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How to Inform and Retain Your Audience Like ‘Polar Bears International’

Does the name “Siku” ring a bell? If it doesn’t, then it should! Siku is the name of an internationally-recognized polar bear cub being raised in a Scandinavian wildlife park. I recently became a HUGE fan of this little guy and I was intrigued by Polar Bears International, the foundation that runs the research program for polar bears (so much so, in fact, that I donated after only 5 minutes of being the site).

Why did I donate so quickly? Because Polar Bears International knew how to catch my attention! They are a perfect example of how to get noticed and stay that way.

Polar Bears International believes that if  “[w]e know if we can assure the survival of the polar bear— the creature in most immediate peril from climate change and pollutants— we’ll have created a better planet for all its flora, fauna, water, and air.”  The level of organization and effort that goes into this site is impressive.

What is most interesting about Polar Bears International (PBI) is not only what it supports, but also the effort behind the fundraising. From a consumer’s or a business owner’s standpoint, it’s a good takeaway to see how to run a foundation or business and remain in the public’s eye.

Networking 101: Polar bear style.

Networking 101: Polar bear style.

For starters, PBI’s networking is very meticulous and comprehensive. They have a donation program (which is essential) and they make it simple and easy to use. Their outreach sets them apart from a lot of other research and conservation efforts because they don’t just spam your inbox with petitions. They are part of a huge social network that’s linked with other various international foundations.

They also keep their social media news and updates consistent. If you want to sustain attention, then start by keeping the public informed and involved in everything. PBI is so involved with keeping information accessible that they even state their intent on their press room page: “We welcome all media inquiries. Our Library of news, facts, film footage, and photos is at your disposal. We’ve tried to anticipate your needs and requirements— from captions to contacts.” Keeping potential customers or donors informed with easy-to-use resources is key to positive feedback and keeping a consistent and positive presence!

Polar Bear International also strives to maintain a symbiotic relationship by involving people with special events — such as Bands for Polar Bears — which featured multiple bands who helped raise money for the cause. This event was offered via livestream, so any donor with an internet connection could be a part of it. They pride themselves on inspiring people to learn and explore, and that is very important to this kind of work. They emphasize the importance of making us, the everyday consumers, the most important resource.

You mean I can watch a live feed of Siku the baby polar bear? Forget about finishing my curls...I'm there!

You mean I can watch a live feed of Siku the baby polar bear? Forget about finishing my curls...I'm there!

How else does PBI get people involved and informed? Here’s a kicker: they recently launched a live webcam where you can view little Siku growing up right in your own home…which is way too cute to ignore! Having this type of interactive media makes the donors and potential donors feel like they are involved in their efforts. It also brings the media’s attention back time and time again. This is essential to a successful outreach because it keeps awareness current. “At the end of last year, Explore.org broadcasted the Arctic migration of the polar bears. A reported quarter of a million hours of video was watched on the site globally” talk about being noticed! With the vast crowded space of social networking it is important not to fade away. If you make the mistake of fading in the background and become internet white noise, you have already lost the public’s attention.

The director of Explore (explore.org), Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, was quoted by Mashable saying: “My belief is that if you see the natural world you live in, you will fall in love with it and want to become a better custodian for it. We’re hoping these cameras can bring people together in a global place. Hopefully these animals will do the heavy lifting for humanity.”

What do you think? Is that a logical goal? And what do you think of Polar Bears International’s efforts?

 Image credit to Clipart.com.


Serenity Morris

Serenity is on the support staff for Quality Logo Products. Cynical and straight to the point, this no-nonsense gal is loveable and passionate about her various nerdy interests. When she is not geeking out about music, British television, and politics she is usually doodling her troubles away! Her artistic abilities are often commissioned for internal and external QLP promotional materials. You can also connect with Serenity on Google+.

Comments

  1. Amy Swanson

    What a fun post, Serenity! I had to pull myself away from the Explore.org videos, there were too cute!! I really like what PBI is doing to raise awareness for the polar bears, and humanity as a whole.

    The fact they keep their social media accounts up to date is a huge factor for me. Unfortunately, I think a lot of organizations are so short staffed that they just don’t have the time to devote to updating them. Keeping everyone informed is a great way to make sure everyone feels involved!

    Great post, Sam! Thank you!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thanks Amy! Yeah I love that they keep awareness that in order to save the world you HAVE to keep people aware! Without that unfortunately in the modern world little interest is given unless you get something for it! So PBI defiantly knows how to keep the awareness going!

  2. Rachel

    I think one of my favorite things about Polar Bear International’s site (other than the adorable video feed of Siku!!!) is the ability to “adopt” a polar bear. Symbolically adopting a polar bear and getting promo products like stuffed animals and T-shirts is a great way to persuade people to contribute!

    Thanks for the rundown! :)

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Absolutely, I think the more involved people feel they are the more likely they will want to keep contributing and caring.

  3. Jeff Porretto

    Totally “Squee” worthy. Who doesn’t wuv dat wittle Siku face??? Siku almost blew up the internet when people first got a look. If that’s not a great cause, I don’t know what is! I want one! Right up until it mauls my face off of course…

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Oh I know! I don’t think siku would do that! Especially if you are a contributor to help his species live! I think that “squee” worthy you mentioned is one of the best thing I think that PBI could have done! A mascot for their cause, (well I should say OUR cause because it should be everyone’s cause) really helps keep people motivated.

  4. Jaimie Smith

    Sam this is seriously AWESOME!
    Something I should def tell my mom about, she is so into bears. There’s a place in michigan we always used to go to because you could feed and help take care of wild bears and it was so hard getting her to leave that.

    And the explore.org site is awesome! Thanks for all the info, Sam!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      No problem! Yes, please share with anyone who cares, PBI most definitely knows how to catch people’s interest. It really puts you in the mindset to really want to help. You should have your mom check out the site from 8am-10am any day because that is when Siku’s camera is on and let me tell you you’ll be hooked watching the little guy!

  5. Eric

    Loves me some polar bears.

    Real good cause you’ve got here, Sam. Bonus respect points to any musician/band playing for these critters.

    Great post, Sam!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thanks! I just really like that this particular organization really has has their “you know what” together! They really make time to keep the public interested and I respect that!

  6. Mandy Kilinskis

    Oh, Siku. You are the cutest little polar bear since Knut.

    I love Polar Bear International, and I’ve been donating regularly to them since college. As you said, the website is user friendly, their interaction is golden, and the “rewards” for donating are wonderful. Everyone should take a page out of PBI’s marketing!

    Also, everyone should give them money, too! Save the polar bears! :D

  7. Cybernetic SAM

    Oh! Knut! Don’t remind me, I cried when I heard! I hope that Siku makes it! I have complete faith! I think that as long as they press on with their tactics more and more people are going to start noticing! PBI is an amazing organization.

  8. Joseph Giorgi

    Seems like PBI is taking all the right steps to generate awareness for its cause. “Bands for Polar Bears”? That’s a great way to stay current! Job well done, if you ask me. (Of course, it helps that Siku is so adorable to begin with.)

    • Cybernetic SAM

      You are totally right! Thanks for reading JOE!

  9. Jill Tooley

    Yep, I totally got sucked into their website! How could anyone not find joy in Siku?!?

    It sounds like PBI is taking all the right steps to get people to notice them. I love their Facebook page, too! They constantly post pictures and updates for their fans, which is nice. I want to adopt a polar bear now! :D

    • Cybernetic SAM

      You totally should he is sooooo awesome! I feel very satisfied knowing I contributed to an organization that cares not only about their mission, but about making people care!

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