Public Relations and Branding in Environmental Education Programs: Strategies for a Successful Campaign


Jan. 25, 2007


Hamilton, DK

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Galveston Bay Estuary Program


This proposal demonstrates how a strategic environmental public relations campaign can successfully incorporate branding strategies to improve program effectiveness and awareness. The Harris County Watershed Protection Group (WPG) Communications and Public Involvement Program will be used as a model to illustrate this premise. The idea is to show how the WPG Communications and Public Involvement Program successfully implements branding strategies into the overall comprehensive program that includes tag lines, such as "Flows to Galveston Bay". The following methods were used during this strategic process: 1) formal and informal market research; 2) defining an effective logo, slogan, and tagline; 3) proper media tools, i.e. newspaper, billboard, TV, etc.; 4) technology, all within a limited budget and with limited resources. It is possible that brands can help achieve campaign goals when they are strategically planned and consistently implemented through a process that involves formative research in creating and managing brand identity, positioning, and public awareness. When branding strategies are successfully included in environmental campaigns, such as with storm water quality, more members of the target audience are able to recognize and become familiar with local water quality related issues. Due to this strategic process we found that the number of speaker requests for storm water quality averaged a 20% increase over the last three years. In addition, the number of requests to participate in Harris County's Storm Water Inlet Marking (SWIM) Program doubled since implementing the program in 2004. There are over 20,000 SWIM markers placed throughout Harris County that reads "No Dumping, Flows to Galveston Bay". This shows that Harris County's public and media relations upstream is affecting change in people and making them more aware of water quality issues downstream; specifically Galveston Bay. This presentation will contribute to the body of knowledge about public and media relations excellence and environmental campaign program effectiveness by analyzing Harris County's WPG Communications and Public Involvement Program. Branding has traditionally been associated with commercial products and services; however, communication practitioners in the environmental field are beginning to realize that branding principles are also relevant to people, places, ideas, and messages by providing a focus with which people can readily identify.




branding strategies, communications, environmental education, marketing