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Digital Crisis Communications, Case Greenpeace's #FreeTheArctic30


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Keynote at eCampaigning Forum Europe 2014
5th of November, Austria

Greenpeace's peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic sea lead to the imprisonment of the ship crew of 30 people, falsely accused of piracy. How was the crisis turned into the most engaging campaign in Greenpeace's history so far? Hear it from the global Digital Lead of the ship tour.

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Digital Crisis Communications, Case Greenpeace's #FreeTheArctic30

  1. 1. Photo (C) Greenpeace / Denis Sinyakov 18/9/2013
  2. 2. WHEN CONFRONTING A CRIME Photo (C) Greenpeace / Denis Sinyakov 18/9/2013
  3. 3. WHEN CONFRONTING A CRIME MAKES YOU THE CRIMINAL Photo (C) Greenpeace / Denis Sinyakov 18/9/2013
  4. 4. Digital Crisis Communications Case #FreeTheArctic30 By Veera Juvonen, Digital Lead of Greenpeace’s Arctic Ship Tour “Confronting Arctic Oil” 2013 2 PHOTO CREDITS CREENPEACE
  5. 5. Digital Crisis Communications Case #FreeTheArctic30 By Veera Juvonen, Digital Lead of Greenpeace’s Arctic Ship Tour “Confronting Arctic Oil” 2013 2 PHOTO CREDITS CREENPEACE
  6. 6. Content A story with a happy ending Digital crisis response Consequences Learnings Me.
  7. 7. A story with a happy ending “We believe that oil drilling in the Arctic is an imminent threat to the environment there and to the climate globally. We have now entered the Russian Arctic preparing peaceful protest against the reckless oil industry.” -August 11th, 2013
  8. 8. 30 people of 18 nationalities onboard, of which 2 photojournalists and 4 climbers, sailed to protest against Russian oil giant Gazprom’s Arctic oil drilling.
  9. 9. Sept 2013: The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was illegally boarded by armed RussianCoast Guard in international waters, and towed to shore.
  10. 10. The crew of 30 were arrested, accused of hooliganism and piracy, facing 15 years in jail. Bail hearings were held in Murmansk, Russia.
  11. 11. November 2013: 263 cities protest as Arctic30 have been held two months in prison.
  12. 12. An 18 page petition, signed by Russian journalists was presented to the judge before the hearing, demanding the release of the photojournalist Denis Sinyakov.
  13. 13. The Russian parliament agreed to include the Arctic30 in an amnesty - for a crime they didn’t commit.
  14. 14. Crisis Response 100 HOUR RAPID RESPONSE PLAN Extended into communicating over an unknown time Detention period ended up lasting 3 months How to keep up the interest?
  15. 15. Digital Comms • Mobilising a global movement to protect the Arctic and the right to peaceful protest • SoMe: #FreeTheArctic30 • Petition to pressure Russian Embassies to free the Arctic30
  16. 16. Digital resources • Occupying the Comms meeting in Holland • Core team assembled to a crisis management centre in Copenhagen • Digital Lead strategist + 2 digital managers to handle daily output and material distribution in the EU timezone • Skype group for digitals + intranet page for materials • 24h voluntary-based digital shift schedule to cover digital distribution in all timezones
  17. 17. Motivate
  18. 18. Motivate
  19. 19. Motivate
  20. 20. Seize the moment
  21. 21. Sometimes stories just fall in your lap 18.10.2013 CCTV of six masked men entering the grounds of Greenpeace's Murmansk office, on the night that a mock 'cage', which was going to be used to highlight the injustice of the Arctic 30's imprisonment during a solidarity protest in Murmansk, was stolen from the grounds.
  22. 22. Involve 7.11.2013
  23. 23. Involve 7.11.2013
  24. 24. Let the stars shine
  25. 25. Let the stars shine
  26. 26. Showcase 3rd party support
  27. 27. Shares! Commission ART Likes!
  28. 28. Question the accusations
  29. 29. Let SoMe do its share
  30. 30. Let SoMe do its share
  31. 31. Portray the people
  32. 32. Create heroes
  33. 33. Create heroes
  34. 34. It’s a long story… June 2014 Arctic Sunrise was to be released > fundraising to fix the ship Aug 2014 Arctic Sunrise returns to Holland > Arctic30 meeting Sept 2014 Arctic30 anniversary. Showing solidarity of others being persecuted for peaceful activism. Oct 2014 The media interest on the released activists keeps up
  35. 35. The following is based on a true story
  36. 36. Consequences Exponentially heightened media attention Heightened interest to volunteer for Greenpeace 2 million petition signatures - More than ever - Quicker than ever
  37. 37. Long-term consequences 92% growth in visits to Greenpeace websites worldwide within a year Upcoming: Movie “Black Ice” and a book
  38. 38. ;)
  39. 39. Evaluation learnings • Gather 3rd party support and use all networks available. • Plan HR. • Include adequate, committed, named human resources already in the campaign planning phase. • In case of key people being unavailable, find adequate substitutes or scale down, or cancel the project. • Appoint only people with crisis response experience in leadership roles. • Briefings must set out the worst-case scenarios and consequences, no matter how unlikely they seem. • Detailed contingency plans should cover the first 5 days. • Set up command and control structure with crystal-clear chain of decision-makers. • Share and train user-friendly crisis management guidelines and protocols to staff.
  40. 40. This presentation is made by… • Veera Juvonen • Former Digital Marketing Manager of Greenpeace Nordic • Global Digital Lead of Greenpeace’s Arctic Ship Tour in 2014, known as #FreeTheArctic30 • Entrepreneur and digital activist, designing digital strategies for a better world • Mail • Twitter veerajuvonen