Calling Climate Change Agents

Amit Baria
5 min readMay 8, 2018

Embrace the thrash.

Perhaps your visualizing walking toward a violent interaction with arms wide open. No, by no means do I mean thrash in that sense.

Not really…

I’m referring to ‘mental thrashing’. It’s struggling through a difficult decision, a challenging project or trying something unknown.

But who willingly wants to struggle?

Counterintuitively, struggling can be a good thing. If you’re struggling, you are working through a challenge getting closer to success. If you’re not, you’ve either already succeeded or you’ve given up. It’s part of the process. The other side of struggle can be far beyond where you anticipated arriving prior to getting started.

Question is, are you committed to getting to the other side?

Top of the Funnel

Construct a PSA on climate change.

Climate change is as big and broad as an issue can get. While it effects every live being on the planet, narrowing down our focus to a very defined persona was the key element to effectively disseminating a message. A message, which historically has been so overwhelming, that it’s been easy to overlook as something that doesn’t affect us — close and now.

Getting there wasn’t easy.

Let’s Break it.

To construct, first we must deconstruct. We began by viewing several PSAs and effective advertisements around sensitive issues. Studying why we thought they were effective, what resonated with us and made us say ‘wow’.

Now, lets figure out why.

How was the topic reframed so that the approach wasn’t ineffectively status quo? In the spirit of ‘Steal Like an Artist’ we dug into and borrowed the thought processes behind the elements that activated an emotion within us to weave into our own messaging.

We built time constraints into the exercise, for instance a 30-minute self-orientation into climate change as the precursor to an exploratory dialogue. Breaking down the task into blocks motivated us to get to the crux of a decision quickly, for instance:

  1. Orientation — What’s climate change?
  2. Change — That was intense. What call to action do we want to induce?
  3. Target — Got it. Now, who will carry our movement?
  4. Connect — Hello? We’re talking to you.
  5. Steal — Ahem, we meant borrow. What works now that we can leverage?
  6. Create — Don’t toss it, share it.

Game On

Realizing so many issues were important, we came to agree that wellness and health mattered to all of us. Preventing disease mattered to us. Let’s go with that. One problem…

We forgot to account for #7. Thrashing.

(Perhaps this was a sub bullet of 2–4 above)

After stumbling to make a clear connection of disease to climate change via mass production of food we reluctantly abandoned the idea. Becoming comfortable with disposing of an idea was a struggle. Initially thought to be a sunk cost as we worked long and hard to develop it, it ended up becoming a pivotal moment of our process.

Narrowing our focus to mass cattle production allowed us to create a direct connection to climate change due to methane emissions. The connection became clearer, while still tying in combatting disease as a byproduct of reducing cattle production, amongst other positive outcomes.

Starting over was hard.

However, leaving the idea, taking time to come back to it with a fresh head and modifying one element of the mission (making it more specific) invited tremendous clarity and flow. This brought the change we wanted to make into full focus.

Now, how do we activate our desired change in others?

Which Emoji are you?

Leveraging this week’s activities, our team obsessively dove into the persona of the target we were attempting to reach. We exhaustively dug into her why.

Who is she?

What does she care about?

Why should she care about climate change?

What does she do now? How can we match her patterns, so she can make . an impact without dramatically changing her behavior.

What and how does she consume media and information?

This was hard and time consuming. With such a large critical issue, how can we narrow it down to a subset of people?

Aren’t we doing the cause a disservice?

Perhaps. Although being to broad may lead to missing the mark entirely. Distributing a message that doesn’t connect therefore doesn’t activate. This runs a greater risk of disservice.

As we humanized the issue, we discovered what mattered. In discovering what mattered and putting action within reach, we hopefully made the connection that triggers the desire to create change and mobilize, making the issue — close and now.

It all came back to truly getting to know the persona of our target and consistently tying her back to our mission each step of the way above. That her values were fully aligned with our mission, until uncovering a decision trigger that helps connect her to it with little friction by pattern matching.

Stem of the Funnel

All culminating to socially charged, college students and their food consumption habits, in particular beef products — burgers. We built succinct collateral to be pushed through social to draw them to our informational website.

And now #8 . Making it Better

I am very proud of my team in thrashing through this together. It made us all better thinkers for it and we relied so much on one another to open up our thought processes and build off one another to achieve our goal.

Iterating on this PSA, our team would continue to improve on the CTA and quantifying effectiveness. This process is continuous and dynamic. The world changes quickly as our strategy should in tandem.

Trust the Process.

Be married to it. Exhaustively develop it, iterate and fine tune it but always trust that you need experience the full run of it. Its challenging but if you’re willing to thrash through it, each stage will lead to progress.