way over the coming weeks.
Something we’ve admittedly not been great at is sharing what we’re doing internally as a company. There are those working on projects with clients and partners, and those who aren’t. Those whose work and stories we share on this blog, and then everything behind the scenes.
We recognise the importance of sharing both sides. As Ben mentioned, our GRETA group will be sharing soon about some of the more day-to-day changes we’re looking at making. But today, I’m here to talk about Comms & Marketing, something else we’ve not spoken much about and something straddling that very line between the internal and external.
It’s about the stories
The Comms & Marketing team helps tell the FutureGov story, so that everyone, internally and externally, understands who we are, what we do and what we care about. We lead a dual life, thinking in the short term and long term simultaneously. Who are the ambitious changemakers right now making change happen? And how do we shift the industry to think the way we’re thinking to help build the next wave of changemakers?
It’s this wedding between the immediate and the future that I feel makes it easy for us to have conversations about the climate emergency. Something we need to make immediate changes for while thinking about the long term impact of those choices. Maybe not easy to find the solutions or changes, but we’re predisposed to thinking in this way.
How do we do this? Well to start, we pitch the idea of sharing climate week notes on our blog.
To be fair, pretty sure this was someone else’s brilliant idea. But had we not taken the company through a comms change programme over the last two years, we wouldn’t have reached this place where my colleagues are kicking down my door to get their stories on our blog. Which is a pretty amazing thing.
These week notes immediately get each team sharing what they’ve been thinking and learning, helping the company stay accountable and be advocates for better ways of doing things. We support each of these teams to create succinct, compelling content that’s interesting and helpful to you, our readers.
We seek opportunities for our team to speak about our climate work and we hold the door open for incredible, impassioned people to start entire communities for change. We added a climate section to our weekly newsletter, Statecraft, so everything the team shares and talks about on Slack is shared with our network. And we seek out stories from our work with our partners, thinking beyond project updates and case studies to find the interesting, emotional human experiences.
All of this, because communicating everything FutureGov does isn’t only the job of two girls squirrelled away in an office (or opposite ends of the country at the moment). It’s the responsibility of every person in our company to care about and seek out the stories that surround us every day.
And most recently, we supported the company in launching our new mission: organising for change. Something unlike anything FutureGov has done before, with this mission we openly and firmly state our intentions in the internet and climate era. This mission will challenge us for months and years to come, I have no doubt, but it will also guide us and ground us, giving us a clear focus and alignment to go out into the world and continue helping make incredible things happen.
In these ways, making sure that everyone internally and externally understands who we are, what we do and what we care about.
Quick wins and practical things
In so many ways, I’m in a fortunate position. Managing a small team with clear objectives, we’re able to make immediate changes with immediate, if small, impacts on the world.
How can we change our swag to be more eco-friendly? Forget the Post-its and a poster board calendar no one looks at (in the office we aren’t using), we plan everything digitally. Some areas are more complicated, but I’m surrounded by intelligent people who can help us understand things like the emissions of our online marketing platforms.
To start, everything we do gets the perpetual question: does it feel like FutureGov? Every event, every flyer, every tweet. Not to say we always get it right, but this starting question puts us in a great position to be intentional with our choices.
We’re not big swag people. And maybe that’s more to say, I’m not a big swag person. But being responsible for a portion of the company budget means I can ensure we’re intentional with the things we purchase.
I say that surrounded by branding geniuses and a near-constant conversation about the awesome things we could slap a logo on. But I’m also a firm believer in reducing waste. I want our materials to not just be useful, but invaluable.
An easy starter is our beloved stickers. While long-lasting and pretty, they were made of vinyl and terrible for the environment.
Then we found Avery and their recycled brown kraft paper stickers: biodegradable, vegan and made from 100% recycled waste paper and recyclable. Believe it or not, those two things are not mutually exclusive.
Physical events are on hold, but we have to think about the future. There’s so much we can learn from the virtual events people in our sector are quickly pulling together right now, like TICTeC running their annual event remotely while still facilitating over 250 attendees from over 30 different countries. Wow. But also, what are the things happening beyond our sector that we can learn from? Things like Massive Attack working with Culture Liverpool to develop a large scale, super-low carbon emissions live show.
We already insisted on the events we hosted being easily accessible by public transport. And thanks to some quick thinking at our largest event last year, held in Hackney, we donated the remaining food to a local food bank.
This year, I haven’t joined a single event conversation without mentioning vegan, sustainably sourced food or energy-efficient buildings.
Yet unfortunately, I’m surprised that often, I’m still the only one in the room asking these questions.
Which is ultimately to say:
It’s not just what you do, but how you share it that creates change.
Asking the questions, sharing the stories — that is how we gain momentum, change hearts and minds and make real, impactful change happen.
Because if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.
What we haven’t figured out pin badges yet. If you’ve have found eco-friendly pin badges, or want to talk about anything else climate, comms or marketing, please get in touch.
Comms, marketing and the climate: it’s about more than swag was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.