Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Adaptation to climate change using the EbA approach

Adaptation to climate change using the EbA approach

Climate change and its consequences affect thousands of people and communities throughout the world. The tourism sector is no exception: its development and profit depend directly on ecosystems and the environmental services they offer. For this reason, we can safely say that adaptation to climate change is a necessity.

An alternative that is gaining attention in the face of the adverse effects of climate change is Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). This aprouch uses biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of a broader strategy that supports communities in their adaptation to the harmful effects of climate change.

In other words, the objective of EbA is to reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of ecosystems and populations based on sustainable management, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems.

The EbA approach

As a practice, Ecosystem-based Adaptation evaluates and selects measures in the context of an overall strategy:

EbA can be applied in different vulnerable areas or sectors:

  • Water management
  • Coast protection
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Reduction of floods or land displacements

An example of a concrete EbA measure is coastal protection through reforestation and sustainable management of mangroves. These actions benefit both the tourism sector as well as local communities.

Why implement the EbA approach?

According to The Nature Conservancy, the implementation of the EbA approach brings a series of benefits that include social, economic and environmental impacts:

  • It helps people better adapt to weather events.
  • It is less expensive than other infrastructure or technology alternatives.
  • It encourages the participation of communities and their acquisition of knowledge.
  • It generates long-term social, economic, cultural and ecological benefits.
  • It contributes to the mitigation of climate change by reducing GHG emissions.
  • It intervenes on a local scale with positive impacts on a larger scale.

Good practices and success stories

During the implementation of the ADAPTUR project, we documented numerous success stories and good practices of EbA measures in the tourism sector in Mexico.

What is strategic communication and how is it achieved?

What is strategic communication and how is it achieved?

Modification of unsustainable practices is a medium and long term-challenge that projects often take on. In these cases, it is crucial that the actions are accompanied by strategic communication that promotes the appropriation of positive social changes.

In other words, it is important to create a communication process that informs, sensitizes, and persuades the target audience about a specific phenomenon and its solutions.

To achieve this, communication must be viewed as an activity that accompanies actions at all times. One of the most important challenges is the sustainability and coherence of campaigns, due to the limited human, economic and technical resources of the projects.

Therefore, it is important to consider:

  • The allocation of a specific budget for communication within the framework of the project, as well as the appointment of a specialized technical team.
  • The creation of an action plan to achieve the communication objectives.

In short, a communication plan with an assigned budget from the start helps define objectives and identify and characterize the target audiences. It also allows the elaboration of lines of discourse, the identification of tactical actions and the generation of success indicators.

Benefits of strategic communication

Strategic communication embodied in an action plan generates multiple benefits, since it allows us to:

Strategic communication checklist

Before creating an action plan, it is important to answer the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of communication?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the main message we want to convey?
  • What field or context will we work in?
  • What channels are available?
  • What human, financial and material resources are available?
  • What are the indicators of success?

This will make it possible to generate an internal diagnosis that will in turn guide our plan throughout its various phases. In other words, it will serve as a compass to trigger a more complex process.

Communication diagnosis: step by step

Communication diagnosis: step by step

The first step of an effective action plan is the elaboration of a communication diagnosis. Este análisis es fundamental para obtener información del entorno donde se llevará a cabo la intervención comunicativa.

This process requires a specific amount of time, the length of which varies depending on the complexity and number of objectives set out in the communication plan. It is very important to focus the team’s efforts on making a clear and complete diagnosis. This will allow the subsequent design of more assertive tactical strategies and actions.

An analysis of the context should include at least the following elements:

  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Areas of opportunity regarding communication
  • Information gaps
  • Identification of opinion leaders
  • Media channels
  • Target audience

In this article we share essential keys to prepare a diagnosis and provide you with examples of the ADAPTUR project.

Co-created diagnosis are extremely successful.

Stakeholder mapping

Stakeholder mapping is a technique used to identify key stakeholders within a system. It helps in analyzing their interests, their relevance and influence over the results of a communicative intervention.

In other words, it is a characterization that will provide key elements for the detection of tones, channels and messages, as well as the relationship between these elements. It is essential in the design and implementation of any project, and at the time of negotiating or building the action plan.

In the experience of ADAPTUR, the most relevant characteristics to consider when communicating with the tourism sector are the following:

  • This sector is constantly growing, highly organized in chambers and associations, with a long-term vision.
  • Interested in preserving natural capital as a primary source of business.
  • Willing to innovate.

To make an effective stakeholder mapping, we share the following template:

Areas of communication opportunity

The areas of opportunity are aspects within the setting that make the implementation of communication actions easier. For example: interest of key actors in the subject, previously-formed networks, leaders that are aware of the phenomenon, among others.

In the case of ADAPTUR, the following were identified:

  • Facilitate businespeople’s understanding of the subject by generating a common knowledge base.
  • Promote access to reliable information that describes the relevance of investing in specific ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) measures.
  • Motivate the undertaking of high-impact actions from within their economic activity, as well as inspire other businespeople to join the project.
  • Integrate a working group in which businespeople can collaborate and determine strategic messages, means and actions.
  • Address the issue from the cost-effectiveness perspective.
  • Emphasize the repercussions in the medium and long term.
  • Spread the notion that investing in adaptation is cheaper than dealing with the results of climatic disasters.
  • Disseminate the idea that the tourism sector lives off the landscape and the environmental services provided by nature.
  • Highlight good practices as inspiring examples.

Information gaps

This process allows for the identification of information that the target audiences lack. This analysis makes it possible to create messages that can sensitize them and promote the desired change in attitude.

Examples of information gaps in the case of ADAPTUR are: ignorance of the white coral syndrome that affects reefs; of the ecosystem value of dunes or mangroves for the protection of tourist infrastructure, or the function of a basin in the collection of water to provide a destination with this vital liquid.

Identification of opinion leaders

It is important to identify influencers who can act as spokespersons for the project’s messages and help promote them. For example: local governments, business organizations, academics or civil society organizations.

Opinion leaders should be people who have credibility and/or recognition within the setting in which the project will operate.

ADAPTUR detected that peer communication is very powerful. Therefore, it is recommended that the same strategic actors who have already implemented measures, share, and communicate their experiences, publicizing the benefits they obtained.

Media and communication channels

Each target audience is informed differently, using various sources that correspond with their characteristics (age, interests, social stratum, means at their disposal, among others).

From ADAPTUR’s experience, the identification and capacity-building efforts with well-known journalists, communicators and media within a region helps the acquisition of key messages, both at the national and regional levels.

In similar initiatives, it is advisable to continue working closely with the media. In the first instance: brief them on the subject, and then turn them into strategic allies in the promotion and dissemination of the actions that the project undertakes.

Target audience

This characterization is essential for assertive communication. Knowing your audience provides the elements to build meaningful messages that resonate with them and make them into an active audience. Therefore, it is important to have basic information regarding the audience, such as: gender, age, socioeconomic situation, political affiliation, level of education, habits, etc.

You can ask the target audience questions: how do you make decisions? Where do you get your information? What do you know about the subject? What is your perception of this issue and how do you relate to it? Who do you trust?

There are different methodologies for carrying out a characterization of the target audience. The choice depends on the level of depth, time, and resources available. Some examples are: representations that can be carried out through surveys and/or personal interviews, KAP analysis (knowledge, attitudes and practices), workshops or focus groups.

The more you know the audience you want to speak to, the more tactical and assertive elements you will have in order to create efficient communication with them.

In the specific case of ADAPTUR, the identified target audiences are:

  • Decision makers
  • Tourist entrepreneurs
  • Journalists
  • Public administration
  • Women and men ABC+
  • People interested in business, environment, public policies, public administration and tourism.

How to create SMART goals for your action plan

How to create SMART goals for your action plan

An appropriate approach to the objectives offers precision to the strategic communication process and is a reference for the final evaluation. In this process, it is essential to be clear about what the project wants to achieve and align it with the action plan.

In the design of objectives, you can use SMART criteria (an acronym that refers to the terms specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

Examples of objectives written with these criteria are:

  • Increase the participation of strategic allies in Baja California by 10% by next month.
  • Expand activations within the Nayarit-Jalisco Riviera by 30% within the next two-month period.

Discursive axes to communicate measures of Adaptation based on Ecosystems

Discursive axes to communicate measures of Adaptation based on Ecosystems

The lines of discourse are the key messages that serve as a guide during communication. Defining them within the action plan helps give coherence and consistency to the entire strategy.

Mexico is no stranger to the world’s social, economic and health challenges. In this sense, it is necessary that the communication processes highlight the climate and human health agenda, as well as their relationship with the economy and biodiversity.

In order to do so, it is useful to return to the lines of discourse and key messages provided by the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations:

  • Universal values and protection of common goods.
  • Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Protection of biodiversity
  • Economy and employment
  • Reduction of inequality

Lines of discourse within ADAPTUR

In the case of ADAPTUR, a series of messages were designed as a framework for the project’s communications:

  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is an approach that promotes harnessing the benefits of nature in order to face climate change and its effects on communities, livelihoods, the economy and people’s well-being.
  • The incorporation of EbA solutions, both in the design and development of tourist infrastructure, is an essential tool to reduce direct economic losses due to natural disasters such as storms and hurricanes.
  • Biodiversity provides vital environmental services for tourism development.
  • Preserving a good balance with nature and its ecosystems is not only a matter of competitiveness amongst tourist destinations, but also a matter of business survival.
  • The protection of coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, dune vegetation, and reefs preserves natural barriers that, in turn, reduce the impact of storms and hurricanes, decreasing the risk of material loss, and protecting visitors and local communities.
  • Solutions based on the conservation of the natural environment make it possible to reduce human and material losses caused by climate change.
  • Biodiversity and adaptation to climate change can be integrated into the planning phase of tourism developments, as long as there is communication amongst multiple sectors, which is unavoidable if we want to build a resilient and prosperous tourism industry.

How to build lines of discourse

Communication action plan: keys and recommendations

Communication action plan: keys and recommendations

An action plan serves as a guide in the implementation of communication tactics from a strategic point of view. It helps avoid isolated efforts and ensure compliance with the objectives set after the diagnosis phase.

Once the initial questions about objectives and resources have been answered, an action plan follows the following four phases:

  1. Diagnosis
  2. Strategic approach
  3. Production
  4. Evaluation

Each phase has key tasks. In this article, we share a bit about them, along with recommendations based on what we have learned with project ADAPTUR. 


During the diagnosis, a characterization of the setting or context is carried out. In other words, the place where the actions will be implemented. In addition, the target audiences, alliances, media and communication channels are analyzed.

Some essential aspects to consider at this stage are:

  • The depth with which the diagnosis is made will depend on the time and resources available.
  • An effective diagnosis requires documentary research complemented by interviews with key stakeholders.
  • Although this process can be done at a general level, it is important to focus on communication.
  • Organizing a co-creation workshop is recommended (in a four-eight hour session). In this context, relevant aspects of communication are discussed, analyzed and determined, such as: the focus, priorities, audiences, channels, among other topics.

Strategic approach

The strategic approach involves a series of tasks that are based on what was analyzed in the previous diagnostic phase. It’s time to:

  • Determine communication objectives, following the SMART criteria.
  • Design the lines of discourse and approaches, as well as identify the means to reach each audience.
  • Establish evaluation indicators.
  • Prepare a schedule of actions and responsible parties.
  • The key for this stage to work, as well as the future implementation, is to have a well-designed schedule that assigns responsibilities and mechanisms for tasks to be executed.


In the production stage, specific actions will be designed and implemented. In order to do so, it is important to develop each tactic according to the characteristics of the identified target audiences.

Product validation is essential for meeting deadlines. Therefore, it is recommended to establish a procedure from the start of production, in order to avoid setbacks and loss of human and financial resources.


At the end of each communication action, an evaluation must be carried out. This involves two aspects:

  • Quantitative aspects (number of publications, fans, retweets, subscriptions, accesses, mail, among others)
  • Qualitative aspects (tone of the messages published by the recipients, quality of the information in the contents of press releases, reactions to information published by the project, surveys, questionnaires)

The analysis of both aspects will help identify good practices within the project, as well as lessons learned for future initiatives. An evaluation during the development of activities will also enable timely modifications that can help meet objectives.

For more information on each of these stages, check out more articles on our website.

Goal-oriented content production

Goal-oriented content production

The strategic approach allows us to produce materials and the development of communication actions to be oriented towards a specific objective.

The production phase is the longest stage in the implementation of the action plan. During its development, it is important not to lose track of the planned actions.

In addition, it is essential to keep a flexible eye on our work schedule. On many occasions, changes in the context can force us to modify the path we had originally traced.

In this article, we review some tips on creating different types of content:

Video storytelling

Written content

Writing messages is a complex matter that requires initial reflection. Unlike oral language, writing allows us to review the content as many times as we need.

It is important to consider that the first draft is exactly that: a draft, an exercise that allows you to identify errors, organize ideas hierarchically, and check the clarity of what you want to communicate. For clear, direct, assertive, sensitive and correct text, we suggest:

  • Write short and precise sentences. If it is possible to delete a sentence without taking away the meaning of what you want to communicate, goa head and delete it.
  • Use accessible language (communication is meant for sharing). Explain technicalities and concepts with simple words, examples and references to the target audience’s specific context.
  • Tell an emotional, realistic, hopeful and motivating story.
  • Explain the process: the before, the present and the opportunity.
  • Use lists (bullets) for specific content. This way, reading the message will be easier and more effective.
  • Record figures to highlight and specify results and impacts.
  • Follow the inverted pyramid. In other words: place the most important information in the first paragraph, focused on the audience’s topics of interest.
  • Use active verbs. They are more direct, powerful and clear: Who is doing what?
  • Include reading levels in order to highlight relevant information.
  • Relate the contents to the target audience’s interests.

Digital content

Social networks and the Internet are essential means to reach various target audiences. In addition, they are cheaper channels to start executing actions.

For the digital strategy of your project to work, we advise you:

  • Identify the channels that work with the various target audiences. Do not the use of certain social networks take for granted: use the diagnosis phase to check if they work.
  • Keep a constant strategy. We recommended you avoid sporadic campaigns.
  • Create and follow a specific graphic pattern. It is important that it attracts your target audience’s attention.
  • Create differentiated strategies according to the channels and target audiences. All of them must respond to the main objective.
  • Make alliances with influencers and opinion leaders.

Examples of tactics in ADAPTUR

The following table shows the tactics and means that we used in the project in order to reach different target audiences:

Download our template to complete the actors, tactics and media for your project:

Work with media

Work with media

The ability of the media to place certain issues in the public opinion is essential for the positioning of the project. Therefore, working with journalists is key to disseminate the project, add strategic allies and generate a common knowledge base among the target audiences.

Work with media is suggested on two different levels:

In ADAPTUR’s experience, the following objectives were followed when working with the press:

  • Communicate references and examples of different measures, in order to make the difference between mitigation and adaptation to climate change clearer for your audience.
  • Inform the private sector about investments in adaptation measures and the results that have been obtained.
  • Share the materials and tools that have been created.
  • Involve your allies (counterparts) Public liaison offices. They normally have agendas focused on institutional actions and can benefit from exposure.
  • Generate content that illustrates examples (local, national, or international) of ecosystem-based adaptation measures.

ADAPTUR’s experience with the media

Monitoring and evaluation of communication

Monitoring and evaluation of communication

Monitoring and evaluation involve comparing the results of the communication activities with the SMART objectives. To do so, indicators are essential. This evaluation must be carried out periodically and systematically. It is advisable to prepare monthly reports according to the original plan and have a clear baseline at the beginning of the project.

If the project has its own communication channels, we suggest evaluating the indicators. This way you can improve the strategy, get ideas for new content, recognize topics that are being well-received or identify red flags.

Evaluating the effectiveness of communication has always been a challenge. It is important to choose indicators that we ourselves can measure, so that we can generate reports and provide useful results. Here are two types of possible indicators. The first group is focused on evaluating the performance of the actions, and the second on the assessment of the impact of the processes:

5 keys to communicating EbA measures

5 keys to communicating EbA measures

After five years of experience communicating project ADAPTUR, we have put together these 5 keys to communicating projects related to adaptation to climate change:

1. Communication is crucial in a project’s development 

Communication brings things to people’s attention: knowing is caring. If done wrong, it can be counterproductive.

Good communication must be done in line with the project’s goals and objectives, accompanying each of its phases.

However, the communication action plan cannot, by itself, solve challenges that are not included in the scope of the project. For the plan to be successful, it is important to consider co-working with strategic actors.

2. Planning responds to an integral process

Communication planning should recognize the inter-institutional coordination associated with the project’s objectives. In this sense, we recommend uniting efforts and creating synergies between the counterparts in all levels of government (federal, state and municipal) and sectors (private and social).

This way, it will be easier to align goals and generate comprehensive, multilevel and intersectoral work. Undoubtedly, this will have an impact on communication: the initiatives will be consistent and effective, avoiding isolated efforts.

3. The budget must be communication oriented

Financially, it is essential to generate a specific budget for communication actions from the start of the project. This will make it avoid setbacks during the implementation.

Also, it is advisable to look at communication activities and tasks with a comprehensive perspective of a team and coordinated work. If initiatives come together, it will be easier to move forward and take advantage of everyone’s channels.

4. An action plan helps continuity

In communication, processes should not be spontaneous or insufficiently elaborated. It is recommended that all ideas be aligned with a plan that has a clear objective, and that they contribute to a specific goal.

It is important to consider comprehensive actions that include a public relations plan, management, process leadership, as well as in-depth transversal work with all project members. Only then will tangible results be achieved.

In this sense, it is useful to establish guidelines and the flow of communication in a clearly and coordinately.

5. Success stories build a sense of belonging

At the beginning of the project, it is important to spread clear and accurate information about the benefits that ecosystems provide. This awareness process is will bring yields in the medium term and involves a series of communication actions that must be connected.

In ADAPTUR’s experience, identifying good practices that already existed in the Mexican tourism sector and, subsequently, documenting these success stories has been key. The audience gained motivation to collaborate with the project and share the materials.