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Top 10 Ways to Make the Most of COP28 for Your Business: A Communications Guide

November 13, 2023

COP28 is just a few weeks away. It’s a meeting like no other: a marathon of negotiations, networking, meetings, satellite events, public commitments being made by dignitaries, policy conversations, and beyond. If you are an entrepreneur in the environmental innovation space, a non-profit organization looking to influence policy and advance your cause, or an environmentalist concerned with the outcomes of the COP28 conference, it can feel overwhelming even considering where to begin in terms of following, taking part in, or influencing the conversation.

On a recent webinar, I was joined by several sector colleagues to dig into the planning and practical aspects of how to maximize your experience and impact at COP28 through communications — whether in attendance in Dubai or following along from home.

We discussed what companies, NGOs and industry associations can do in the next weeks leading up to COP, during the conference itself, and in post-COP follow through to help you differentiate yours among the cacophony of voices at this global meeting of nations and influencers.

First, let’s set the stage with some basic background.

Navigating COP Zones

COP28 is organized around two distinct zones — the exclusive blue zone for accredited parties and observer delegates and the accessible green zone, open to a broader audience. Even if you find yourself outside the blue zone, fear not; the green zone is a hub of opportunities for participation and relationship-building.

Organizing Themes for COP28

COP28 introduces a new structure for the event, with specific theme days aligning the conference with critical global issues. From health relief to finance and trade, gender equality, energy industry, and more, each day has a dedicated focus. Understanding this framework may help you align your business objectives with the pulse of the conference.

Now, let’s dive into the top 10 ways to prepare for and capitalize on COP28 for your organization.

Top 10 Ways to Make the Most of COP28 for Your Business: A Communications Guide

1) Set Clear Communication Goals

Define specific communication objectives tailored to your business needs. Whether it’s positioning your organization as a thought leader, influencing policies, or expanding industry networks, having clear goals ensures a focused and impactful strategy. Once you have established where you want to end up at the end of COP28, you can chart the path forward.

2) Leverage Pre-COP Research

If you want to reach your goals at COP28, make sure you are well informed — do your homework! Dive deep into industry-related news and social media conversations using targeted keywords. Identify key reporters, influencers, and organizations that align with your business objectives. This research will serve as the foundation for your engagement strategy, ensuring you connect with the right stakeholders.

3) Prepare Key Talking Points

Develop a comprehensive set of key messages aligned with your organization’s goals. Ensure all team members either on the ground or in support roles are well-versed in these talking points, ensuring consistency in your communication strategy. This preparation enables your team to articulate a cohesive narrative that resonates with your target audience.

4) Craft Thought Leadership Content

Once key messaging is in place, explore amplifying it to offer a clear point-of-view and call-to-action relayed to your industry and the surrounding players. Develop compelling articles or blog posts that address key industry challenges and opportunities. Seek placement in trade publications relevant to your sector. If you don’t know how to place an article in the media, speak to a communications partner — they can help! And, of course, you can always utilize your own platforms including company blogs, newsletters, or social media channels to share these perspectives.

5) Utilize Strategic Hashtags and Tagging

Enhance your social media presence by selectively using hashtags related to your industry and COP28. Tag relevant organizations, influencers, and stakeholders to increase the visibility of your content. This maximizes engagement and facilitates connections with the people and groups you want to be in front of at the event.

6) Engage with Thematic Days

Align your COP28 activities with the designated thematic days. Identify how your organization’s contributions and mission align with these themes and leverage specific discussions to amplify your impact. This targeted approach ensures your engagement is timely and contributes meaningfully to ongoing conversations. But don’t lock yourself into any single day — it’s likely that the topics and policies that you are interested will be discussed throughout the event. You can keep your finger on the pulse via social channels like X (formerly Twitter). You just need to know where to look (see number 5 on hashtags!).

7) Network Beyond Thematic Days

Flexibility is key — attend additional days, explore pavilions, and stay engaged with dynamic content throughout the conference, even if it’s not explicitly relevant to your organization. Building relationships beyond thematic days broadens your network, providing diverse opportunities for collaboration and partnership. The research and message development you do in the next few weeks before COP will help you be ready to pivot and enter new conversations that come up along the way.

8) Social Media Standout Strategies

Plan and schedule your social media content in advance, tailoring compelling visuals and videos, and fostering real-time engagement. Stay agile, adapting your strategy based on emerging trends and discussions (again, by following the right hashtags, like #COP28, #energytransition, #foodsecurity, etc.). A proactive and dynamic approach ensures your social media presence stands out amidst the noise.

9) Engage with Traditional Media

Research and connect with journalists who have historically covered COP events and specifically those that cover the issues in which you have an interest. Reach out in advance, offering your organization’s spokesperson for interviews on industry-related topics. This proactive engagement with traditional media enhances your visibility and positions your organization as a valuable contributor to ongoing discussions.

10) Quality Over Quantity

Prioritize excellence in a few strategic activities over spreading efforts too thin. Identify key areas aligned with your goals and execute them exceptionally well. Quality over quantity ensures that each action contributes significantly to your overall communication strategy. But here’s a pro-tip — don’t skip out on the research and message development. Every other tactic depends on how smart and informed you are!

With the climate event of the year just weeks away, there is still time to get into the conversations that matter for your organization. Remember, it’s not about doing everything; it’s about doing the right things effectively. Tailor these strategies to fit your organization’s unique goals and strengths, and have your voice heard at COP28 and beyond.

You can watch the full webinar here: Making Your Voice Known Before, During and After COP28

TAGS: Purpose & Social Impact

POSTED BY: Nicole Grubner

Nicole Grubner