Challenge

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is a recognized leader in clean water advocacy. With a membership of nearly 1,100+ publicly-owned treatment works, the organization regularly engages with members of Congress, their staffs and other political organizations to champion clean water issues that impact their stakeholders. As an issues-based organization, incorporating public affairs into their advocacy efforts was a necessary next step in growing awareness of their brand.

In 2015, NACWA engaged Stratacomm to evaluate the organization’s communications programs and the effectiveness of each. Based on recommendations stemming from Stratacomm’s evaluation, NACWA tapped the firm in late 2017 to prepare the organization for more regular media engagement. The goal was to elevate the profile of the association’s three main issues: water affordability, flushable wipes and water infrastructure.

Our Approach

Following a thorough audit of NACWA’s internal and external communications programs and materials, Stratacomm developed a strategic media relations plan to bring NACWA’s issues to the forefront of the conversation. Our plan began with the development of messaging points, identification of key media targets and creation of customized pitches to send to a variety of outlets.

Throughout our engagement we contacted press members, introducing NACWA and its issues to key local and national media outlets across the country. In November 2017, the issue of infrastructure came to the forefront of our nation’s political conversation. While the Trump Administration worked on its plan to address the country’s deteriorating infrastructure, NACWA was hard at work making its case on Capitol Hill. Stratacomm worked closely with NACWA’s Government Affairs team to amplify the organization’s message, arguing for the prioritization of water infrastructure in an op-ed placed in The Hill, a publication regularly read by lawmakers. We also secured two interviews with CNN Money and The Washington Post, both resulting in stories that featured a quote and mention of NACWA and its CEO Adam Krantz.

Stratacomm also worked to draft and distribute statements and releases to more than 120 media contacts in conjunction with important news developments surrounding infrastructure and other issues core to NACWA’s members, including the State of the Union address. These releases provided an opportunity to insert NACWA’s organizational voice into the conversation and provide general exposure for the organization on a larger scale. All releases were also posted to NACWA’s website and shared on social media for added exposure.

Results

Stratacomm’s work for NACWA produced prominent placements in CNN Money, The Washington Post and The Hill. Statements and releases were picked up in water industry trades. The CNN Money story was shared more than 280 times on Facebook and the website is estimated to receive 97.5 million visits a month, according to SimilarWeb. The op-ed placed in The Hill was shared nearly 400 times on Facebook and received more than 170 interactions when shared on NACWA’s Twitter and Facebook pages. According to SimilarWeb, The Hill receives an estimated 75 million visits a month, providing the opportunity for millions of people to see NACWA’s message and priorities. Through our work, NACWA created a strong foundation for future media engagement and progress continued to build throughout engagement.