WWF PRactices

How the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) uses digital analytics to convey messages that no one wants to hear.

Estimated reading time: 2,5 minutes

At the Marketing’s PR conference in 2018, Kim Stengert (Chief of Strategic Communication at WWF) stated: “communications can increase conversion rates by three times and cut ad spend by more than half.” WWF’s PR team achieves this by going back to the basics – appealing to human emotion. According to Stengert, stakeholders will not care if WWF just talks about statistics. WFF has to drive people’s emotions.

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WWF’s PR team is responsible for creating content and distributing the content on all channels. It focuses on the types of issues to address and how to put across messages that “no one wants to hear” to the widest possible audience groups. But how does WWF know how to do this?

Digital Data

As a non-profit organisation, social data in particular allows WWF to generate the best return on investment (ROI) on digital activity. By using digital analytics, WWF examines its PR strategies and saves advertisement and PR costs. WWF uses the following types of digital data:

Social listening tools. WWF is focused on making it as easy as possible for stakeholders to get involved in their campaigns. With the use of social listening tools WWF is able to engage with the public as quickly as possible and accurately predict if campaigns will resonate with stakeholders.

Analyzing social data and demographics. WWF is aware that each online channel tends to attract different demographics. Consequently, WWF tailors its messages to varying audiences where it can.

Measuring KPIs and team objectives. By using weekly review schedules to measure content across all channels, WWF sees what is performing best and where. For certain types of content, WWF focuses on engagement levels, while for others it aims conversion (e.g. a user signing a petition), website visits, or comments and responses.

Identifying and capitalizing influencers. WWF used (micro-)influencers for their Earth Hour and #TooLatergram campaigns, however, WWF hopes to capitalise on influencers more widely in the future to better understand how to reach its audience on the issues that matter most to them.

What about ethics?

With collecting, string and using digital data comes great responsibility. WWF has published privacy, data protection and cookies policies on their website which explain in clear language where, what and why personal information is used. Within these policies WWF states that they do not sell or share personal details with third parties, their online forms are always encrypted and their network is protected and routinely monitored, which meets the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented by the EU parliament in 2018. Although WWF strives to protect personal data, it cannot guarantee the security of any information which people disclose on their website.

Strengths and limitations

WWF does an excellent job when it comes to manage and plan digital activity and tailoring its messages to different audiences. However, WWF should consider to tailor their PR strategies with the use of visual preferences, beliefs, personal risks, efficacy and cultural differences too. Most NGO’s can innovate and do more within digital data and therefore should be open to learning from other sectors in implementing data innovations. WWF is already good at raising awareness and collaborating, however, awareness does not immediately lead to action. Therefore, the ultimate goal for WWF should be to use digital analyzes to engage the public in actual behavior like volunteering or donating.

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