"How bold and open of you to invite stakeholders to share sterotypes! You inspired us to do the same!"
"Can you give us the contacts of your cartoonist?"
These were some of the enthusiastic reactions received by Madalina Corciu, project communications coordinator of WWF DCP Romania, after having presented one of the communication activities in Transgreen at the Communication training for DTP projects - July 19th, Split, Croatia (event details are presented at this link).
The Transgreen activity was presented to DTP-financed project communicators as a best practice for integrating stakeholder engagement with communication work, for approaching different perspectives with humor and bringing an original touch to project visuals. Mrs. Corciu told the story of the exercise done by Transgreen stakeholders at the Kick-off event, where they could describe the stereotypes they had about each other, and cartoonist Sibylle Vogel humorously captured them in illustrations dedicated to each field of work: the way the Transport sector sees Environmental NGOs, the way Research institutions see Environmental authorities etc The cartoons helped paint a candid picture of the perceptions before the project and could become the starting point for conversations on how to improve the cooperation among stakeholders. The cartoons would be developed into a variety of comms materials that would accompany Transgreen team at international events, spreading smiles and honest conversations.
The presentation developed together with the project communication coordinator went along these general lines:
The challenge? Bringing diverse (and sometimes diverging) stakeholders at the same table and get them to collaborate and work together, building on honesty.
The solution? Humor
How did we do it? Assessing baseline perceptions during the kick-off meeting with cartoons
What happened next? Capitalizing the outcomes of this exercise for communication purpose. Exhibitions, post cards, even Christmas cards
Main communication take-aways
- Good example of integration between technical activities and comms activities
- Challenges become opportunities
- It is ok to think beyond the Visual Identity Manual
- Collaborate with a gifted artist