Background & Objective
Biodiversity is a scientific concept of enormous complexity. For many people living in the world’s richest countries, or for the rapidly increasing numbers of people living in urban areas, biodiversity loss is also something that happens elsewhere, to other people. How do
we convince policy makers and the public alike that biodiversity is a relevant concern, worth more living and thriving than as short term profit or gain?
The Secretariat for the Convention on Biodiversity faces this challenge everyday; they exist solely to oversee the implementation the objectives of the Convention itself. For this brief, it was clear that ‘communication as usual’ (continuing to raise the alarm on loss and extinction) would not do. Despite current extinction rates, and despite government
signatories to the Convention failing in many cases to meet their 2010 targets, the International Year of Biodiversity needed to approach the challenge from a new angle.
The objectives for communicating the International Year of Biodiversity were as follows:
To IYB was clearly communicated through a ‘brand toolkit’, consisting of the logotype, core messaging and a set of clear and easy to use brand guidelines. The guidelines were translated into the 6 official UN languages and are available for download from the CBD’s website for the International Year of biodiversity. They were packaged and sent to key partner organisations and groups, some without easy access to internet.
For the logotype, the guidelines explained the concept of discovery and realisation, and provided clear instructions for usage.
For the messaging, the guidelines outlined both the purpose and aims of the messaging, as well as how the messages themselves should be used. A series of different types of message were developed, from the overall slogan ‘Biodiversity is Life’, to a narrative designed to tell the inspiring story of biodiversity and our place in it. Crucially, the framework also enabled people using the toolkit to insert their own call to action into the messaging framework, allowing them to focus their communications on issues and actions most relevant to their local area.
This foundation has enabled the logo and messaging to be used effectively across an exceptionally wide range of channels. More traditionally, it has featured across both online and offline press media, social media, on letterheads, posters and collateral used at events and co-branded events, initiatives and programmes run by other organisations.
The logo has also featured on the tail fin of an Airbus A380, was carved from bushes outside the Montreal City Hall, jointly sponsored an international football kit, and even made up part of a floral decoration of a well in North England.
This work was aimed at a global audience – all over the world, across institutions ranging from government offices and academic institutions, to local NGOs and community organisations. The audience was the ‘global public’.
The goal of the International Year of Biodiversity was to raise awareness of the need to conserve biodiversity, and to provide partners across the world with the tools and inspiration to encourage action. The International Year of Biodiversity is still being observed, and at the time of this application submission, the logo and core messaging had been adopted in 146 countries, and in 29 languages, and seen by millions of people from Brazil to Britain, Georgia to Japan.
There are currently over 1500 organisations worldwide who have officially applied to use the logo (and hundreds more who are unofficially using it!). The types of organisations currently include 90 different governments, 388 NGOs, 3 indigenous communities, 40 museums, 21 UN agencies, and 969 other organisations.
The logo and core messaging have been used at 426 separate events over the year, ranging from high profile political conventions to the African Cup of Nations, where it was used as the official ‘sponsor’ for Puma’s Play for Life Africa football kit.
Budget for developing the logo and messaging for the campaign was around $30,000.
“The CDB campaign is a very beautiful, well executed and informative campaign. It has helped to mainstream biodiversity from being a very technical and very bureaucratic subject to one of global concern and hope. This logo and message has been very widely seen during 2010 in cultures and languages as diverse as biodiversity itself! Biodiversity is the most overlooked, sustainability issue.”