Strategic Energy Action Plan

Action Area 2: Initiate A Citywide Communication Campaign Towards A Low Carbon Future

The success of the SEAP is dependent upon clear promotion and communication of the SEAP and its central focus for resilience work across the City. The website will serve as a point for sharing and finding information relevant to sustainability and resiliency efforts in Charlotte. There are different stages required to form and maintain this campaign. The main effort will need to be developed by the City with the anticipation that ultimately, the campaign will be taken up and added to by the community.

Task 1: Form a Branding Team in FY20

To encourage the wider community to reduce their CO2e emissions, it is critical to actively engage them. Moreover, it is important that Charlotte can communicate to the world that it is a sustainable and resilient city with an eye on the future. This requires a branding campaign that can grow with it.

Step 1: Identify team

The team needs to be representative of the larger community, non-profit, and business interests. This team will comprise a chair from CREDIT and include cross-sector representatives that represent the City, community, arts and science, and hospitality and tourism industries.

Step 2: Set up organizational mechanisms for branding team and formalize purpose

It is recommended that the branding team is structured and assigned clear roles and responsibilities. There will be many organizations and individuals involved so having a clear, common understanding is important to the smooth running of the campaign. This will help to manage expectations.

Step 3: Establish list of initiatives and engagement

Create an interactive and informative SEAP website. Together with video releases and updates, promote the ‘5 Steps to Zero Carbon’ diagram and the ‘Charlotte Stakeholder Engagement’ tool, to show how organizations and individuals can get involved. In order to encourage ongoing sign-up to the SEAP, it is recommended that the SEAP website be a source for training materials, guides to best practices, guidance on how to reduce personal emissions, and companies that specialize in low carbon technologies, and be incorporated into Charlotte travel guides. The SEAP also highlights specific opportunities for engagement and explains issues of concern and priority actions. The City will host a dashboard for emissions data that will highlight the progress being made in achieving the emissions targets.

Step 4: Agree on communication performance metrics

There are different performance metrics in this space. These include Charlotte, the State, the wider US, and international audiences. The intended audience should be considered when using topic specific language to promote Charlotte as an aspiring world leader in this space.

Task 2: Create a Striking Visual for Zero Carbon Buildings and Vehicles in FY20

Charlotte is known as the Queen City, and this branding campaign needs to sit under that. To maximize visibility and impact, the campaign will need to be deployed by 2020 and focus on vehicles and buildings.

Step 1: Utilize the various groups (internal, stakeholder, and external advisory) to provide feedback

The role of the various stakeholders is significant within this Action Area. The criteria may include a mascot, a logo, and/or a color scheme for building entrances. The idea is to give an identity that residents and visitors can link to the low carbon, resilient future.

Step 2: Launch a citywide competition for schools and colleges to design the branding package

The purpose of this is to bring wider attention and focus to the work of the SEAP and CREDIT. By utilizing local talent, it is a great way to educate and engage a new group of stakeholders.

Task 3: Finalize Full Website Development in FY20

The website and other forms of electronic outreach require an individual within the CREDIT team to take a leadership role in driving the development and completion of website content. The CREDIT team member should work with the community to provide feedback and ways to better incorporate into community efforts.

Step 1: Encourage local resources, like university students, to collaboratively develop promotional films and campaigns

Developing content and keeping it updated is the biggest challenge. Ensuring the website is active will add value to the SEAP implementation and will guarantee it is used as a resource.

Step 2: Encourage core content

It is recommended that certain aspects are included, such as Charlotte’s sustainability and resilience history. This could sit alongside performance metrics such as the number of buildings and vehicles that are zero carbon.

Step 3: Include carbon calculators and educational resources

One of the best forms of communication is storytelling, and therefore, stories of successful low carbon approaches in Charlotte could be promoted on the website. Carbon calculators for individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) could be incorporated onto the site, utilizing existing widgets.