Strategic Communications Planning

Business & Environment Initiative, Harvard Business School

Academia, Sustainability

Move important sustainability research out of academia and into industry practitioner communities where it can be utilized.

What We Did:
Develop customized communications plans for BEI faculty members

How We Did It:
Numerous faculty associated with Harvard Business School’s Business & Environment Initiative aim to communicate their research knowledge not just to students, but also to current industry professionals who can put it to immediate use. In order to recommend customized outreach strategies for these faculty, we began by reviewing their major areas of research and benchmarking their non-academic publishing and social media efforts. With coordination and guidance from BEI staff, we interviewed the faculty regarding their goals, willingness to engage in different outreach tactics, and availability to do so. Next we researched and contacted existing channels, influencers and publications that might be useful in achieving the identified communications goals. From there we outlined an assortment of strategic and tactical options that could be completed with the help of on-campus or contract resources. Following feedback from faculty members and BEI staff, we finalized and documented communications plans that included high-level strategic intentions, as well as tactical details such as media contacts and best practices for social-media engagement.

Some of the outcomes of this strategic work include an invitation to a new advisory role with a major, multi-stakeholder effort on food waste; invitations to contribute to industry publications and newsletters; industry publication of a feature article about an on-campus workshop; establishment of new on-campus relationships in support of BEI; a new content-development initiative; and others.

“Bart’s knowledge of the sustainability space and media relations was invaluable to this project,” said BEI director, Jennifer Nash. “It’s clear he knows the issues and the playing fields, and this allowed him to get up to speed quickly on our faculty expertise and their varied needs. I was impressed by the clarity he brought to the strategic process. Bart’s also delightful to work with, and I look forward to future projects together.”