The aim of SMART-Plant’s dissemination and communication activities is to effectively disseminate information of the activities of the project and to communicate its outcomes to multiple audience including the media and the public. The objectives of the DCP are the following:
- To develop an effective dissemination and communication strategy
- To communicate and disseminate the SMART-Plant results and products/systems during and after the lifetime of the project
- To promote the SMART-Plant technologies and maintain a technology transfer program
- To ensure widespread use and awareness raising of the developed project‘s technologies
- To identify the main stakeholder types/categories with emphasis to identify and prioritize dissemination tools
- To specify important exploitation and marketing activities which will take place in order to attract potential customers for the SMART-Plant technologies
- To specify how the stakeholder panel will function
The four processes involved in the dissemination and communication strategy of the SMART-Plant Innovation Action
The dissemination and communication strategy defines a consistent approach to key target groups and will be based on a target group analysis with support of key stakeholders, including also language adaptation and content translation by the respective local partners. In this strategy, one of the major steps is to identify the groups which are ultimately affected or potentially interested in the results and technologies of the SMART-Plant project. The definition of the target groups will help to assess the appropriate type of participation of different stakeholders at successive stages of the strategy. For the SMART-Plant project, twelve (12) target groups have been identified. The target groups to be addressed are listed below:
- European Commission
- Customers/Water Utilities
- Academic community
- Other H2020 and FP7 related projects
- Relevant Water Groups
- Industrial sector
- Business network
- Strategic partners
- Decision makers and water authorities
- Potential end-users and supporters
The distinctive levels of the target groups
Table 2-2: Dissemination and Communication activities implemented in the SMART-Plant project
Table 2-3 provides an overview of how dissemination and communication activities will be used to reach and penetrate to the various target audiences / stakeholders.
Table 2-3a: Specifying target groups for the dissemination/communication activities
Table 2-3b: Specifying target groups for the dissemination/communication activities
THINK, PLAN, ACT - STRATEGICALLY
The dissemination and communication strategy aims to
- ensure that the vision, objectives, activities and results of the project become widely known and understood from a scientific and a technical point of view,
- deliver clear, concise messages to high-level stakeholders, decision-makers, and end-users, and
- develop an effective channel for the exploitation of the project’s findings and technologies.
In order to effectively deliver the messages to the targeted audience it is important to communicate the activities of the project from day one. In SMART-Plant we follow this principle and communication activities started before the official day of the beginning of the project. Printed and online articles in the Italian press have been published on March 2016 and an oral presentation regarding the project has been given on the 1st INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION & CONFERENCE ON WASTE MANAGEMENT, SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENT-RELATED PRODUCTS, SERVICES & TECHNOLOGY, in Muscat, Oman. The accounts of the communication tools already have been created and are ready to be launched. Furthermore, the process of think-plan-act will be continuously revised and fine-tuned in order to maximize stakeholder engagement and the project’s impact.
YOU CAN’T REACH EVERYONE
Specific target groups have been identified, as different audiences may view the project under different contexts. Target group identification was based on who is ultimately affected or potentially interested in the results and the technologies of the SMART-Plant project and potential customers. Four classes of target groups were created according to the interest and influence of the stakeholders. The classes, which comprise a total of twelve (12) target groups, are the following:
- a wide range of potentially interested stakeholders (e.g. the public, NGOs or relevant water groups),
- the scientific community,
- the policy makers, and
- potential end-users or customers, which are the most important target group of the communication and dissemination strategy of the SMART-Plant project.
A wide spectrum of partners is involved in the project, which ultimately provides the opportunity to create and establish a proportionally wide framework for the efficient exploitation of the project’s outcomes.
THINK ISSUE – NOT PROJECT
The SMART-Plant addresses a portfolio of technologies, which meet the contemporary demands of the water sector for environmental protection and resource recovery in wastewater management. The SMART-Plant project aspires to promote the concept of energy efficient wastewater resource recovery. This will ultimately reflect to the water and sewerage bills of people since the SMART-Plant will increase the profits from resource recovery and will decrease the operating expenses. So the issue that we will focus is that the SMART-plant technologies increase profitability of the users which will then be reflected to the public.
MAKE IT RELEVANT TO EVERYDAY LIFE
The messages conveyed through the dissemination activities will explain what will change with the SMART-Plant project and what solutions and benefits (economic, environmental, social, technological) SMARTechnologies are offering. The core message of the dissemination strategy will highlight the main overall target of the project, which is to validate and address to the market a portfolio of SMARTechnologies that, singularly or combined, can renovate and upgrade existing wastewater treatment plants and give the added value of instigating the paradigm change towards efficient wastewater-based bio-refineries. Nevertheless, this message will be properly adjusted to meet the specific needs and characteristics of each target group. Messages will be positive, persuasive, clear, simple and focused and will be expressed in scientific, technical, non-technical, political, or explanatory language, depending on the type of audience to which it is addressed. Extending this message to everyday people, SMART-Plant aims to decrease the water and sewerage bills that people receive. How this will be done? Through the integration of the SMART-Technologies.
The dissemination activities will overcome the traditional communication paradigms and make use of visualization tools, such as photos, graphs, infographics and animations. For example, a short (3-5 min) film of each technology will be produced for the SMART-Plant project.
What is more, dissemination strategies should shift towards the increasing usage of Internet-based social media, such as YouTube, Facebook or Instagram, and take advantage of the popularity of social networking. Furthermore, the leaflets and flyers will contain illustrations and visual representations which are catchy in order to trigger attention.
Figure 11‑1: An example of a word graph containing the relevant keywords of the project used in the project’s flyer.
GET INTO THE MINDSET OF THE MEDIA
The use of traditional media (daily newspapers, magazines, radio and TV) is a key instrument to increase awareness regarding the SMART-Plant project in local, national or international scale. Hence, it is critical to identify and approach media people that are relevant to the issues addressed by the project. Messages delivered from traditional media channels will be concise, avoiding technical details and scientific terms, as they are intended to large, but not specialized audiences. For examples, expressions such as “SMART-Tech means lower water utility bills for people”, “We can produce valuable materials from waste” etc. will be used in the media to attract attention, rather than complicated expressions which are of no interest to the public.
THINK GLOBAL – ACT LOCAL
Staying relevant at an international level requires keeping local audiences well informed regarding the project. Hence, informing local and regional audiences is a significant communication goal for the project. To this end, all partners are encouraged to disseminate the relevance of the project to their regional contacts. In addition, local traditional media channels, such as local newspapers or radios, would be in service. Local communities in every demonstration site will also be informed about the importance and benefits of the SMART-Plant technology with on-site notice boards. Moreover, as it has already been explained, in each meeting of the stakeholder’s panel local target groups shall be invited to participate in order to increase the impact at a local level. Finally, during the SMART-Plant project two open-day demonstration events in each SMART-Plant technology, five seminars in five countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, UK and Germany), two networking events and one conference will be organised. Local, regional, national and international stakeholders will be invited to participate in the events.
BUILD YOUR ‘BRAND’ AND REPUTATION
Design of comprehensive branding for the SMART – Plant project (including logo) and targeted activities and actions ensure a wide visibility and identification of the project for marketing-driven dissemination. The project will produce specific material to support marketing activities of the partners who are entering into the market with SMART technologies for the commercial roll-out.
In the SMART-Plant project, essential steps, online and not, have been included in the DCP to build a brand reputation.
- Facebook Page, Twitter profile, Instagram profile, LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel.
- Press release
- SMART-Plant project Events
- Electronic promotional material