"Subject IOC Draft Information Strategy"
INTERGOVERNMENTAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION COMMISSION OCEANOGRAPHIQUE INTERGOUVERNEMENTALE COMISION OCEANOGRAFICA INTERGUBERNAMENTAL МЕЖПРАВИТЕЛЬСТВЕННАЯ ОКЕАНОГРАФИЧЕСКАЯ КОМИССИЯ UNESCO UNESCO - 1, rue Miollis - 75732 Paris Cedex 15 cable address: UNESCO Paris - telex: 204461 Paris - fax: (33) (0) 1 45 68 58 12 - contact phone: (33) (0) 1 45 68 39 76 E-mail: email@example.com IOC Circular Letter No. 2059 Paris, 28 January 2003 (Available in English, French, Spanish and Russian) To: Member States of IOC cc: The Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the Commission IOC focal points Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates to UNESCO of States Members of IOC Subject: IOC Draft Information Strategy Sir/Madam, At its 21st Session the IOC Assembly made the following statement and recommendation about improving the quality and quantity of information services available about the IOC and its programmes: (para 431) The Assembly stressed the need for high quality and user-oriented public awareness and promotion services and called for the development of an information strategy, noting especially the upcoming ‘World Summit on Sustainable Development’. The Assembly recommended that an intersessional working group should work on this matter, by email. The Assembly invited Member States to identify knowledgeable experts to participate in the discussions of the Group. In compliance of this decision the Secretariat prepared the attached document, which is intended to the next IOC 22nd Assembly. …/… Chairperson Vice-Chairpersons Prof. Su Jilan Dr. D.T. Pugh Dr. K. Radhakrishnan Second Institute of Oceanography Southampton Oceanography Centre Director, Indian National Centre for Ocean State Oceanic Administration Empress Dock Information Services (INCOIS) P. O. Box 1207 Southampton SO14 32H Dept. of Ocean Development Hangzhou UNITED KINGDOM Plot No. 3, Nandagiri Hills Layout Zhejiang 310012 Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad - 500 033 CHINA Dr S.S. Khodkin INDIA Deputy Head, Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring Executive Secretary Novovagankovsky St. 12 Dr. T. Olatunde Ajayi Dr. P. Bernal 123 242 Moscow Director, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission RUSSIAN FEDERATION & Marine Research UNESCO Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water 1, rue Miollis Vice-Admiral M. Leal Resources & Rural Development 75732 Paris Cedex 15 Director, Diretoria de Hidrografia e Navegação Wilmot Point Road, Victoria Island FRANCE Rua Barão de Jaceguay s/n P.M.B. 12729 Ponta da Armação Lagos 24048-900 Niterói, RJ NIGERIA BRAZIL –2– In the meantime, I would be pleased to receive by 28 February 2003, nominations from Member States of knowledgeable information/communication experts to contribute by e-mail to improve this Draft Information Strategy. Accept, Sir/Madam, the assurances of my highest consideration, [signed] Patricio Bernal Assistant Director-General, UNESCO Executive Secretary, IOC Enclosure: IOC-XXII/2 Annex - Draft Information Strategy Restricted Distribution IOC-XXII/2 Annex Paris, 29 January 2003 Original: English INTERGOVERNMENTAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION (of UNESCO) Twenty-second Session of the Assembly Paris, 24 June-4 July 2003 Agenda Item 4.7.3 DRAFT INFORMATION STRATEGY Analysis of IOC's Activities & Projects (from a User-Oriented Point of View) Focusing on Improving Public Awareness & Promotion of IOC's Activities & Projects IOC-XXII/2 Annex 1. INTRODUCTION 1 “The Oceans exert a profound influence on mankind and indeed upon all forms of life on Earth. The oceans are inexhaustible sources of water and heat, and control the climate of many parts of the world.” Roger Revelle, 1960 2 “The oceans are very important to us – they cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface. If the polar caps were to melt the sea level would rise…” NASA web page opening paragraph 3 If there is a good story to tell, and it is told well to the right audience, it will be understood. To tell its story, IOC uses an extensive selection of communication materials, providing information and data to diverse audiences, including scientists, educational and research institutions, policymakers/government, Member States, and the general public. The focus of this report only targets measures for improving communications to IOC’s non-scientific audience, in an effort to improve its public awareness. It does not cover a strategy for other audiences also presently served. As such, what is IOC saying today and how is it being said? Who is IOC reaching? What does IOC stand for? Is it telling a compelling story, or is its plan of action perceived as being obscured by non-understandable messages? 4 In his 1992 IOC address, the Honourable John A. Knauss, Head of the US Delegation, described Roger Revelle, one of the founding fathers of the IOC, as being able “to strip a very complex subject to its essence without trivializing it, having something to say to the expert as well as to the layman. He evoked the excitement of the present scientific studies and plans for the future. He held out hope of the extraordinary social and economic benefits that would result…” 5 In drafting this Information Strategy and determining the vision behind IOC, several interviews and thought-provoking discussions were conducted with its staff members. The questions were fundamental and direct: “What makes you proud to work at IOC?” “What are IOC’s goals?” “What makes IOC so unique?” These simple questions led to answers that reflected profound thought and analysis. The interviews were followed by a thorough survey of IOC’s projects and activities, as a member of a willing and interested audience with no formal scientific training might do it. Finally, the communication pieces were examined and evaluated – websites, brochures, newsletters, posters – the tools that tell the outside world ‘this is who IOC is and this is what IOC does.’ 6 This paper, therefore, is a general user’s analysis of IOC’s activities and projects from the perspective of its “public awareness” mission. 2. DEFINITIONS 7 Information: International information for teaching & rising questions. Strategy: Provides a foundation for the development of awareness & understanding. Users: Those who need to use the information and for what purpose. This includes: IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 2 • Administration (Internal IOC/UNESCO) • Commercial Sector • Policymakers • General public • Educators and students • Press • Resource Managers Information Strategic and policy-related concerns, identifying emerging trends and Strategy: issues and recommending strategies to capitalize on them politically and economically. 3. WHAT IS IOC? 8 On first impression IOC seems like an organization whose identity is buried in a mountain of agencies, acronyms, and joint programs. Its role in the world/oceanography/the UN/the scientific community is not immediately obvious and requires some investigation. 9 However, further research into its origins and purposes shows it has much to be proud of in what it represents. There is a story to tell here, one that is romantic, idealistic, that embraces the best qualities of human society and international cooperation, one that evokes a spirit of adventure and discovery. This story is not being told to anybody. 10 Formed in 1960 to facilitate the vast international cooperative programs envisaged for the exploration of the Indian Ocean, IOC’s creation reflects the aspirations of the world’s oceanographers. As Yves Treglos writes in “Why the Secretariat” it is like a catalyst in a grand chemical reaction, designed to make sure that global results are greater than those of mere individuals. IOC designs systems for scientific plans, proposes programs, advises governments and secures commitments, implements and reviews the processes, and upon completion shares the results with the international community. The aim is to increase human knowledge, and to protect our planet’s oceans. 11 This is the IOC that the general public should be made aware of. 4. A MISSION FOR THE 21st CENTURY 12 “To promote international cooperation and to coordinate programs in research, services, and capacity building, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decision-making process of its Member States” IOC Mission Statement 13 IOC’s goals need to be distilled into clear, understandable objectives, e.g., “to be a global leader in the advancement of oceanography, and to generate knowledge about the oceans by sharing research and scientific results effectively”. To show the general public why its goals are important it must demonstrate relevance, i.e., why its activities are important and why they should be of concern to society. To accomplish this, IOC must provide the widest possible distribution of information about its objectives, its results, and the relevance of its projects. IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 3 14 What is so unique about IOC’s skills, its resources and its expertise? By identifying and occupying a unique position in the international community, IOC can become more prominent and strengthen its reputation and public awareness. 15 IOC’s specific role in the international community should be explained in a language that is sure to resonate with the broadest possible audience. It should not be the language of complicated science, neither that of international diplomacy or legal affairs, nor intergovernmental jargon. In such a way IOC can develop its identity and message. From there it can conduct educational campaigns that people will immediately be able to brand as IOC, (like UNICEF’s hugely successful Oral Rehydration Therapy and Breastfeeding public awareness campaigns). The general public should then be invited to participate in some way in its educational campaigns. In other words, IOC needs to directly involve people in its mission as a way of gaining recognition. 16 Put it simply, in order to earn the public support it needs for its ideas, issues, and programs to succeed, IOC must: (a) look closely at its mission, (b) define it clearly in terms of a societal imperative, and (c) communicate why it is so distinctly equipped to perform the task. 17 When asked what made IOC unique and therefore what tasks it especially suited, staff members replied: • One Planet, One Ocean theme: if something happens in one part of the ocean, it’s going to affect another part, i.e., an educational mandate • To bring scientists together to work on world issues, to share research, and to train people in developing countries: improvement of management of world’s oceans • The establishment of a world ocean forecasting system (GOOS) to improve weather and climate forecasting to sponsored by all nations that could operate in no other place than an intergovernmental organization like IOC • Communications: providing a forum to inform the public of issues and discuss possible policies and agreements • IOC’s sole focus is the oceans and is therefore the UN’s focal point for unbiased ocean science, looking at the broader picture. 18 These ideas are clear and inspiring; each contains a societal imperative; all can be potentially communicated as “interesting science” to highlight IOC’s mission. 5. PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES 19 Given the context of a mission and need for societal relevance, some of IOC’s current projects are herewith reviewed as potential communications vehicles for public awareness. The standards used to assess each project’s suitability include: (a) asking the question ‘why should people care? (b) general appeal or “marketability” (c) how easy it would be not only to explain the mechanics and results of a project, but also to interpret the broader picture in a way that the user would feel both involved and informed. 20 Roger Revelle as Chairman of the Joint SCOR-IOC Committee on Climate Change and the Ocean, in 1979, did a superb job of analysing this. He called for the development of necessary programmes to monitor and perhaps to predict climate variability. He said: IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 4 “There are two important aspects of the world climate problem. [presentation of problem] One is statistics that is the average conditions and variance. And the second is the possibility of actually forecasting climate. [clear explanation/relevance] We cannot forecast it now; [the challenge] we may never be able to forecast it, but if we could, [the promise/mission] the results would be so valuable that the gamble is worth taking [excitement/involvement]…the possible role of the IOC in that programme represents the greatest challenge and the greatest responsibility that this body in my experience has ever had.” [vision/identity/appeal] 21 The following current projects could likewise capture the imagination and resonate the same appeal, if handled in Roger Revelle’s way: 1. The creation of the Harmful Algal Blooms Program – offering training as part of capacity building effort – national institutions have taken responsibility in implementing IOC programs. This could be communicated well because it has an universal appeal. 2. International Oceanographic Data Exchange, set up by IOC, provides scientists with ready access to geophysical information via an international system comprised of World Data Centres – 70 Member States have established their own national data centres. Data test hypotheses to improve marine resource assessment and management. “IOC has sponsored an uninterrupted series of international scientific efforts to enhance the knowledge and database of the oceans…” (Patricio Bernal). This project is huge in scope, boasts amazing results, although its societal relevance needs better explanation. 3. Coral bleaching (loss of 11% of the world’s reefs) associated with elevated sea surface temperature. It has universal appeal, with beautiful locations and captivating imagery. 4. General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans – IOC is responsible for providing the scientific expertise for contouring the relief of the world ocean. Weather disasters (e.g., tsunamis) and related warning guidance feature stories have figured prominently in the media to date. If explained clearly and interestingly, here is a story with incredible facts (e.g., seismometers are capable of recording seismic waves down to depths of 10,000 metres) that highlights a growing need for global bathymetry. 5. GOOS – forecasting state of the sea. The November 2000 meetings in Australia generated extensive media coverage and support. The idea of monitoring and predicting climate variability is still as intriguing and compelling an idea today as when Roger Revelle discussed it in 1979. GCOS – Global Observing System for Climate. Far reaching so able to target a wide audience: from slums in India to the beach front homes of the wealthy in California – water level, currents, coastal flooding, fish stocks, red tide, rainfall prediction, El Niño and subsequent prediction of possible disease outbreaks, the length and severity of winters. 22 IOC has a commitment to communicate ocean science and facilitate collaboration. High profile projects provide necessary public policy components for symposia and conferences. 6. THE TARGET AUDIENCE 23 The target audience needs to be clearly identified in order to achieve the best communication deliveries. In other words, IOC must determine whom it wants specifically to IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 5 reach. How does that audience perceive the organization? Since the aim is to reach as broad an audience as possible, IOC should try and deliver its message using a technique that serves multiple audiences, namely, a summary of the relevance of a project, supported by impressive statistics. 24 When asked what issues are critical in the world today, surveys show that although people believe scientific research is important and the environment is of concern, neither is a first order priority. In general, the public thinks science is confusing and does not provide solutions. They are unsure of marine issues. Since IOC is interested in attracting support from donor organizations, it must therefore clearly be a priority to convey the issues unambiguously. 25 People already know problems exist in the ocean, like elsewhere in the environment. IOC’s approach should be to motivate, rally, and show that solutions are possible. Publications with titles like “Reclaiming the Seas” or “Saving our Seas”, for example, offers hope that the public can contribute something positive – that people might actually be able to DO something and make a difference: a call to action.1 7. THE INFORMATION TO BE DISTRIBUTED 26 Information is useless unless it's shared, managed, capable of being edited, delivered, and displayed appropriately. With this in mind, how well do people know what IOC does? What is IOC’s brand? If the information available is unattractive or difficult to understand, it will be hard to generate public awareness and support. Information should be carefully edited to select only a few key themes, which are then repeated frequently for reinforcement. Presently, IOC’s information is widely scattered and duplicated and needs to be consolidated. 27 Information can be delivered to the audience through a wide range of communications. Since it would be impossible to target all users given limited manpower/resources/funds, the average, college-educated audience is herein used as a general guideline. 28 Style: Literature should be written in simple, straightforward language so that brochures generated for college professors to use with freshmen could also be sent to 6th graders, i.e., multipurpose in nature. Links would be provided for more in-depth scientific detail if the reader wished to explore further. 29 Brochures should feature brief text and captivating images. The pictures should tell the story and generate appeal/mystery/knowledge/discovery/excitement and be designed to capture the interest of someone who knows little about the oceans. They should connect ocean sciences to the societal imperative and be targeted to the general public and policymakers, rather than towards a science audience. More content-rich publications can be offered as a next step. . 30 Sampling of some IOC brochures: The majority of IOC texts are written in a combination of science-English and UN-Report style, i.e., very complicated, hard to read language, and full of acronyms. Such texts have little appeal to a general audience and better serve the scientific and UN communities. To widen a document’s possible audience, it would be beneficial to adopt a general journalistic approach using simpler language. The opening paragraph should state a key fact and explain its relevance immediately. That information now tends to be embedded several 1 For example, from a communication point of view, labelling a report "A Sea of Troubles" is the wrong approach: Reinforce the problem-oriented approach that has already saturated public consciousness. IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 6 paragraphs, or even pages, into the article itself and so for all practical purposes is essentially lost to the general reader. 31 Posters use obscure language ("research" "capacity building" "observing systems") that does not have much meaning for the uninitiated. The collage effect used in the posters is rather busy and tends to detract from main message. 32 Presentations should consistently feature IOC logo/identity, with greater attention paid to proofing. Spelling and typographical mistakes undermine IOC’s claim to be an authority. Presentations would also benefit systematically from language help from a native speaker. IOC staff should have training and coaching in delivery techniques. 33 Media: should be solicited and used to help the public focus on important issues, e.g., the use of Opinion-Editorials. 34 IOC Home Page: • Impression: The home page has a very busy, chaotic layout. Although IOC has a big banner heading, the identity of the site is confused by acronyms and various other logos for partner sites – some explanation is needed about who and what the site is primarily about, i.e., a mission statement. The overall appearance is not very attractive, stimulating, or inviting to read. IOC should take the opportunity to direct the user to issues or images that it wants to promote; the user should not have to navigate for himself. Messages are lost due to saturation and overload. This site needs streamlining and reorganization and a more consistent look, and to provide information of direct interest only (i.e., defined IOC themes) with links to other concerns. • Audience: It is not immediately clear who the target audience is. Since the success of a web page is context-oriented, defining the audience is key. The content must arise from user interests to optimise information flow and make the web 'community interactive'. The home page now requires such close examination that it is not appealing for first-time users. • Identity: The web site offers no clear identity as to who or what IOC is or, more importantly, what its mission is. The eleven prominent links to other sites (IODE, Glodir, GOOS, ODINAfrica, IODE Ocean Teacher, Ocean Portal, JCOMM, GOOS News, Bridge, SOCA, UNESCO) further dilute IOC's identity. An image is needed for the home page that mirrors IOC's vision and ideals (like UNICEF's 'adult hand holding a child's hand') to reinforce its identity. 8. INTERNAL COMMUNICATION 35 An information strategy reflects a set of attitudes; encapsulates and supports a shared vision of the future of IOC. Information must be considered part of IOC's infrastructure to have a clear, accepted, and efficient means by which information of all kinds is created, handled, and used. In this way, it can support and deliver the aims of IOC. 36 Therefore, guidelines should be established for the process of delivering information. There should be consistency in the use of images, language, delivery of the vision, message, and presentation. Like this, the user will not see just a document or a brochure, but rather a living concept of the vision at IOC. IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 7 37 Information is a resource that needs managing. The goal would be to harness opportunities to meet challenges and also enhance the essence of what IOC is. Thus, an information strategy will help determine IOC’s intentions for its own future. As such, every staff member at IOC should be clear and united as to what the mission is, what the messages are, and to whom they are communicating. 9. COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY: “Constructing the Message” 38 IOC must define its unique role in communicating oceanography to a wider public audience. This means having a relevant message: • What is the public interested in? • What are the international issues? 39 To gain maximum public awareness IOC should consider: • How do its projects fit the above criteria? • What implications do its projects/scientific issues have in the long term? • What makes them interesting for the broadest audience (policymakers, educators, etc.)? • Can those projects be translated into clear language for online features in a timely manner? • Is all the information developed in one place, or is it fragmented and duplicated among a number of different sites? • Will web-based e-mail questions be answered promptly every day? 40 Brand – • Logo should be prominently displayed on everything IOC does, from PowerPoint presentations to brochures. • Ideas must be enthusiastic and imaginative and reflect IOC’s plan and mission, its strengths and opportunities. • Monitor continually that the message being shaped is synonymous with IOC’s vision and that the correct audience is being targeted. • Brand awareness: colour scheme/style/logo to be used on everything, e.g., nameplates/stationery 41 Specific Communications Tools: IOC deals with complex concepts and internal jargon as part of its day-to-day work. However, there should be a clear, common language that will communicate its internal message to the broadest range of audiences likely to appreciate IOC’s work. The message should be presented in compelling language, like all great stories told. 42 This approach should be used in opinion-editorials, news releases, print/video/media/web site/press materials/newsletters/annual reports, etc. Results should be tracked in order to build on successes with the goal of keeping IOC in the public eye. When a new project is started it should be communicated immediately with the goal of involving people, so they can follow its development. 43 Part of IOC’s information strategy should be to establish a policy for communicating its activities. For Member States with no internet access this might be a newsletter based on a printed version of the IOC web site, a kind of “print on demand” information access. The web site could therefore become a virtual library or clearinghouse to effectively and efficiently IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 8 deliver scientific information from various agencies and Member States to the public, despite limited resources. 10. CONCLUSION 44 A focused priority list of projects, to be undertaken as special communications projects, should be outlined to assist as a first step in implementing an information strategy. The principal messages need to be selected, defined, and repeated into a few, very clear themes, e.g., 1. ‘One Planet One Ocean’ educational mandate 2. A Global Ocean Observing System for the prediction of climatic evolution and variability 3. Loss of the world’s coral reefs/coral bleaching 4. Benthic Indicators Program 45 Every project should be viewed as an exercise in public education. The nature of the audience should be assessed and appropriate communications tools then used accordingly. 46 An “Information Manager” should be identified who has direct responsibility for creation/use/editing of information. This person should also be responsible for maintaining a standard of proofing for professional appearance (grammar/spelling/editing). He/she should maintain a consistency in all the communications pieces with regard to both promoting IOC’s brand and message. 47 The creation of a one-page double-sided brochure that effectively defines the IOC and its mission is recommended. This multipurpose brochure would mainly feature attractive images, would have minimal text, and would be written in compelling, thought-provoking language. It would provide links to further, in-depth information about IOC’s various activities and projects. Staff members would then be able to use this brochure as a handout, or “introductory piece,” to promote IOC at meetings, conferences, etc. Internally, the brochure would also serve to identify and strengthen staff members’ awareness of one clear, precise message. 48 Where is IOC headed? The organization needs to have a clear understanding of its overall direction and the challenges facing it, or that it will likely face, in the next 5-10 years in order to clarify its intentions in a series of policy statements and develop a range of information within the scope of these intentions. The information strategy and communications policy should be constantly monitored and updated, along with the context they need to operate in, with reviews and updates as frequently as necessary. This process needs to continue in order to monitor how successful IOC’s projects and aims are at achieving public awareness. Therefore, an essential part of IOC’s information strategy itself must be a plan and commitment to implement and monitor its own continuing progress in the future. 11. SUMMARY OUTLINE: Draft Information Strategy 1. Message: IOC needs to define itself clearly and immediately for public awareness purposes 2. Audience: Define the audience that IOC wants to reach so that information can be packaged and tailored specifically to it IOC-XXII/2 Annex page 9 3. Brand: Build IOC awareness via brand among target audiences 4. Promise: Craft promise(s) based on message and goals, e.g., to solve/improve global problem, or, “hope of the extraordinary social and economic benefits” (Page 1) 5. Relevance: Offer key idea(s) in broad concepts highlighting relevance, e.g., ‘understanding the oceans is essential to sustaining life,’ ‘IOC is best forum for unbiased science and intergovernmental cooperation.’ 6. Language: Make information understandable and compelling using clear language 7. Communications: Support strong communications mandate to provide evidence of the promise, i.e., the consequences of research and education 8. Manager: Designate Information Manager both for improved internal communications and to collect/edit information 9. Presentation: Present information attractively so it acts as a new window for the world to look at IOC 10. Accessibility: -Make information readily and easily accessible