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Communication

Viable Cities' communication work is helping to build a movement among many actors in society to achieve climate-neutral cities by 2030. 

Cooperation on communication

The overall mission for Viable Cities communication is: Viable Cities communication work contributes to building a movement among many actors in society to achieve climate-neutral cities by 2030. 

Communication and knowledge dissemination are strategic activities within the program, both in the program management and in the initiatives implemented within the program. Our main target groups are existing, potential and interested partners, members and people who work with and for, or are interested in, climate change in cities. The target group is located in Sweden, the EU and the rest of the world.

The communication skills of the Viable Cities Program Office work on a wide range of activities: website, newsletter, social media, conferences and other events, Slack, Youtube channel and more. We tell you about what is happening in the Programme Office, in Viable Cities projects, in our member organizations and in other activities working in the same direction as us. The communication competence at the program office contributes with support on communication issues, but it is expected that all projects have their own communication resource.

A network of communicators within the Viable Cities world facilitates exchange of experience and learning. It is recommended that projects funded under Viable Cities designate a communicator within the organization to participate in the communicators' network.

New partnerships

All new communicators (and others interested in contributing) are welcome to use Slack for quick communication within the group. You can register here: vbct.es/slack

At the beginning of the cooperation, it may be useful to read a little more and learn more about what Viable Cities are and do. A lot of information can be found here on the website.

Cooperation in different ways

Viable Cities is aiming high. To get to where we want to go - climate neutral cities by 2030 - we need to work together, not least in terms of communication. Cooperation on communication within Viable Cities can take several forms.

When this is the case, we want your communication to show that you are part of Viable Cities. The graphic profile is used when we are the main sender, for example for reports, and when our initiatives present us. When you talk about your climate change efforts in different ways related to Viable Cities, we appreciate that we are mentioned. What this looks like in practice varies depending on the type of communication, more information can be found in our graphic profile and templates.

We would like all of us to help spread what we do - both within the Program Office and other parts of Viable Cities. 

  • Feel free to set up a routine to let us know when something is happening in your city that is related to urban climate change. Big or small, we are curious and eager to know.
  • Let us know which social media accounts you use that we should follow.
  • Write in Slack or by email, or, as above, by mentioning us in social media posts. 
  • Feel free to highlight our posts, videos and news in your channels. All texts are free to be rewritten according to local needs. Spread invitations to our events. Feel free to contact us if you need pictures, videos or anything else.

All of us in the network want to develop, learn together and help each other. Together we share what is happening in different projects and initiatives, so that we can spread good examples further through the network. 

All cities face the same challenge: to become climate-neutral and sustainable cities in a short period of time. So those of us working in urban communication have much in common, even if our titles and organizational locations vary. At the Office, we want to support experience sharing and learning as much as we can. By working together and meeting regularly within the communication network, raising issues of concern to all of us, we can help speed up the climate transition in cities.

The meetings are informal and everyone in the network contributes ideas for themes.

We often co-organize events with one or more of our partners, in which case we hope to plan and implement the planning and communication of the event together. This means contributing practically to the planning, implementation and follow-up of events and related communication.

Communication material

To tell people about Viable Cities and your involvement in Viable Cities, both inside and outside the organization, we have put together communication materials for free use by our partners. In this collection, you will find presentations, logos, texts, etc. in English and Swedish.

Let us know if you need any other material, or if you see that something needs to be updated.

How are Viable Cities made visible?

The Viable Cities graphic profile is used when we are the main sender, for example for project reports, and when our projects present us. When you talk about your climate change efforts related to Viable Cities in different ways, we appreciate being mentioned. What this looks like in practice will vary depending on the type of communication.

All downloadable materials can be found further down this page. 

Explanatory texts on the form of cooperation should be visible when mentioned, examples are given below.

With regard to the Climate Neutral Cities 2030 initiatives
Climate Neutral Y 2030 mobilizes for the local transition journey within the innovation program Viable Cities, funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, Vinnova and Formas.

Y municipality is mobilizing - together with 22 other municipalities - for the local transition journey within the Viable Cities flagship initiative Climate Neutral Cities 2030.

Y municipality is mobilizing - together with 22 other municipalities - for the mission of climate-neutral cities by 2030 within the strategic innovation programme Viable Cities.

Organization X is mobilizing for the local transition journey of Climate Neutral Y 2030, an action of the Viable Cities strategic innovation programme.

In other contexts, the collaboration can be expressed roughly as follows
This is part of a mobilization that takes place locally by many actors here in X-city to accelerate the transition to a climate-neutral and sustainable city (municipality). At the same time, we are joining forces with more than 20 cities in Sweden, within the Viable Cities initiative, and with more than a hundred cities in Europe to achieve climate-neutral cities by 2030.

This is an example of the gathering of local actors that is happening right now here in X-city for the climate transition. At the same time, we have joined forces with over 20 cities across Sweden, within Viable Cities, and more than a hundred cities across Europe to achieve our common goal: climate-neutral cities by 2030.

This shows how X-city, together with local actors, is flexing its muscles for the climate transition. At the same time, we are working with over 20 cities in Sweden - within Viable Cities - and more than 100 cities across Europe to become climate neutral and sustainable by 2030.

About the funding
Satsning X has received support from the strategic innovation program Viable Cities funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, Vinnova and Formas.

The Viable Cities logo may be used by stakeholders in the Climate Neutral Cities 2030 initiative and other initiatives that we fund or co-finance. The logo and an explanatory text about the form of cooperation should be visible on relevant websites. The above texts can be used.

Use your graphic profile, but the Viable Cities logo should appear early in the communication, on the cover or first inside page. An explanatory text on the form of cooperation should be visible.

Our funders government agencies should be mentioned with the text above, or with their logos in a SIP logo sticker.

We would like reports from your project - during its course or at its conclusion - to become part of the Viable Cities publication series. There is a template for this in Word format. If you have any questions or concerns about how to use the template, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Let us know when you have an upcoming report and we will arrange the ISBN and report number. We will also ensure that the publication is available in Diva and Swepub.

The Viable Cities (mobile) logo should appear at the end, together with the SIP logo image or the text above, in the mobile material produced in the context of your project. For audio-only productions, someone should say the sentence above at the end of the broadcast. 

Material

Here you will find graphic material and presentations on Viable Cities. If you are missing any, feel free to contact us!

About Viable Cities

Communication planning

The communication work across Viable Cities will support the activities of the program, thus contributing to the achievement of the program's mission: Climate-neutral cities by 2030 - with a good life for all within the boundaries of the planet.

Communication and knowledge dissemination are strategic activities within the program, both in the program management and in the projects implemented within the program.

Viable Cities communicators in the Programme Office provide support on communication issues, but it is expected that all projects have their own communication resource.

The Viable Cities projects have their own communication challenges. A major responsibility for the success of the projects and the usefulness of the results in creating the conditions for real change in cities lies with each project team. Successfully communicating activities and results to the outside world and contributing to change requires communication planning. With this guide, we want to facilitate this.

A communication plan for the project is essential to facilitate the work. It is important to keep in mind that all communication activities within Viable Cities should support the activities of the program, thus contributing to the achievement of the program's mission. We have prepared a guide for this work.

During the project, you will have to explain the project and its link to Viable Cities many times to people with different levels of knowledge. To make communication easier for everyone, it is good to create a short text that everyone in the project team can use. Ideally, the text can be written in several versions with different lengths for different contexts. Feel free to test the text on people who have no idea what you are doing.

It is important that the text makes it clear that the project is part of Viable Cities. See here how the link to Viable Cities and the funding authorities can be indicated. Some useful questions to ask yourself are:

  • What is the purpose of the project? What should it lead to?
  • What is the problem to be solved? What needs are to be met? What effect is to be achieved? For whom/whom?
  • Who will work on the project? Link to Viable Cities.
  • Put the project in a wider context, what phenomena in the world around us might be relevant to the project?

A communication plan can take many forms, below are headings and questions to help you create the plan. The plan can cover the whole project and its duration, or be designed for shorter communication activities.

A plan starts with a situation analysis. With a brief background description, you ensure that you and your colleagues have a common understanding of the conditions.

  • Why is communication action needed?
  • What needs need to be addressed? What problems do you want to solve?
  • How can communication in particular help - perhaps other interventions are (also) needed?

Having a clear purpose is a good start for good communication. Objectives are important for measuring and evaluating activities. You may find that you have too many objectives. Then you need to prioritize. One tip is to think that a goal should be SMART - specific, measurable, accepted, realistic, time-bound.

  • What do you want to achieve with communication? Do you want to change behaviors, increase awareness or reach a better understanding?

When communicating, you need to focus on a selected target group to be able to adapt your communication. You can have different target groups in the same communication plan. Read more about target groups at the end of the document.

  • Who are you addressing?
  • What are the needs, skills and wishes of the group?
  • What do you want the target audience to know, think, do and feel?

Telling everyone everything is not a good idea as you risk the message being vague and not reaching anyone. The message must be specific to each target group to be effective. Link the message to Viable Cities, Climate Neutral Cities 2030 and/or Climate City Contract 2030.

  • What do you want to achieve with your messages? Start by thinking about an overall message. Then you can formulate messages per target group.
  • What do you want to convey? The message needs to be adapted to each target group, so that the person reached by the message understands its meaning.
  • How will you get the message across? Is there someone who can act as an ambassador and help?
  • Can Viable Cities and the communication network help?

Who is the sender of the message? This may seem like an unnecessary question, but may still need to be addressed. A project may have one 'home', but multiple partners and funders. Who should be involved in this context? It may also be useful to consider who should speak on behalf of the project or this particular communication activity.

  • Are there people/organizations that are particularly important for the project and the dissemination of the results? Is there a need for one or more spokespersons to help disseminate knowledge and results? Which person or actor is best suited to reach different target groups?
  • Prepare the spokespersons by providing them with relevant information.
  • Where relevant, use our logo and the logos of the funding authorities. See how it can look here.

Where are the target groups you want to communicate with? Choose the channel based on what you want to achieve with your communication.

  • Are there existing channels that can be used, for example within organizations/individuals linked to the project?
  • Remember to ping Viable Cities and/or use the relevant hashtag (#viablecities2030).

Before starting the project, you should draw up a plan to allocate budget and resources.

Once the communication plan is completed, an activity plan is drawn up in the form of a simple table. The activity plan is continuously updated during the course of the project. The plan provides an overview of what is to be done at different stages of the project, which target groups are involved, who is responsible and the status of each activity - planned, ongoing or completed.

The sample table can be found in the remaining communication materials. Of course, the table can be customized with fewer or more columns (e.g. messages and comment fields).

How can the communication plan be evaluated and how can the impact of the activities be measured? In order to do this, it is necessary to think about how this can be done at an early stage of the plan: What do we want to know? How can we access that information?

  • How can we find out if something has happened to the target groups, if their level of knowledge, attitude or behavior has changed?
  • Have we followed the communication plan? Have we implemented the activities and reached the target groups?
  • What can we do better next time?

In all communication it is important to define your target groups, who do we want to reach with our communication. Thinking about what the project can lead to in a larger perspective will show the way to the most important target groups.

Targeting everyone is not a very good idea, you need to limit yourself. Different groups need different interventions, and not all target groups are equally important. In addition, you have to manage the activities.

To facilitate prioritization, you can first list everyone you want to communicate with and then divide them into primary and secondary audiences.

  • The primary target groups are the most important ones you want to actively reach with this particular message, they are the ones you focus on in the communication plan and they are the ones you will reach through your activities.
  • The secondary target groups are good to reach but they are not something you focus on or target activities to.

You can, of course, explore this further depending on what you want to achieve.

  • What are the needs and attitudes of the target groups on the issue in question? What situation do they find themselves in? What is the current state of communication with them? What do they know and what don't they know?
  • What should happen to the target group when you communicate with them? Should they know, think or do something?

To formulate the message, we can think about why the target groups should care about the project or activity. Only when we have captured the interest of the target group can we tell them more about the project and delve deeper.

The message should make the target audience want to know more, so it should be concise. Think about what your target audience currently knows so that your message and communication is at the right level.

Describe the message you want to give to each target group - the same message may not be suitable for all target groups. Do some target groups need more information than others?

Social channels

We focus mainly on LinkedIn, but also have accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We have a blog on LinkedIn and a Youtube channel. Make sure your organization (and preferably you) follow us there.

Recognize us on posts by mentioning us by tagging us (@viablecities) or using the hashtag #viablecities2030.

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Viable Cities is a strategic innovation program with the mission Climate neutral cities 2030 with a good life for all within the planetary boundaries. The program is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, Vinnova and Formas and is coordinated by KTH.

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