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Communications that capture your audience

You need a full digital communications package. By researching and listening carefully, we create and deliver a strategy that gets your message to the people who need to hear it.

Project type: digital communications

Project links: minouw-project.eu | twitter: @minouw2015

The EU-funded MINOUW Project aimed to reduce unwanted catches and discarding of fish in European fisheries. It brought together over 15 different maritime science institutes and bodies from across Europe, involving scientists, fishers, NGOs and policymakers.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) brought us in to design and deliver a comprehensive digital communications package. We built a strong working partnership with the MINOUW team, developing a high impact strategy, messaging and communications products. 

Our work helped MINOUW gain recognition as a highly successful example of an EU-funded marine science project: highly praised by the EU Commission, and winning a number of awards for its work. 

“At WWF we often work on projects about difficult subjects, but the MINOUW project was one of the most technical we had come across. Smith&Brown were able to really dig into the work and were not afraid to become specialists in the subject in order to communicate the issues better. They have an incredible capacity to transform very complicated issues into enjoyable and engaging content.”
WWF logo
Anne Rémy
Director of Communications, WWF Med
Our approach: listen and learn

We began by immersing ourselves in the issues: the politics, practicalities and challenges of fishing regulation in the EU; the innovative fishing techniques being tested. And we listened closely to the MINOUW team. They knew the project inside out, who their audiences were, and exactly what they wanted to tell them. Our job was to bring that information out. 

This research helped us build an excellent working relationship with the team, which was critical to the project’s success. We could ask the right questions, and the project team were more disposed to listen to our ideas and advice – and to talk openly about the challenges.

Photo: Fishers discuss the project with the MINOUW team
A cooperative project, with fishers speaking up

These conversations proved critical to establishing clear communications goals and target audiences. They also brought out two themes unique to the project, which we used to develop strong, consistent key messages for use across all channels.

First, the MINOUW project used a unique cooperative approach, bringing fishers, researchers, NGOs and policymakers together on an equal footing. 

Second, fishers’ voices were central to the story. They were already at the heart of the project itself, collaborating with scientists to develop more selective fishing methods. And their support would be key to other fishers taking new methods up. Yet their voices were often absent from conversations about how to effectively develop and implement new regulations.

“We needed effective communications for a complex project targeting both high-level policymakers and working fishermen. Smith&Brown understood our needs and developed effective strategies. They were very good at understanding the influencers and audiences, how to reach them and engage with them. We appreciated that they went the extra mile - going above and beyond what a normal agency would produce.”
WWF logo
Anne Rémy
Director of Communcations, WWF Med
A full communications package

Brand new website

We designed, built and created content for a simple, user-friendly website that told the story of the project. It provided easily accessible information about the project’s goals and the work it was doing, alongside more detailed information for scientists and policymakers.

Twitter growth strategy

Our research had found that our target audiences were very active on Twitter. From the outset we employed careful targeting and a conversational approach alongside shareable and eye-catching content.

This didn’t just help grow our audience. It let us build relationships with industry bodies and fishers themselves, involving them in raising awareness about the MINOUW project. From live-tweeting during high level conferences to reaching out to other researchers and fishers with an interest in the issues MINOUW was addressing, Twitter was key to the success of our communications work. 

Video: in fishers’ own words

We had lots of interview footage with fishers, alongside the fishing techniques they were involved in testing. We worked with WWF to create compelling videos for web and social that let fishers themselves tell the story of the project, from new techniques to the challenges they faced.

“The choice to create short social videos around the subject really helped to communicate the idea brilliantly, simplifying incredibly technical and complicated information and making them not only informative, but enjoyable”
WWF logo
Anne Rémy
Director of Communications, WWF Med
Clear messaging cuts through

Our communications helped MINOUW be seen as a success story. The EU Commissioner for Fisheries singled out the project for praise, and it won several awards for its work. Its unique approach is now a blueprint for other projects, showing how to bridge the divide between policymakers, researchers, and fishers.

Key to our success was clear and sustained messaging, careful audience targeting, and identifying the best opportunities for getting our messages across. We aimed for quality, not quantity: while we doubled our social audience in the first few months, the real success was raising awareness and securing support from key actors in the sector. 

The MINOUW project was a real pleasure to work on. The expertise, dedication and passion of the diverse range of people working together for a more sustainable Mediterranean – and for a more participatory, scientific basis for policymaking – was inspiring. And we had never expected to learn so much about fish.

“A key challenge was to disseminate the results to the highest possible level within the European Fisheries Governance - EU Commission, Council, Parliament. Smith&Brown succeeded by constantly working with us, listening to the researchers, understanding our needs and making very complex topics accessible and engaging.”
Marco Costantini
Fisheries Manager, WWF Med

"To reach national and EU policy makers was a key goal for our project because they have the power to actually implement the technological solutions trialled in our scientific research. The communication products created by Smith&Brown helped us reach top-level policy makers such as the Director General of Fisheries in Brussels: we were the only scientific project he mentioned in his opening address to the 2018 FishForum"

Francesc Maynou,  MINOUW project lead, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)