2012-01-19 10:49:41Marketing Ideas
John Cook


This thread is for general discussions of how to market TCP (began in this earlier thread) and make as great an impact as possible. Various surveys find that a disturbing proportion of the public don't think scientists agree about global warming so I suggest our goal be to establish "strengthening consensus" as a term in the general public consciousness (that goal can be a topic for discussion if required).

To achieve this goal, we mustn't fall into the trap of spending too much time on analysis and too little time on promotion. As we do the analysis, would be good to have the marketing plan percolating along as well. So a few ideas floating around:

  • Press releases: Talked to Ove about this yesterday, the Global Change Institute have a communications dept (well, two people) and will issue press releases to Australian media when this comes out. No plan yet for US media.
  • Mainstream Media: This is the key if we want to achieve public consciousness. MSM is an opaque wall to me so ideas welcome. I suspect this will involve developing time lines, building momentum for the idea and consulting with PR professionals like Jim Hoggan.
  • Climate Communicators: There needs to be a concerted effort (spearheaded by me) to get climate communicators using these results in their messaging. I've been hooking up with a lot of climate communicators over the last month and will be hooking up with more over the next few months so will be discussing these results with every climate communicator I can get hold of, including heavyweights like Susan Hassol and Richard Somerville, to discuss ways of amplifying this message.
    Also Ed Maibach is doing research on the most effective way to debunk the "no consensus" myth so I hope to contact him and hopefully include our results in his research. The more we can get climate communicators incorporating our results into their messages, the better. 
  • Blogosphere: The usual blogosphere networking. Note - Tim Lambert tried to do a similar crowd sourcing effort a few years ago but didn't succeed in generating enough support for the crowd sourcing - I'm confident we can get it done.
  • Climate Orgs: Also have been making connections with various climate organisations and occasionally talked about the possibility of collaboration so will use this project as a focal point as ways to work together. Have to think about this some more
  • Google: Coincidentally, started talking to someone who works at Google, specifically the data visualisation department. So I've been working with them on visualising the consensus data in sexy, interactive ways. This will be one of the X-factor elements of TCP - maybe they can even provide an embeddable version of the visualisation which blogs and websites can use.
  • Video: Peter Sinclair is keen to produce a YouTube video about the TCP results to publish on the Yale Forum on Climate Change.
  • Booklet similar to Guide and Debunking Handbook, explaining the results of the peer-reviewed paper in plain English with big shiny graphics (with translations, I suppose - they're a pain for me to convert but worthwhile doing).
  • Kindle/iBook version of Booklet (can you publish free books on Amazon?).
  • Embeddable widget: graphic showing the graph of strengthening consensus, updated each year, easily copy and pasteable into other blogs. I like this idea, can make TCP go viral and become ubiquitious on the climate blogosphere!

Other ideas very welcome.

Update - will continue to add to this list as more ideas come along.

2012-01-19 13:13:45One of the many - mass media top priority in my book
Brian Purdue


Copied from other thread

Media “professionals” must be part of organising and executing this if it is to be successful. One of the rules is “trust the experts” - so be guided by them.

The bigger the story the more coverage the mass media give it – that’s not hard to understand! So momentum needs to be build up prior to the release. One large group that could help with this is the network of climate action groups that are all linked by email.

The media take a lot of notice of these people because they are hard working non-radicals who interface with the public through renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. I don’t know the timing but they can be a source of public noise about consensus around time of release - letter to the editor etc. Maybe they are best brought in just after release – don’t know? The Greens will get involved and unfortunately this can be counterproductive in a public campaign.

This is mentioned now because takes time to organise – happy to do this in Australia.


2012-01-19 13:41:10also copied from other thread, in
Tom Smerling


in response to JC's response to my questions (on other thread)

re: audience   There's an old saying in political circles that "there is no such thing as the 'general public'" -- only population segments.   State of the art marketters, and political consultants, are constantly breaking the public down into finer and finer segments, then micro-targetting their message.     At a minimum, you could use the 6 America's 6 segments, but I bet you can do much better by getting the cross-tabs from Ed.    Steve Shneider's 2nd commandment:    Know thy audience!

Re: consensus -- I agree that the term is accurate and appropriate.    I'm just wondering whether it is effective with the specific audience segments you're trying to move.    Still not convinced on this.    Ed probably has clues.

re: messenger    At the risk of becoming pedantic, keep thinking early about the most effective messenger (depends, of course, on your audience).   Sometimes it pays to find somebody well-known, with centrist credentials to be an "advisor" on the study, and then be the "front man" for the release and press conference.    We really need a "Carl Sagan."    Richard Alley? 

2012-01-19 13:54:04
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Richard Alley is better than Carl Sagan.

But point taken.

2012-01-19 15:39:04
Glenn Tamblyn


But was Sagan more widely known than Alley is. I think not.

David Attenborough?

All you guys from the US. Who has the most recognition and cred across the US as a presenter of nature documentaries? Who does it for National Geographic. Who are the credible business poeple who might front this? Bill Gates? Richard Branson? Think BIG.

2012-01-19 15:49:56Keep the message alive...
Glenn Tamblyn


Having found 'channels' - there is some marketting speak for you - we need to keep them open. Rather than just a single release we need ways to keep feeding this out to those channels over and over. Can we find ways of releasing in stages. Announce the study & make a media event of it. Then release the results. Then update them regularly.

If the 'channels' can then be used to disseminate new AGW news as well it keeps them running. Really building a network. I'm not talking about the normal chatter of posts on the blogosphere. I'm thinking of the bigger stuff. The main one that qualified recently was BEST.

As an example of one that might surface and be big, consider a hypothetical study that links Meehl et al 2011 on hiatus periods in the models with ARGO data of sequestration of heat in the middle depths. Headline "Climate Scientists now know why the last decade hasn't warmed! Its warming somewhere else!"

What is lacking in all the networks of blogs, NGO's, action groups etc is the ability to really sing fromthe same song sheet. We all like the same type of music but we all tend to play separately. This is one of the appeals of a symphony orchestra (or a big brass band). The power of the performance. Most climate communication is more like lots of little string quartet's.

2012-01-19 15:53:53Climate Orgs...
Glenn Tamblyn


These groups seem like a major target. Simply because they can add this 'channel' to what they are already doing with little effort. It has two benefits. Gets the message out, and also lets each org, no matter what size show how they are connected into something wider, thus amplifying each ones individual message and effectiveness. With a channel working that could then be a dissemination pathway for other informative material.

2012-01-19 16:30:00Releasing in stages
John Cook


The very nature of TCP means releasing in stages. Phase 1 paper + promotion, Phase 2 paper + promotion, launch Phase 3, regularly update results from Phase 3.

Gentle reminder with all the activity focused in the marketing thread - there will be nothing to market with no results and we need to discuss categorisation on the thread about Endorsements before I can start programming and we can start crowd sourcing the rating of papers.

2012-01-21 15:40:40
Brian Purdue


It can’t be stressed strongly enough the importance of getting the scientific consensus message translated “directly” to a political and social message.

Therefore other suggested direct actions:

Political Lobbying: Engage with lobbyists who directly interface with politicians so there is no misinterpretation through the political media process. Official launches of the final document could be organised by handing over a copy to – let’s aim high – Prime Ministers and Presidents! Email or post copies to all politicians and directly distribute copies to all Foreign Embassies and the UN. Renewable energy industry may be prepared to lobby politicians.

Religious Lobbying: Engage with and distribute copies to mainstream religions and others (a special bound copy for Cardinal Pell).

Unions and Social Welfare Lobbying: Engage with unions (ACTU etc) and social welfare groups and charities – they already support action on climate change.

This is why I have previously said a funding source would be required because this will not be cheap unless we can tap into an existing funding source. Please add any more you can think of.

2012-01-21 18:47:31
Glenn Tamblyn


Just a broad perspective here. All the advocacy in the world targetted at the 'power elite' will be unimportant because they are attuned to afar more powerful advocacy group. The General Public. Without moving them we don't move politicians, business etc. Many in big business accept AGW (although a few notable exceptions don't). But they won't move ahead of the pack. They will want to move on this, but only in concert with other businesses, governments etc. So they will make piecemeal efforts untill they are confidant that they are 'going with the flow'. Positive of this is that there is a powerhouse ready to be unleashed. Negative. They decide when to slip the leash.

What is the game changer? Not government. As always, they follow. The game changer is public sentiment. If the 'unwashed masses' (that's us by the way) change their view, Government will fall in behind as they always do - Wasn't it Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle who created a character, the leader of an alien race, called 'The Hindmost'? Business wants to move this way, generally, with the usual exceptions. But they won't lead either.

Public sentiment is all.

So, when marketting, ignore everything that is not focused on shifting public sentiment. And here we hit a problem with working with many advocacy groups. They are certain it is real, so they are now focussed on government, policy, economics etc. This is the fundamental flaw in many of the advocacy groups. Because they are convinced, they want to move onto advocating actions. What is sometimes called 'Action Bias'. When in reality, until the mass of the population are behind it, policy advocacy is ineffectual.

Move the people. Policy is a trivial consequence. Without the people, policy will always be trivial.

2012-01-21 19:58:47
Brian Purdue


The “general public” as a whole are apathetic and driven by self interest and that makes billions of different perspectives on the planet. We have to target and move large blocks of society – I listed a couple of the mayor ones but there are very many more.

Deniers and the fossil fuel industry have directly targeted the political process and have been very successful. Hopefully the consensus project will help reverse this political momentum but politicians have to first understand they have been duped by vested interests.

We have actual run out of time so the grassroots and the politicians now have to be moved similatiously. This is not impossible because climate change is imbedded in the public conscious and politicans know it.

The politicians are fully primed so target the consensus project directly at them and the public and keep your fingers crossed.   

2012-02-08 15:31:29Just had a quick chat with Peter Sinclair
John Cook


He's keen on the idea of doing a video about TCP to publish on the Yale Forum for Climate Change when the time is right so I'll feed him our results (when we have some results) and possible ideas for visuals.

2012-03-03 19:23:06Embeddable Widget
John Cook


Just had this idea on one of the other discussion threads so added it to the list above.

2012-03-04 06:43:01
Ari Jokimäki


I have to say that I find this planning of huge marketing strategies somewhat strange when we don't even have our results in and the research subject is not that revolutionary either (just summarizing existing research). I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't do this, but just that it seems a bit strange to me.

2012-03-04 06:48:51
John Cook


After Phase 1, Dana and I have a qualitative sense of what the result will be but not a specific quantitative answer. What I don't know is how our result will compare to the scientists' ratings. After rating many papers as neutral that I'm pretty sure are implicit endorsements, I have my guess at how the comparison will fare but you just don't know till you have the data.

Update: Note also that I'm considering this thread a placeholder for potential ideas but right now, the focus is on the rating then the analysis then whatever comes after. Of course in the fullness of time we will go where the data tells us rather than the other way around.

2012-03-06 07:15:11
Dana Nuccitelli

It's not revolutionary to us, but a majority of Americans don't even realize there's a consensus.  That's why it's critical to market these results as widely as possible.  The #1 obstruction to climate mitigation is the lack of public awareness of the consensus.  A vast majority of people trust scientists, and a majority of people don't realize there's a climate science consensus.  Remedying the latter will go a long way towards addressing the former.

Note that we might create a debunking gap here.  People think there's this big debate amongst climate scientists, and we're going to say there's a ~99% consensus.  We also have to make the point that the ~1% of 'skeptics' are being given a disproportionate amount of attention in the media.

Not a part of the paper of course, but in any blog posts and other media discussions of the paper.

2012-03-07 23:21:25
Ari Jokimäki


I don't think we can derive the percentage of consensus with our current methodology. We don't know how many papers relevant to the calculation are in neutral bin.