How to Market Your Conservation Stories and Campaigns with Robin Moore and Arnelle Lozada of Re:wild
Effective conservation is about marketing. Join two professionals who bring photography and messaging together to reach global audiences for big impact, and learn strategies you can use in your own efforts at home starting today.
The photographs we create are just the start of a conservation photo story.
Really, it's about what you do with those photographs to create engagement, awareness, understanding and action around a conservation cause.
So what does the rest of that action look like?
What do you actually do to put your images to work?
What are the strategies?
And how do social media play a role in all of this?
Well, I'm so excited that today our guests are two geniuses on the marketing and communications team of Re: Wild – Arnelle Lozada and Robin Moore.
Re: Wild is an organization founded by renowned conservation scientists, and has Leonardo DiCaprio as a founding board member.
The organization brings together indigenous peoples, local communities, influential leaders, NGOs, governments, private companies, and of course, the public to protect and Re: Wild habitat around the globe.
Robin D. Moore is the Vice President of communications and marketing. You may recognize his name because he's an incredibly talented conservation photographer who's been at the helm of innovative campaigns to raise the profile of overlooked species
Arnelle Lozada is the Senior Manager of influencer and social engagement. She's also a photographer and a content creator, and overall genius at producing engaging content that helps the efforts of Re: Wild campaigns spread far and wide.
If you are genuinely interested in putting your images or films to work for conservation impact, then this is a must listen conversation. You'll walk away with tips, knowledge nuggets, strategies that you can put to work in your own campaigns for conservation issues that you care about starting right now. (Or, well, after you listen.)
Episode 089: How to Market Your Conservation Stories and Campaigns with Robin Moore and Arnelle Lozada of Re:wild
(Digitally transcribed, please forgive any typos)
We often talk on this podcast about how the photographs that we create are just the start of a conservation photo story. Really, it's about what you do with those photographs to create engagement, awareness, understanding and action around a conservation cause. The photos or the films that you build are basically a springboard. So what does the rest of that action look like? What do you actually do to put your images to work? What are the strategies? And how do social media play a role in all of this? Well, I'm so excited that today our guests are two geniuses on the marketing and communications team of Re: Wild. Re: Wild is an organization founded by renowned conservation scientists, and has Leonardo DiCaprio as a founding board member. And the organization brings together indigenous peoples, local communities, influential leaders, NGOs, governments, private companies, and of course, the public to protect and Re: Wild habitat around the globe.
0:01:02.4 JH: Robin D. Moore is the Vice President of communications and marketing for Re: Wild. And you may recognize his name because he's actually been brought up several times on this podcast. Robin is an incredibly talented conservation photographer who's been at the helm of these really innovative campaigns to raise the profile of overlooked species, primarily frog species. And his book, In Search of Lost frogs holds a permanent place on my bookshelf. And Arnelle Lozada is the Senior Manager of influencer and social engagement. She's also a photographer and a content creator, and overall genius at producing engaging content that helps the efforts of Re: Wild campaigns spread far and wide. Now, we had an amazing conversation about the role of communication and marketing strategies for conservation efforts, and what it looks like to build a campaign and a whole lot more. So if you are genuinely interested in putting your images or films to work for conservation impact, then this is a must listen convo, and I promise you are going to just love it. You are sure to walk away with tips, with knowledge nuggets, with strategies that you could put to work in your own campaigns for conservation issues that you care about. Let's dive in.
0:02:23.4 JH: Welcome to Impact, the conservation photography podcast. I'm your host, Jaymi Heimbuch. And if you are a visual storyteller with a love for all things wild, then you're in the right place, from conservation to creativity, from business to marketing, and everything in between, this podcast is for you, the conservation visual storyteller who is ready to make an impact. Let's dive in.
0:02:54.3 JH: Robin and Arnelle, thank you so much for being on Impact, the conservation photography podcast, I am very excited to get to talk about a favorite topic of mine, which is marketing inside of conservation, and you two are experts in your various realm, so thank you for nerding out on this topic with us.
0:03:13.6 Robin D. Moore: Thanks for having us, great to be here.
0:03:15.6 Arnelle Lozada: Yes, thank you so much.
0:03:17.2 JH: You got it. So before we really dive into all of the fun conversation around conservation and marketing, can you tell us a little bit about who each of you are inside of Re: Wild?
0:03:30.4 RM: Do you wanna go first Arnelle?
0:03:32.7 AL: Sure. Hi. So my name is Arnelle, as he mentioned, and I am the Senior Manager of influencer and social engagements at Re: Wild, formerly Global Wildlife Conservation, and also the unofficial in-house creative content producer. So I produce a lot of our visual content, whether it's videos, infographics, carousels, things like that, that would be partially my hand.
0:03:56.8 JH: Awesome. And Robin, what about you?
0:04:00.5 RM: Yes. I am Vice President of communications and marketing at Re: Wild. I've worn a few different hats since I joined when we were Global Wildlife Conservation eight years ago, but I've been heading up the comms and marketing for the past several years, including the rebrand to Re: Wild.
0:04:19.7 JH: Awesome. So Robin, you come also from a conservation photography background, and so you've kinda... Have you brought that into your role as VP marketing communications as well?
0:04:31.1 RM: Definitely. In my former life, I was also a biologist, so I actually started out studying Biology, and then evolved into photographer, and that really yeah, developed my interest in storytelling, and I think ultimately yeah, that's what our currency is in terms of marketing communications, is just stories, how do we find and tell the stories that are connecting with our audiences and connecting them with the work that we do, which is often far away and on things that people are never gonna encounter or experience. So yeah, that for me is big challenge that I embrace is trying to figure out how we crack that nut.
0:05:18.2 JH: Yeah. Well, and you've done an exceptional job of that in so many ways, you and the whole team. I'm thinking of some campaigns from a while back like Romeo the Frog, and even the storytelling that you put into your... Well, ultimately it was a book, but trying to go out and find these frog species that hadn't been seen in the wild forever, that takes some serious storytelling to get support behind rare frogs. So can you tell us a little bit about how you crafted some of those campaigns as well, years ago?
0:05:55.7 RM: Yeah, for sure. And I will give a shout out to an incredible team that we work with, Lindsey, Devin, Kerry. And Lindsey was really a driver behind Romeo the Frog, so you'll hear their names as we talk. Yeah, actually, the search for lost frogs, I stumbled into that, I would say. I was working at Conservation International, I was heading up the amphibian program, and it was around the time that we were getting a handle on the fact that 2000 Amphibian species were threatened with extinction. Part of my job was trying to get people to support that. And I realized early on that it's hard to get people to care about those kind of stats, like 20, 200, 2000, it was like monopoly money to people, it's like, What does that mean? And frogs are... A lot of people... Kids love frogs, but when you try to get people to empathize with frogs, it's a tricky... They don't have eyelashes, they do have big doe eyes, so people just.
0:06:56.0 RM: A lot of people are [0:06:57.3] ____ out by them. So it was like, Well, how do we get people sort of to care? And we came up with this idea of, Well, what if... Some frogs had been starting to re-appear that we thought had gone, and it was sort of... Felt also a kind of a glimmer of hope in this sort of bleak landscape. And I think people get sort of a little disempowered when they just get the sort of bad news, when they feel like they can't do anything about it. It's sort of like hopelessness isn't really a motivating force. So we decided, Why don't we do something a little more upbeat, positive, but also tap into that sort of sense of adventure, discovery that I think people love? So we came up the idea to have these sort of most wanted frogs, put together a poster, did poster... Sort of poster species, and really sort of connect people with... People love lists, so we did top 10. So it's sort of a digestible kind of... People can then connect with the individual, like the golden toad. You can tell the stories of the individual species. And I think people connect more with that individual approach. And then we were also able to support expeditions. And that was key, having actual boots in the mud going out, finding these... Or looking for, at least, the odds were pretty long.
0:08:11.7 RM: I remember being really nervous when we launched it, 'cause it did generate a lot of sort of media attention. People wanted to know, "How many of these are we gonna find?" I was like, "Probably none." I was really nervous. I was like, Is this gonna be a big flop? But it was incredible to me. And I had the whole support of the comms team at CI at the time. They really helped elevate it, and showed me it sort of had that potential for communications, for storytelling. And then over six months, when these expeditions went out, it was just incredible. It snowballed into this media kind of, I think... It just generate more and more attention, then we started getting these rediscoveries. And so we had this really sort of powerful platform for storytelling that I think... Yeah, it... For me, it was a big sort of learning curve in the power of story, and getting people engaged. And then through that sort of lens of adventure discovery, we were able to tell those other stories, but it was sort of a Trojan horse approach. You're coming with a sort of shiny, exciting package, and then once you've got people's attention, it's like, By the way, these are the lucky ones, but there's so many species going extinct, and we need to really take that seriously. So yeah.
0:09:29.2 JH: So with that kinda big campaign, that big learning curve, like you said, you had this pretty incredible experience about what works and maybe what doesn't work in getting attention from people who may otherwise not care about this issue, these species, this topic. What learning experiences from that particular campaign have you brought into your work now for Re: Wild, and in specifically, figuring out what stories tend to land, or how to approach storytelling to make sure that you grab that attention?
0:10:05.1 RM: Yeah. Good question. It's always character-driven. You need a face, you need a good character. And I think we really sort of with Romeo, we hit a jackpot there in terms of not only was it one species. It was one individual frog that was the loneliest frog in the world, and had been in a tank by himself for 10 years, and his crooks were growing weaker. It was this really sort of moving story where we could connect individuals with an individual. And I think that was my biggest learning sort of curve. The more you can individualize the story and get people rooting for an individual, you sort of form that emotional tie. And I think that was the case of Romeo. We really... We built out a match.com profile, and really individualized... Yeah, that. In a way, I guess the... You don't wanna anthropomorphise, so we were careful how... When to sort of be scientific and when to have a little fun with it. But I think you need to have fun with it to get people... You can't always be earnest and worthy, and you have to have a little fun with it to get people engaged.
0:11:11.9 RM: And I think what was interesting there was Romeo, again, just took off. It got more media hits... And this, to me, is sort of... It's a travesty of... This should not be the case, but it got more media hits than the UN report on a million species at risk. And it's like, That should be the big story, but it's not getting the attention that it should. So for me, the learning curve is like... And the sort of the challenges, How do you take a story like Romeo, and use it to get people to care about the bigger picture? And that... It's always sort of... Yeah, we're still... I think we're still exploring, How do you really do that? How do you connect the two? And people still write to us asking about Romeo. It just captured people's hearts. And I think part of it was just learning to have a bit of fun and not take ourselves too seriously. I think that's... Because people respond well to humor and different ways of telling the stories. You don't always need to just... It's not about shouting the same thing louder. [chuckle]
0:12:15.5 JH: Yeah. Well, I think that that's one of the things that I've definitely learned to embrace as well, is you... 'cause I come from a background of writing about environmental topics and watching what the page views were doing, and writing something that I thought everybody should care about, this long in-depth piece, and then nobody clicks on it, and then you write something really dumb, like a list, and it gets a million page views. And one of the things that I definitely have learned to embrace is that idea of try not to take ourselves so seriously so that we can connect with people and bring them into a more serious conversation. And it kind of requires some of us who take this really, really seriously, it requires us to bring it down a notch and use things like match.com or these more mainstream popular platforms, which Arnelle brings me to you, because you have a job position that was basically...
0:13:10.7 JH: Didn't exist, was unthinkable 15 years ago, and now it's this critical role that you play. And that is of really figuring out how to use social media and influencer status to bring attention to things. So how does social media come into play when you're trying to connect an audience into a big issue like this? When you're thinking about the big picture topics that you really want people to care about, but that are hard to relate to, how does your role inside of social media start to suss out the entry points into that conversation?
0:13:47.5 AL: Again, like Robin was saying, shoutout to our amazing team Lindsey and Devin who are incredible writers and Kerry as well, who helps with so much of the writing, that really is the foundation to so much of what I do, in terms of the visual part of the creative content production, but really, I think, to echo what Robin was saying, when we're thinking about these creative social media campaigns, we really have to figure out ways to make it personal.
0:14:14.8 AL: Because people care about things that are personal to them, people protect things that they love, they don't protect scientific facts. So, if we're preaching these scientific facts, it's often going into an echo chamber that we're preaching to the choir, and there's only a small percentage of the population that can actually understand what is actually being said. So, how can we bring more people into the fold and make it more personal for them? And that's... A lot of that is, what is our call to action? What can people do? What is the actual, the tangible takeaway that they can take from the campaign that makes it so that they can then take what they've learned and what they've listened to and what they've watched and apply it to something, to their everyday life. That's the first I think, step towards making it personal is like we might be talking about Tasmanian Devils in Australia, which is across the world from so many people, but how do we make it so that the story of the Tasmanian Devils and rewilding the Tasmanian Devils then comes back and it's actually relatable to people here in the States?
0:15:17.1 AL: But I think that's definitely the challenge that we face so many times. But again, focusing in on these individual species and being able to tell their stories and letting people connect with them and Tasmanian Devils are easy because they're cute and they're furry and they're very sweet. They're definitely very charismatic, it's really trying to make it personal, because we've seen the ability of social media to galvanize people, it's really been able to give people that sort of agency to take power in their own lives, so it's essentially like... When we're story-telling, we really wanna give the power to the people and center the audience as much as we can. We're telling the story of these amazing species, but also how do we bring that, the person that's actually watching into the story, how do they become a part of that narrative? So it's always trying to find those bridges and how to tell the story in a way that makes the person feel empowered to be able to do something to save the species or to make a difference for these communities abroad.
0:16:19.8 JH: So I'd love to ask you about that engagement portion of your work. So you're thinking about, Okay, I need to figure out, especially partnering up with the writers behind the scenes like Lindsey, and you need to think about like, Okay, well, what visuals are we gonna pair with that, how are we gonna do a call to action that makes people feel empowered? And then how do you measure that engagement portion, is it resonating with people, is it landing? Do we need to pivot a little bit to build more engagement?
0:16:48.8 AL: Yeah, definitely, I think different campaigns have different metrics, and I'm sure Robin can speak to this as well, but there's... Sometimes the metric will be email sign-ups, newsletter sign-ups, sometimes it'll be getting people to sign a petition or sign an open letter, sometimes it will be getting people to donate, and sometimes it'll just be awareness building and brand building.
0:17:12.9 AL: So I think just kind of defining your campaign goals prior to the start of your campaign, then will allow you to be able to accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. So, if it's purely brand building and engagement, then we're looking at social media stats, we're looking at shares, saves, views, things like that, but if you're looking at obviously petition sign-ups and you're looking for people to donate, then it's the dollars and the signatories that count. So, really the metrics vary from campaign to campaign, and it's on a case by case basis, depending on what we're actually trying to accomplish, but yeah, it's always a moving target sometimes these, the objectives of these campaigns and how we measure it.
0:17:52.8 RM: Yeah, I think that's right on, Arnelle. I think we always start with that goal, I think sometimes people do communications without knowing what they're communicating to who. It's very easy just to sort of throw stuff out there, so we always try to really start... And I think one of the things we've really been leaning into is using communications and marketing sort of as a conservation tool in its own right, so with the goal being to change a policy or a decision. And one example of that would be... And we've been doing more of these campaigns. One example would... Early example, I guess, that we got involved in was in Jamaica, there was a threat to the country's largest protected area, Goat islands, and by this black listed corrupt company who wanted to come in and build a transshipment hub, and there it's very clear, the call to action is save this protected area that's protected by law.
0:18:50.5 RM: And then we sort of identified the audience who... The government of Jamaica, and then the influencer audiences. So, are we gonna get through the government of Jamaica? Will we get the world to show that they're watching? And we tapped into things like tourism that are big revenue generators and people saying, "Well, why do we... Why do people visit Jamaica? It's 'cause of the culture, the nature the... We don't come to see a big transshipment hub. And so I think sort of being very clear about the goal and the sort of strategy and tactics to get there is sort of where we start, and then everything sort of flows from there and you figure out who... And then a big part of Arnelle's job is also who do we engage, right? Who are the influencers?
0:19:35.8 RM: So for Jamaica it was Ziggy Marley. Him lending his voice really brought weight to both within Jamaica, I think, especially within Jamaica, but also internationally. So I think part of that secret sauce is connecting the dots between partners on the ground, to the voices we really want to, need to amplify that don't have a platform, identifying what sort of narrative is being pushed out by the powers that be, identifying what narrative we sort of need to... Sort of other side of the story we need to tell, and in a way that's gonna resonate with those audiences. Yeah, and then just giving people a way to take that action.
0:20:18.1 JH: Yeah. I love that you brought up the who and the importance of that. It's something that I think it's overlooked a lot, especially when you're an individual conservation photographer with a local at-home topic, it's easy to kinda jump into something, thinking, "Oh, I'm gonna take a bunch of pictures, I'm gonna work with this non-profit, and we'll make everybody care." But unless you've really identified that who in the audience, it's questionable exactly how effective you may be. It may be sort of like a spray and pray approach to conservation. I would love to find out how the two of you think about or approach discovering the who, and then not only discovering the who, but then discovering what makes 'em tick so that you can talk to them.
0:21:11.7 RM: I think it's a really good question. It's actually... I think it's really, really hard. We wanna talk to everyone. It's really hard to try and narrow that down. In a way, it's like, "Well, why can't I just talk to everyone?" But I think it is important. We've been doing a lot of sort of persona building, and we've identified personas that we feel like we should be talking to. I think it depends on what we're trying to do, but it does help to define, "This is the persona that will probably care about this issue, whether it's a self-improver, the intersectional environmentalist, they're influential in these spheres, so if we can engage them, these other people will care. So it's identifying the sort of connection, connectivity. And I think increasingly, the intersectional audience is so vital, and those in that space are so vital, because it is all so connected. We can't be talking about conservation without talking about social issues and social justice.
0:22:15.5 RM: And then I think it's also connected that we're really sort of committed, also, to figuring out how we give voice and engage those who maybe have historically felt sort of... Don't know how to get engaged or... So that's part of it, and figuring out then... And a lot of it is then getting input from people in these spaces so that it's not us trying to figure out how we talk to the people that we wanna reach. So we really try to... Our model is partnerships. Everything we do is in partnerships. So we're always looking to our partners to tell us. We work a lot with indigenous peoples in the Amazon. We looked at them to, "How do you wanna be portrayed? How do you want your story to be told?" It's not up to us to tell them how we think it should be told. So I think our value-added is we can help to hone it for an intentional audience what we think will sort of resonate.
0:23:13.5 RM: But I think, yeah, it is a case of identifying. And again, if we're doing a campaign around a place, part of it might be homing in on what audience is gonna care about that place or this issue. Is it the tourists who've been there or who go there, who have a connection there? So I think it's always case by case. So homing in on an audience, and then figuring out if that audience... Like if you get people a certain core audience really engaged, then it has that halo effect where it would start to... Maybe other people start to see it. Yeah, I think it's one of the most challenging things is really figuring out who you're talking to.
0:23:52.4 AL: And to add to that, I just... I think it's really cool just doing what we do, just because I personally am a person that doesn't come from an academic or scientific background. I'm one of a few on our staff, maybe the only one that doesn't come from that background. And so oftentimes, when we're creating content or even campaigns, I ask myself, "Would I listen to this? Would I... Would this move me?" And obviously, I don't represent the entire demographic or audience that we're trying to hit, but I represent some. And so I love that we have leadership that trusts us enough to take risks in our storytelling to be able to speak to new audiences, because I think that... So many non-profits don't have that freedom, don't have that liberty to just tell stories in a way that is emotionally evocative.
0:24:46.0 AL: And so since we have the freedom to do that and the ability to do that, I think that we're able to tell stories to an audience that is like me. Preaching to the choir, we all know, is not effective, so how can we bring more people into the fold and tell stories in a way that is compelling to a new audience, people that might not know anything about conservation or people that might be on the cusp and know a little bit, but are... Really want to learn more. And like what Robin was saying, yeah, identifying those personas has been super helpful, because then we can try to figure out if we're telling the story in a way that actually connects with those particular audiences. So it's been really helpful.
0:25:26.1 RM: Yeah, we also take advantage of all the tools out there for analytics. We're able to really gather data as we go. And we look at posts like, for pride month, we did Pride in the Wild. Probably our most engaged with post over the last year. Some people slamming it, some people praising it. But to me, that's great. It's a conversation starter. It's like you tapped into something there that people care about, either way, but people care about it. So I think we also do a lot. And Carrie has been really working on our email strategy. And again, we just get really good sort of data every time we... We do them weekly now. Your Weekly Wild. Every week we can see what people are opening, what people are clicking on, how people are converting. So I think through the social media and through our emails and through our campaigns, each time we're sort of... We're learning what people are responding to and who and what they're doing. So we use that to sort of guide us as well. People are not responding to something that we think is important. It's like, how do we get people to engage with that? Is it, again, that sort of Trojan horse approach, where we post a picture of a cute animal, which people invariably engage with, and then use that sort of to bring people into a bigger story, or whatever it is, finding that that way in for people through the analytics and seeing what are engaging with or... What's sort of stopping people scrolling.
0:27:00.1 JH: Yeah. Oh yeah. Okay. So stopping scrolling, I wanna dive into utilizing different platforms and what that looks like. But before we do, Arnelle, I have another who question for you, which is, part of your role is working with influencers. How do you identify who it is that you're gonna partner with in that kinda influencer setting, and who's gonna resonate with people on certain campaigns?
0:27:22.2 AL: Yeah. Totally. So I think historically, we've always really focused in on people that have a certain affinity for a place or a species, if that individual already has expressed interest or shared content or has been an advocate for a particular places or species that's obviously a very natural tie-in. But then also, who are their audiences. Are their audiences people that we want to tap into? Are their audiences people that are in our personas list? If that's the case, then we definitely strategically really need to lean in hard to those people, but I think especially with the rebrand, it's really been kind of new and exciting in that we've been trying to broaden our audience, and we've emphasized this importance of meeting people where they are and making conservation accessible to a wider audience. And so now we're really starting to explore this idea of tapping into influencers who may not have already been strong advocates for the environment or a species or a place, and figuring out how we can use... Utilize their story and even their journey towards this side, their journey towards caring for people and planet in a way that they may not have already been aware of, using their journey to inspire others to take that same journey.
0:28:48.1 AL: So yeah, I think we're really starting to kind of broaden the net, cast a wider net, obviously still in a strategic manner, but making sure that we are opening the conversation up so that people can actually, like we've been mentioning, feel empowered to do something. Because if you're only using influencers and people of influence that have already been strong advocates, some people might be put off by that 'cause they'll say, "Well, I haven't been an advocate for this cause for that long, and I don't know enough." But we've all gotta start somewhere and so I think as long as we're choosing specific influencers, for example, we've taken influencers on various trips to learn about projects on the ground, and it's been really amazing, because we wanna be able to give the influencer the ability to tell the story that is... In a way that is natural to them and will actually resonate with their audience, because it's one thing to give influencers content that you've created to post, but oftentimes, that content won't resonate as strongly with their audience as something that that influencer has created natively or has created themselves, and we kind of have to give influencers because they are artists, and people follow them for a specific reason because they trust them, we have to kind of give them the ability to tell the story in a way that feels natural to them.
0:30:11.8 AL: And so taking these influencers on these trips has really been amazing, because we've been able to bring them to these projects on the ground, meet the species, meet the people that are actually working on these places and these animals, and let them tell the stories in a way that's organic to them and their audience. And so we went to Cuba, for example, to tell the story of the Cuban crocodile, and we brought influencers that were from or around that region and were able to kind of connect. And what was amazing about that is when we actually brought those influencers to the ground, it was a very clear sort of show of how influential influencers can actually be but there was... There are partners on the ground that were trying to re-introduce Cuban crocodiles back into the wild for quite of the time. And as soon as we brought these influencers and people caught wind of that, they were actually able to get the permits to re-introduce these crocs pretty quickly. So yeah, just being able to kind of leverage their influence on social media scale has been able... Has really been amazing in terms of being able to galvanize the internet audience and the audience of the World Wide Web, but also moving actual... The needle on the ground.
0:31:30.7 JH: That's really interesting. And, I mean, Robin, you've had experience as a photographer photographing influencers and celebrities for campaigns. And I'm kinda curious, to bring it back a little bit to the visual side of things and that visual content creation and strategizing the visuals that you're gonna plan for these campaigns, especially with influencers, you've had the experience of slogging around in mud and jungles, looking for the celebrity, which is a frog, and working with biologists and photographing in that kind of setting, and then you're photographing in a much more studio, stylized setting with celebrities. What is that like as a conservation photographer to sort of toggle between styles and genres, yet always have that kinda conservation aim?
0:32:19.0 RM: Very stressful.
0:32:20.6 RM: I find the studio shoots with the celebrities quite stressful, 'cause you're always sort of... Frogs will give you all the time in the world, but I always feel I'm on a tight timeline, and then you have all the studio lighting and stuff that you have to get right on the spot, right? So it's like you have this window to nail it. I think the challenging part is figuring out how we yeah, make it so sort of relatable to people, and I am always sort of trying to juggle that, like what's the right way to represent the wildlife and the celebrities interacting with the wildlife, recognizing there's a lot of sensitivities around that, especially primates. Like there's those sort of challenges with people going and taking selfies with primates in the wild, the last thing we want to do is sort of to perpetuate this idea that it's fun to go on and hold these animals. With reptiles with... I did a shoot with Eiza González where she had a tarantula, she was willing to put on her face and walk across her face, we got quite a striking image, but people seems to be okay with that, 'cause I don't think people are gonna go out and try and replicate that, there's not a challenge there. So I think... We got Daniel Craig to help us launch the search for lost species.
0:33:36.5 RM: And I think for whatever reason it helps sort of it raises the profile if you get somebody like that involved, right? To sort of be a spokesperson. So I think what I was trying to figure out, yeah, who are the logical ones who were or are gonna resonate with people, but I think... As Arnelle said, we've been really trying to move also more into getting these people actually on the ground because it's... You can do a studio shoot, and I did one with Suki Waterhouse and a binturong that got a lot of, a lot of sort of engagement, a lot of attraction and we work with on protecting binturong habitats, so we're able to make that sort of connection. People did approach us, "How can I support binturongs?" So we see that sort of direct tie, but I don't think anything can quite match getting them out there. So yeah, it's been great. Arnelle and I went to Cuba, and just trying to get that more authentic sort of people in action, so getting the influencers actually releasing the crocodiles into the wild like that, is I think where it really has power.
0:34:36.9 RM: And also trying to get... Another approach we've been taking, and so we launched Re: Wild with Leonardo DiCaprio, who obviously has a massive platform and he is just a very powerful voice in this space, and we've really seen the power he can have just from one post, really catalyzing. And one of the things that we were able to do for the launch of Re: Wild was he turned his Instagram platform over for a day to a biologist in the Galapagos to talk about reintroducing species. So that's something we really wanna actually really try and do more of when we do campaigns, is turn over the influencers platforms to who we think are the real influencers on the ground, having real influence and give them that platform that they deserve for their work. So I think we're evolving sort of our strategy around that to see how do we really engage celebrities, ambassadors, influencers in that way? And the visuals. Yeah, again, it's sort of like getting that thumb-stopping content.
0:35:42.4 RM: So I think a couple of the images I got off Eiza Gonzalez, have just been really sort of, I think powerful in getting people to sort of stop and take notice, and then I think what the trick is how do we then translate that into real engagement and real impact for the species and the places.
0:36:00.5 JH: This question is by no means disrespectful to the incredible influencers who are willing to use their platforms to promote conservation, but does it ever just piss you off that people don't care without a celebrity to say care about this?
0:36:17.5 RM: Yep.
0:36:20.6 AL: Yes, yeah, I think there's also a nuance to that because some people just don't, are completely unaware and just don't have the knowledge or education to be completely aware enough to care. So yes, absolutely but also I think yeah, a big part of using the celebrities and influencers is tapping into that broader range of people who probably had no idea in the first place.
0:36:50.8 RM: So it is an interesting sort of dance because I think there's sort of the things that have elevated the celebrities to celebrity status, I feel sometimes that there could be a clash of values there with what we're trying to promote and do, but I think you can't ignore that that's what people, a lot of people that we are trying to reach care about, and it is who they listen to. It is sort of hard-wired, so it's frustrating, but that we can't just put up something really important without the celebrity or the... You do have to meet people where they are, as Arnelle said. And if where they are is following Kim Kardashian, then if you can get your content in her feed, then you're reaching them in a way that you're not gonna just by, again, shouting louder and hoping that they eventually hear.
0:37:40.0 JH: Yeah, I think everything that you are going through on this huge scale with Re-wild and with big name or named celebrities is something that no matter who listens to this episode can take home with them on any conservation campaign that they're working on inside of their own areas because once you do identify someone who has influence in your area, and someone may be outside of that preaching the quieter or queer or choir realm, if you can bring them into that journey with you, and maybe that's just someone who has status in your community or your town, or maybe it's a city hall member, or maybe it's a captain of the high school football team, whatever, or someone who has kind of status, if you can bring them into the adventure, into the journey and have them genuinely take part and create content around that visuals, then there's a lot more progress that can be made, even if it does mean embracing something that might not necessarily align with your values or what you think should... What people should care about or whatever, there's the reality of what people do care about, and embracing that and using that as a tool, I think it's a lesson learned.
0:38:50.0 RM: A 100%. I think that's the take home. You're... Yeah, identifying your audience and somebody influential there, and it could be a local football player, and I think it's important, like we do not moral shame people, and I think a big impediment to or of people engaging is here, is the fear of being called a hypocrite. It's like, "Well, how can you call yourself if you fly, or how can you call yourself if you eat meat, or how can you... You know...
0:39:15.6 RM: I think we're all hypocrites from the moment we wake up and take a breath, right? Like, let's get over it, I think it's better to have two billion people doing it imperfectly than 200 people doing it perfectly, right? We want people just to engage and sort of pitting ourselves against each other people who are trying to do something good, and sort of criticizing them for a lifestyle choice that is harmful, I think, isn't helpful. It's not advancing our cause. It's playing into the hands of the big corporations that are out there doing the real harm. And I think a tricky balance is, is like how do you sort of balance that individual responsibility with the systemic change that's needed? 'cause we're all in the system. We're all sort of in the system. And I think part of it, so when people are like, what can I do?
0:40:00.5 RM: It's like, what can I do to change this system? Because I wanna be able to order stuff from Amazon, but it comes in five boxes, are we asking the individual to stop shopping from Amazon? Are we asking Amazon like, hey, maybe go easy on the packaging? And how do we sort of connect that and get individuals engaged in a way that we're not putting all this onus on them, we're not saying you have to do this, to solve all these problems, but actually trying to engage them in a way that they feel part of the story part of the narrative, and part of sort of having agency to call those powers that be accountable to changing the systems that we're all a part of.
0:40:41.9 JH: Yeah, that's such a great topic to talk about, there was a really good podcast episode that was, I think it was a guest episode on Ologies. I'm gonna figure out which it was and put it in the show notes. But it was this great episode, where they kind of analyzed like, does it come down to individual actions? Or does it come down to systemic change, and the individual doesn't really matter. And they sort of analyzed and argued from both sides. And it was really amazing to think about, like, there are actions that we can take as individuals, and we wanna influence people to take those actions. But there's also big systemic change. And we need to also encourage these larger corporations and government laws and all kinds of things that are part of that system to change also. So it's a yes, and both sort of a situation.
0:41:29.4 JH: Okay, I could go so far down that rabbit hole with the two of you, and would love to do that. But I kinda wanna bring this back around to marketing. And one of the things you mentioned a couple times, like content that stops the scroll, that stops the thumb, I would love to hear what you guys are thinking about in terms of platforms that you're on, especially as we're watching a transition right now. Instagram is very much switching roles where it used to be an solely image sharing platform, and now they've embraced like, Nope, we are moving much more into reels as a competitor for TikTok.
0:42:08.2 JH: We're using stories as a competitor to Snapchat where you know, Instagram is changing and has said like, we're no longer just an image sharing platform. And it kind of upset some photographers, but I'm excited about it. Because it's a reminder of the way that you can transform your content, even if it is still photography, but also embracing video and embracing different ways of creating content that does stop the scroll. So as you guys are watching transitions in these large social media platforms, where other platforms arise, how are you utilizing those to tap into these different audiences?
0:42:45.6 AL: So I would definitely say that, yes, social media is sometimes very hard to keep up with. So many... Not only are there new platforms added every day, but there's definitely yeah, there's changes to all the platforms very regularly, as you mentioned. But I think, especially with the persona work that we've done, it's really helped us to identify which audiences might be most active on which platforms. And then that's been able to kind of inform the strategy on the platforms. Like for example, we know that the pragmatists or the self improver who's looking for answers or looking for articles to read is probably spending a lot of their time on Twitter so we tailor that content on Twitter to that audience. And then we have the intersectional environmentalists who are very much... Like that's such a prevalent movement right now, especially on Instagram, we see it on Instagram and TikTok. There's so many amazing influencers that are constantly creating content about this sort of like topic about the intersection between environmental and social justice, environmental conservation and social justice.
0:43:51.7 AL: And so we recognize obviously, that tapping into that audience probably means utilizing Instagram and TikTok. While we haven't fully flushed out a TikTok strategy yet, I will definitely say that that's you know, we also recognize that that's something that we need to look into because TikTok's algorithm is a lot less discriminatory in terms of who they actually elevate. So, yeah, I think it's really just always a kind of moving target and trying to stay on top of these new features that are getting built in but also these trends like what are the different trends on the different social media platforms that makes sense for us. If it's hashtag trends, we haven't been able to fully dive into social media and in terms of like actually flushing that out, because we are actually short a member of the team. We don't have a fully onboarded Social Media Manager as of yet.
0:44:44.0 RM: We're hiring. We're hiring.
0:44:45.7 AL: Yeah we're hiring. We're hiring so if anyone's listening to this podcast, please reach out. But yeah, we've kind of had to figure out and really just like observe in terms of the performance of some of our content, like we know, for example, from our launch videos that well, now they've expanded... Instagram has expanded reels to be 60 seconds. But previously, when we were launching, it was either a 15 or 30 second reel or a minute long IGTV video. And those were the two kind of features in the app that Instagram was pushing. So if we had a video that kind of fell in that weird like 30 to... 30 seconds to 60 seconds time frame, it wouldn't get as much play. So it's kind of just like looking at the performance and metrics of our content and figuring out what is working and it's consistently a work in progress.
0:45:40.5 JH: I don't envy figuring out what platforms are doing what when, and how to maximize that, especially with how much things are changing right now. Well, not even right now, always.
0:45:51.4 AL: Yeah.
0:45:52.0 JH: Things are always changing. But it is fascinating to hear how you tailor your content also to the type of user on that platform, because it's true, you're gonna find a lot more scientists on Twitter than you would on other platforms. You're gonna find a lot more advocates on Instagram than you're gonna find maybe on Facebook. You're gonna find a lot of just regular average Joe people on Facebook than you're gonna find on TikTok. And so you really are having to figure out who's utilizing what type of platform and how to tailor content to that, and then are you thinking... When you have a campaign that you're building, especially when you're thinking about content, the visuals and the reels, and I don't even wanna say reels, but the visuals, the stills, the video, and the tasks that you're building, are you creating totally separate content for the same campaign for each of the different platforms that you might wanna utilize? Or are you targeting a platform for a campaign because you know the audience that you're going for?
0:46:47.4 AL: I would say up until now, we've been creating different versions of the same content for the different platforms. There's definitely specific content, for example, that we'll get from partners that we know will perform better on a certain platform, so we only push it on that particular platform. But for campaigns, I think for hitting that objective of reaching the widest audience possible, we take the content that we're creating around a campaign and tailor it to the different platforms. And that usually means creating different types or multiple pieces of content for even a single platform. So sometimes... For a launch video, for example, we did the full launch video that was gonna be on IGTV, then we did some social media cut-downs, and then we did story cut-downs that were posted to our Instagram stories, and then we did the Twitter version. So it's definitely you think like a campaign launch means you get one big shiny object to promote, no, that's enough... You have like a million different moving pieces that you have to put out in a strategic way to hit the different audiences on the different platform.
0:47:55.9 JH: It sounds stressful, but it also sounds incredibly exciting and fun, and to see all of the moving parts and all of it come together into this launch and then start to measure metrics and start to understand the change that you are actually creating through bite-size bits of content in these different ways, I think that that is probably one of the most inspiring thoughts when it comes to marketing. What inspires each of you inside of your role and what you're doing at Re: Wild? What's that thing that drives you?
0:48:31.7 RM: For me, I think the media landscape is dominated by if it bleeds it leads sort of headlines. It's easier to get shocking, devastating news out there. I think what inspires me is the challenge of telling these stories in a way that brings people on the journey, and tapping into a sense of hope because I really feel there is hope, 'cause we work with incredible partners around the world who are doing really incredible things. And the fact is, most people don't know about them. So it's an incredible opportunity and a honor to be able to work alongside them and say, How can we tell you, get your story out there? And for me as a visual storyteller, there's just such rich visual content. And I used to be going around getting a lot of that content, I literally haven't set foot in the field in a year and a half.
0:49:35.7 RM: But I think it's really good to step back and reassess your model, and the more that we can actually be partnering with local storytellers and content producers, like our indigenous communities in Brazil, Kayapo have incredible indigenous filmmakers. And so when we get content like that, it's really inspiring to see that building of capacity for more local storytelling, and the more that we can figure out how to support that and tell more stories that are being locally driven. And essentially the same with our campaigns, they're always locally-driven in terms of what the stories we choose to tell, we never go in and say, Hey, you guy should be doing this. We will be able to say, What do you need? Or what story do you wanna get out there? So I think that's what inspires me everyday, is there's such incredible work and stories happening out there, just like in the shadows that I think if we can bring that to light it feels like it's an honor.
0:50:40.4 JH: That's beautiful. Arnelle, what about you?
0:50:42.7 AL: I would very much agree. I would say this, it's like a two-pronged thing that makes me very excited about the work that we get to do, but one, I'm just really excited about showing that conservation is cool. I feel like not enough people know that there are just like... So many crazy incredible rockstars on the ground that are doing things behind the scenes that don't get a lot of press or praise, but the impact that they're making, and even these species that we're saving are just so incredible. So being able to tell those stories to make the world know that it's cool and it's worth saving, I think that's a big driver for me, but then also being able to speak and create content for people like me. Because when I came into the organization, I was very intimidated because everyone was incredibly brilliant, and I was just like, Okay, well, what can I do? What can I bring to the table? And I think that is the narrative of so many people. Those people who have dedicated their lives to doing this kind of work, whether it be activists on the ground or biologists and scientists, but then there's people on the other end of the spectrum, much like me that care, really care, but didn't know where to start. And so I'm just really excited about this idea of being able to tell stories that will captivate the people on the cusp, and even beyond that, and then being able to just make the type of content that truly moves people and galvanizes people to action.
0:52:24.1 JH: I love that, just the thought of empowering someone who cares but has no idea where to start and saying, Here's where you start, and watching them run with that. Just the thought of that is... Makes me wanna run outside with my camera and go start figuring out how to do that.
0:52:40.8 AL: Absolutely.
0:52:41.7 JH: I appreciate everything that you... The whole team at Re: Wild. And it is a substantial team. I wish that we could have so many more people on here. There's so many people at Re: Wild who are just incredible. All of them. Not so many. All of them. But I really appreciate also just the fact that you two are so dedicated to doing what you do in such a big way, and constantly testing, constantly looking at messaging, constantly asking questions, constantly thinking about how to empower people. It means a lot that you're doing this work, and I thank you so much.
0:53:15.2 RM: Well, thank you so much for allowing us to ramble.
0:53:18.6 JH: Yes.
0:53:20.6 RM: And, yeah, I think it's a journey that we're on. We're building this team Re: Wild as sort of a invitation, stand along side us and join us, and embark on this journey together. And, yeah, I think it's gonna be a constant learning curve for us as we really figure out what people are looking for. And Arnelle is incredibly brilliant. So it was eye-opening for me to hear that it was intimidating for her to join. It's like, How do we tell these stories in accessible way? 'Cause scientists operate in a bubble, and often don't recognize that. Every day people are busy and distracted. And how do we bring them in?
0:54:01.6 JH: Speaking of Team Re: Wild, for anyone who's listening to this and is fired up to work alongside you, to support the campaigns that you're working on, how do listeners find you and take part?
0:54:11.1 AL: I would say that the easiest ones are sign up for Your Weekly Wild. That is an amazing newsletter that Carrie puts together every week. So beautifully written and thought out, and it's a combination of really cool updates from us and from the field, from our partners, as well as just really engaging, fun content that's... She's... Or inspiring content that she's curated from the World Wide Web. And then the second would be to text Team Re: Wild. There's a number that you can text, which I can get. [chuckle] Don't know it by heart. But texting Team Re: Wild and kind of growing that. We have a really cool number. It's basically you can text in and we'll send updates in terms of campaigns that are coming up, highlights of other Team Re: Wild members and things like that. We recently also did a Team Re: Wild takeover featuring Giuliana from Fungi Foundation. And she was able to answer people's questions in real time, which was pretty amazing that people have some really amazing questions for her, and she provides incredible insights. So it's just a really cool way to interact as well.
0:55:16.6 JH: Awesome. Great. And for those of you who do wanna text Team Re: Wild and get those text updates, and by the way, if you've never gotten text updates from anyone before, I have to say, I've signed up for a couple of people who send out texts like inspirational texts and stuff, and it is so fun to all of a sudden get something on your phone that is a message from someone that you probably forgot that you even subscribe to, and then you get this bit of inspiring content. So it is a very cool way to engage. And that number is 512-729-1882. 512-729-1882. And I'm gonna make sure that all of this is in the show notes as well. So if you're listening, you can just hop into the show notes and get all of this information also. But I love text update. I'm signing up for that today, as soon as we get off this interview. [chuckle]
0:56:04.3 AL: Awesome. And then can I just give the URL for signing up?
0:56:11.2 JH: Oh, absolutely.
0:56:12.0 AL: So to sign up for Your Weekly Wild, the newsletter, it is Re: Wild.org/signup. So just S-I-G-N-U-P.
0:56:20.5 JH: Perfect. Awesome. Well, thank you so, so much for being here. And I cannot wait to see what Re: Wild does next. I feel like there's always something really interesting going on. You always have surprising ways of getting visuals out there to people. So I can't wait to see what it is that you guys dream up next to build more people into this audience, more people into caring about conservation.
0:56:42.8 AL: Amazing. Thank you so much, Jaymi. It's been a pleasure. And we are very grateful for your platform.
0:56:50.0 RM: Yeah. Thank you so much.