The Earth Overshoot Day indicates the day when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that period. In 2020, due to the lockdowns, this overshoot marks 22 August, while last year was 19th July. Scary, right?
Since the ’70s, millions of people around the world mobilized to call for greater protection, but as we all know, the situation has only worsened throughout the decades.
Do you ask yourself what are you concretely doing to take an active part in fighting for your own home, your planet?
No, sharing a cool infographic on Instagram is not enough.
Last year, as part of my Master’s project, I coordinated a team and we worked as consultants for an NGO that promotes sustainable fishing across the world, and in this article I will take you through several months of consultancy, marketing social media campaigns and our successes. I am honestly very proud that we achieved such a positive impact on the Planet.

MANAGING FOR SOCIAL IMPACT CONSULTANCY PROJECT

Ethic Ocean is a French NGO established in 2006 and directed by Elisabeth Vallet, with a mission of encouraging good practices of professionals for worldwide preservation of the oceans and their resources.
Ethic Ocean focuses on the promotion of sustainable fishing, preventing overfishing to allow these creatures to maintain a healthy reproductive cycle.
From the initial meetings with the Manager, we were able to gather some insight on where to allocate our time to be as impactful as possible. We split up these mandatory tackle points into 6 things to keep in mind when coming up with projects for Ethic Ocean.
First — our entire purpose was to create awareness, and increase visibility and knowledge of Ethic Ocean and sustainable fishing
Second — we wanted to have a more international approach. Whether it was translating content or creating buzz around international events, such as Oceans Day, we tried to be as inclusive as possible.
Third — we needed the content and partnerships to be coherent with Ethic Ocean’s purpose and long-term goals.
Fourth — in order to promote sustainable fishing, the content we were creating needed to educate our audience and promote good habits.
Fifth — because Ethic Ocean is an association, their income strongly relies on promotional funding campaigns. Therefore our job was to figure out a way to help Ethic Ocean raise funds.
Sixth — there’s no awareness and education happening if the content isn’t interesting and appealing. We needed to catch the eye, especially when using visual social media platforms like Instagram.

To answer Ethic Ocean’s needs, our tasks corresponded to the 4-step journey here.
Step 1 was mandatory in order to attract an international audience. Prior to reaching out to them, we needed to make sure all of Ethic Ocean’s content, including website booklets and posts, would be translated into a maximum amount of languages.
Once the content was translated, we could start step 2 which focused on creating eye-catching posts that respond to today’s social media user’s expectations.
After creating the content, we needed platforms to push it on. So step 3 allowed to create short term partnerships for those one-time events, as well as thinking of long term organizations and individuals invested in the wellbeing of oceans.
Step 4 consisted of one final campaign, to help Ethic ocean start receiving financial capital, even after our own partnership comes to an end.

PROBLEM & SOLUTION 1
First, Ethic Ocean’s international exposure was very limited. In fact, Ethic Ocean communication platform such as its website, their PowerPoint presentation and educational brochures were all only offered in French. Additionally, the social media content was also mostly in French; minus a few posts here and there, with no coherent strategy. We immediately understood that the first gap to be filled was there. Secondly, Ethic Ocean was struggling to find international partners to help increase the NGO’s visibility and help spread awareness on sustainable fishing.
To answer these two constraints, we thought the fastest way to innovate their strategy would be to translate all the content, leveraging on our team’s mother tongue languages, from website to PowerPoint, and from brochure to social media posts. For social media, we focused on international events, such as Ocean’s Day (see above), and use it as a platform to increase awareness of sustainable fishing. Ethic Ocean was having a difficult time reaching a younger crowd, so we also created a World Oceans Day video featuring ourselves, and some of the efforts we were doing as students to help preserve the oceans. This video performed really well and received 10 times more views than the organisation’s previous post, which was a very good first step in increasing awareness and engagement on social media.

We also selected and contacted many micro-influencers who agreed to help us promote sustainable fishing on their own platforms. To be honest we were very pleasantly surprised with the positive response. Most of the micro-influencers we found were under the age of 30, which really shows this new generation’s interest in coming all together and play a role in saving our planet.

PROBLEM & SOLUTION 2
Another constraint was most likely the most difficult to challenge, as most of us had little to no experience in raising funds for an NGO. After discussing it with the management team and researching the problem, Lilo presented itself as a good option. Lilo is a search engine that one ad to their browser and every time you search for something on the internet, you collect a “drop”, which corresponds to funds that can only be donated to NGOs worldwide.
To really help Ethic Ocean collect some funds through Lilo, we needed an awareness campaign. So we created “LILO WEEK”, between July 20th and July 26th. This time, we wanted to engage our own social media following, so we translated a maximum amount of languages so each of us could use the one that suits them best. We divided our group into teams of 2 between Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Partnerships.
That way, we were able to find micro-influencers to help us promote Lilo to their followers.

These efforts paid off. As you can see on the graph below, Ethic Ocean received over 500 drops during Lilo Week. Even more importantly, the visibility of the platform was increasing worldwide, and we felt confident Ethic Ocean’s fan base was continuing to grow.

ACHIEVEMENTS (2020)

On June 2nd, Ethic Ocean partnered for the first time with non-food-related influencers. We chose surfers, as they too care about ocean preservation.
On June 8th, our ESCP team created its first video for Ethic Ocean, surpassing the organization’s usual engagement.
On July 13th, Ethic Ocean surpassed 1000 followers on Instagram for the first time ever.
Our last milestone was Lilo Week, the organization first funding campaign, from July 20th to July 26th.
Although a lot of our efforts will only show in the long term, we were able to get an idea of the impact we’ve had through Instagram.
Our translation and promotional efforts helped increase Ethic Ocean’s loyalty platform. During our partnership, the organization’s account gained 177 followers. That represents a 20.9% increase in just over 3 months and is quite substantial knowing Ethic Ocean’s Instagram dates back to early 2018.

During our final meeting with Ethic Ocean Management team, we had prepared to leave Ethic Ocean with a maximum amount of information and advice on how to continue its growth. We wrote a final document that included a situation analysis, challenges, strategies and projects.
We also included short and long-term partnerships recommendations of individuals and brands we reached out to on behalf of Ethic Ocean.

We also included a Strategic Marketing Plan, following these recommendations, to help Ethic Ocean build new methods to reach its long-term goal of being an internationally recognized NGO that helps raise awareness on why we should all fish sustainably.

We left the organisation with all the information it needed in order to thrive, ethically of course, in 2021.

Thank you for reading this and do not forget that even the smaller action has a positive impact on your home, this Planet.

A special mention goes to the team: Clara, Elena, Tatiana, Trisha, Seet, Marina, Shuang. Working from separate countries in Europe and China throughout the first lockdown was not easy but we managed to do a great job.

Marketing strategy and branding | ESCP Business School | I write about Luxury Fashion, Sustainability, Trends & Innovation. Linkedin: Nicole Serradura