This summer project is certainly shaping up to be different to the last. While the last summer was spent in the bowels of libraries, pouring over studies, and zooming with social psychologists all over the world; I’m now managing a jam-packed inbox, consulting with videographers, producers and TV sales representatives.
But the similarities and input from my research have actually been revolutionary. Last year I was researching the psychology behind climate change communications, and now I’m getting to put those techniques into practice to address and rectify how infuriatingly divisive and aggressive the conversation around climate change has become in Regional Queensland.
From my research last year I found that Regional Queenslanders’ are driven by a significant attachment to place, by pride, and the pursuit of autonomy. They all have a highly dependent relationship to the land, as the resources it provides, be they material, agricultural, or cultural, sustain their existence and by extension the existence of their identity. The psychological evidence shows that if this regional identity can be mobilised, it can be used to encourage environmentally conscious behaviour. The data also shows that using local spokespeople is far more effective in promoting new ideas and facilitating change in communities. This information isn’t just interesting, it’s game-changing!
In the lead-up to the 2022 Federal election, I’ve therefore decided to produce a 60-second video campaign that will air on the WIN TV network and promote the need for climate action to over 300,000 Regional Queenslanders. I will be working with local farmers and miners, emphasize regional excellence and employ messages of hope, rather than fear.
In this process, I have faced two main challenges. The first (of course) is born of the pandemic. Due to continuing border restrictions, I am unable to travel to Australia and am therefore managing the video production from a distance. Fortunately, the advent and expansion of technology in the past year has made it easier to communicate with my videographer, spokespeople and the TV network I will be working with. However, to ensure that the output and footage are what I need, I have had to think laterally to produce an extensive brief for my team on the ground. This has included making a mock-up of the video, writing lists of interview questions, and working through every filming and logistical contingency plan.
The second (and again predictable) challenge I have encountered is to do with funding. It will cost around $7000 to air the campaign for a month if it is 60 seconds long and $3500 to air the campaign for a month if it is 30 seconds long. I also have to pay my videographers and editors which will cost around $3000. I had evaluated the pros and cons of showing the campaign on social media instead of TV which would significantly reduce the costs, however, ultimately I decided that I wanted the campaign to have the maximum impact possible, and was worthy of the investment. I have therefore been in contact with various philanthropic individuals and foundations, including the Laidlaw Foundation, and have received a lot of exciting feedback and expressions of interest.
I’m sure there are many more bridges that will need to be crossed and hoops for me to jump through but for now, I am just excited and grateful to be able to work on this every day and lead such a talented team even when its members are scattered around the globe.
I will keep you all posted on how it goes!