Plainspoken Digital

How We Impacted Policy on a Niche-but-Important Environmental Issue


The strategy took time to take hold, but Plainspoken and allies pushed through. Each week, Plainspoken delivered a comprehensive report and identified new political pressure points. Each week, we measured progress and designed a new set of tactics in real time to stay at the top of the news cycle. A steady drumbeat of social media posts from activists and allies on our side of the issue was critical for establishing a base to amplify our narratives during this process.

By the end of the initial period of performance, a half dozen key journalists had taken up the cause of opposing desalination. Anti desal information was flooding Facebook, the news media, and organic posts. We monitor and guide the progress in real time through our proprietary social listening dashboards.

We flipped the conversation around desal and dominated the online environments. Our political opponents couldn’t even see what we were doing because they didn’t have our cutting edge social listening and media expertise.Hire Plainspoken and flip your issue with data and influence. Although we were outmatched in terms of material resources and funding, we made every dollar of investment count by strategically employing smart messaging and reaching influential targets. If you have a policy issue you want our help on, please reach out to us today.

The conversation was 70/30 pro desal in September. By February, it was roughly equally divided between pro and anti desal advocates. How did we achieve such a huge shift in the public discourse? Read below.

A major California corporation had a death grip on the narrative around desalination.

“It saves money!” “It stops wildfires!” were two common narratives used by our opponents.

Plainspoken and allies were hired to break the corporate chokehold andconvince the public and the regulators to consider stopping a fast-tracked proposal to the Huntington Beach Coastal Commission that would have invested billions of dollars into a risky, poorly planned desalination plant.

First, we started by identifying key policymakers who will make a decision about permitting Poseidon to construct its proposed desal project inHuntington Beach. Then we identified the sources of their information diet –journalists, publications, and academics in the southern California area. At this point, we used a custom intelligence tool to extract every online post around desal by this group within the last year. We used this data to distill key pressure points we could use to influence the public policy outcome.

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