Cover photo from “Activism in the digital age”

Activism in the digital age Greenpeace

Executive Profiling

When Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo wanted to leverage his profile as organisational leader and activist-at-heart, I developed a communications and executive profiling strategy to put him on top of the news cycle and help the organisation win.

The challenge

How does Greenpeace best utilise social media to leverage the profile and personality of its International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo – without developing a ‘cult of personality’ overshadowing its campaigns and broader mission?

The strategy

Drawing on Greenpeace organizational values, define and highlight Kumi’s charismatic persona, leveraging Kumi’s role to punctuate key environmental issues in close collaboration with Greenpeace’s flagship campaigns.

The solution

Kumi became Greenpeace’s ‘visionary rockstar activist and statesman,’ a characterization that very much reflects his real persona.

After consultation throughout the organisation, my strategy articulated Kumi’s personality and role in a way that allowed for its more structured and consistent expression through a number of online, internal and external channels.

We took this approach to social media, where it had a direct impact on from the usual suspects like Twitter and Facebook, but also on Greenpeace-owned and external blogs, and critically, public speaking engagement and in executive profiling work to media.

An editorial direction for communications was also established to allow for the ongoing maintenance of social channels, and finally, a series of web shorts was commissioned and produced to further enhance Kumi’s profile. Called Living for a cause, the series addressed the Greenpeace organisation of today and positioned Kumi as a thought leading environmentalist.

Watch Part II and Part III.

Finally I called on the talents of photographer Tom van Heel to produce a series of iconic lifestyle portraits which could be used in media outreach and online.

The results

  • Increased Twitter following by 62% and Facebook by 54% in a 6 month period
  • Living for a Cause series of 3 web videos achieved strong online pickup, and prompted positive comments and feedback from around the world, both internally, and externally.
  • Kumi’s reinvigorated profile attracted the attention of The Guardian, who invited Kumi to become a regular contributor
  • Increase in the breadth and depth of media requests (BBC’s Hard Talk) and public speaking engagements