Perspectives

Perspectives on communications management in a socially-connected world

Integrated media biofuels public education campaign showcased

A powerful, integrated media, public education campaign I led that cost-effectively reached more than 80% of North Carolina has received a write-up by the NC Department of Commerce.  It's being held up as a shining example of a ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment) energy project.  The biofuels education project was accomplished on a relatively tight budget and ran for a year.  At the time, I was the Communications Director of the Biofuels Center and I was responsible for concept, budget development and management, and implementation of the campaign. One example is embedded below.

It was launched in the Green NC tent at the 2010 State Fair. The fair attracts about a million people over a 10 day period.  The campaign included a dedicated website about biofuels answering the three main questions asked by the public - what are biofuels; where can I get biofuels; and, can my vehicle run on biofuels?  In the Green NC tent, we gave people the opportunity


to show their support for home-grown biofuels by starring in their own green-screen video which we edited on site, uploaded to Youtube and embedded in the website.  A Facebook page and twitter feed were also created to share information about the videos and to highlight fun and interesting videos.  By the end of the 10 days, more than 500 video endorsements had been shot and posted.  Those provided the basis for a traditional TV PSA campaign that was scheduled to run during March Madness and with a promotional piece done in conjunction with NC-based Novozymes, by the end of the short run, the Facebook page had attracted more than 2,000 fans.  Over the course of the next  eight months, working with a freelancer, the fanbase grew to almost 2,500.

The campaign is an excellent example of how the public, digital video, social media, traditional media, and informational content can be woven together effectively for high awareness about subject.  Integrated Media Strategies is doing similar projects for small businesses with brand and market development.

Read more about the project at the NC Department of Commerce.

 

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Leaving a biofuels startup, now mature

About 1,500 people I know received an email about my planned departure from the Biofuels Center at the end of June.  Four and a half years ago, I helped start up the organization.  Earlier this year, I led the search for my replacement and provided transition support and change management assistance to the communications team and the Center.  Since its startup, the Center has grown to maturity and strategic communications efforts have resulted in its being widely seen as a credible, technical and economic development agency for biofuels globally.  For those who haven't subscribed to my news email list, it follows below. 

Biofuels Center website header

Norman Smit to Leave Biofuels Center

Oxford, N.C. - 26 June 012.  At the beginning of July, I will have left the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to devote myself fully to yet another startup; this time, my own communications company.

It seems just a short while ago that I joined five new colleagues for the first meeting of senior staff to start up the Biofuels Center, but four and a half years have passed.  Since then,

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Testing cron jobs on Godaddy

A key element of getting this blog to work is setting a cron job.  It's a subroutine on the server that will send a message to people subscribed to the blog that there's been a new posting.  So far, it's set up to send messages just to me.  About 18 months ago, I had a run in with Godaddy's cron job setting service.  Some of these server cron job setups are very straightforward, but my experience at that time was torrid. After multiple failure messages in my inbox, I turned it off and used another work around, so I wasn't looking forward to setting up a cron job for my blog.  The instructions weren't bad and Godaddy has improved their interface and after about 15 minutes and only a few failures, I got it set up successfully. 

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