Love and Emotion: Your Secret Weapon to Fostering Engagement and Building Community

Date / Time:
Tuesday, Oct 20 2:05pm to 3:10pm
Oak Tree
Track / Session:
Behavior Change / New Tools and Tactics to Strengthen Your Outreach

Introduction: Effective communication forms the foundation of a successful stormwater public education program. One way to measure effective communication is by its ability to persuade people to adopt new behaviors and lifestyles. The art of persuasion can take many forms. One of the most important techniques is to appeal to what people care about—in a language they understand. When you communicate with people in a positive, emotional style, they respond with enthusiasm, creating a two-way connection that can bring about behavior change.

Purpose: This talk discusses the importance of identifying and speaking to what matters to your target audience in order to inspire engagement and, ultimately, behavior change.

Main ideas: The presentation will highlight several successful public education campaigns designed by SGA that relied on emotional engagement and playful interaction to reach audiences and bring about behavior change.

Tools: This talk will provide practical steps on how to identify what is important to your target audience, craft a message that resonates with them and create tools that encourage interaction with your program. We will discuss the benefits of developing an engaged community and will address simple, cost-effective ways to sustain communication with them.

Audience engagement: Audience participation and insight will be solicited throughout the presentation. The talk will end with a Q&A that encourages the audience to address their specific program needs.

Primary Speaker:
Rachel Dowd, S. Groner Associates, Inc.
Rachel Dowd is strategic director at S. Groner Associates. She uses her experience as a former journalist and branding professional to craft integrated campaigns for clients such as the City of Los Angeles Stormwater Program, the County of Santa Barbara and Natural Resources Defense Council. Before joining SGA, Rachel worked as a writer, editor and creative content provider, helping individuals and brands develop a vibrant identity via digital marketing and social media platforms. In addition, she wrote branded copy for magazines and promoted brands in local and national media and ghost wrote a New York Times bestselling cookbook. Prior to that, Rachel was a magazine journalist, writing for national and regional publications, including Natural Health, the Los Angeles Times, Variety and Vegetarian Times and appearing as an expert in national and international outlets, such as the Oprah Winfrey Show and the BBC.