Year- Round Water Conservation and Sustainability
January 30, 2020 by Greta
We are blessed in our region to have a generous aquifer, glorious tap water, and a fairly dependable four seasons, complete with snow and rain. But even so, we must still act as responsible stewards of our natural resources. Our Rogue Heart team has been able to share in lots of learning through our work with the City of Spokane Water Department, about what it means to protect our water sources, to plan for late summer drought conditions, and generally adopt helpful habits that support our region’s goals for conservation. We were contracted to continue the long-running “Slow the Flow” conservation campaign in 2019, and the adventure continues into 2020 (we’ve gotten to add in stormwater protection messaging now, too!).
Last year, we had the privilege of working with homeowners like Ryan & Mandy (pictured here) who were actively participating in the SpokaneScape rebate program, as well as other local homeowners and community members interested in low-irrigation landscaping and water conservation practices in general. While we aimed to reach customers of the City of Spokane Water Department primarily, our reach extended well beyond city limits and into the wider Inland Northwest region.
The key initiatives of focus within the campaign centered around general lifestyle changes to help reduce water use, as well as increasing participation in the SpokaneScape rebate program which incentivizes homeowners to replace traditional turf lawns with native, drought-tolerant plants and water-smart irrigation systems with a credit to their water bill based on amount of square footage replaced. From early spring to early fall, we shared images to highlight the variety of creative and vibrant drought-tolerant landscaping ideas, and produced videos to educate and celebrate on the topic. In addition, radio spots were sound-designed for use on Pandora and Spotify, crafted with the sounds of summer and the opportunities afforded by a lower-maintenance yard. All of the media was implemented as a multi-faceted, long-term marketing plan to disseminate the content utilizing both paid and organic marketing on social media.
Richard, the now famous “English Landscaper” who we featured in many videos, was one of several gardening experts and certified professionals who’s primary focus is guiding the design, installation and healthy maintenance of native, drought-tolerant plants that not only look beautiful, but have a low-impact on our area’s fragile water resources. The theme of less lawn / more life is made possible with the help of industry specialists, as well as passionate individuals who are committed to reducing their waster use both inside and outside of the home.
The lifeblood of the entire campaign was narrative-driven creative, leaning heavily on the power of the human voice to instigate action, interest, and general awareness. The public participated in the campaign in a variety of ways, including the water-smart landscaping photo contest (won by Randy, pictured above). We complemented videos framed around the stories of residents and gardening experts with interesting and timely imagery alongside industry-related or ecologically educational copy. Our strategy was also informed by and aimed to support the City’s existing community events and educational outreach, as well as include every type of potential water conservation participant; from those who have already committed to lifestyle changes to net new folks freshly informed about the Slow the Flow initiatives. We measured the results of our digital marketing efforts in tandem with actual water usage numbers provided by the City of Spokane and have been delighted by the results and positive impact on this scale. The year’s performance even went on to win a PNWS-AWWA Communication Awards for our beloved Water Department! 🧡
After a successful and invigorating inaugural year of partnership, we are excited to be continuing our collaboration with the City of Spokane’s Water Department with a focus on outdoor water conservation efforts, but we are also expanding the areas of effort and timeline of outreach to include year-round action. Throughout the winter season we can turn our attention to reducing water use indoors, keeping neighborhood storm drains clear of ice and snow, and looking ahead toward spring planting designs, yard irrigation, and water-smart gardens. As the rainy season approaches, we will be sharing more content around stormwater at the city level and some of the many ways that everyone can actively participate in improving natural rainfall’s journey from the road to the Spokane River. Follow along with the campaign by following on Instagram and Facebook, and keep an eye out for a campaign rebrand in spring of 2020!