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How Effective Marcom Strategies Shape the Future, Build Sustainable Communities

Opinion October 16, 2023

We are less than two months away from the 10 extraordinary days during which the entire global focus will be on the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

That’s because the landmark COP28 summit, the world’s largest climate gathering, marks a defining moment for climate action with the first-ever Global Stocktake of the 2015 Paris Agreement: a critical SWOT analysis to get our planet back on track for our future generations.

As the host country, the UAE has not spared any efforts to make this pivotal summit a global success, with relentless preparations ongoing to make it the most inclusive, transformative and outcome-oriented in the history of the United Nations.

The COP28 summit will be the grand finale to the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and throws a spotlight on sustainable urban habitats at a time when cities around the world are bursting at the seams trying to cope with the ever-expanding urban population.

Today, nearly 55% of the global population lives in urban areas, which is projected to increase to 6.7 billion people or 66% of the population by 2050, according to the United Nations. If we are to deal with this staggering number and mitigate the inevitable challenges of infrastructure and resources that it will bring, we need to focus urgently on the successful management of urban growth and creating a global ecosystem of sustainable cities.

There is no doubt that the future of humanity is urban. But while the science of sustainable urban communities is getting abundantly clear, how we will get there is not. And that’s a brilliant opportunity to devise effective marketing and communication strategies that map the pathway and shape the narrative around sustainable communities to drive positive change.

As the United Nations has observed, if development can be seen as a fabric woven out of the activities of millions of people, communication represents the essential thread that binds them together. As communicators, it is therefore our critical responsibility to raise more awareness around sustainable development– which, despite the current wall-to-wall coverage, is still a new concept to many – cut through the confusion and misinformation, provide compelling reasons why we need to build more eco-friendly communities, and demonstrate practical ways forward to embrace a greener future. We need to do it in a way that moves our core stakeholders to action – after all, scientists have been warning us of climate change for decades and guess what happened?

As the first sustainable master-planned residential community in Sharjah, this has exactly been our endeavor at Sharjah Sustainable City: how to guide our prospective community to truly understand and experience sustainable living through an extensive catalog of communication techniques, media campaigns and marketing activities.

From the inception, we were clear about the integral role of marketing and effective communication in nurturing our community and began thinking about the impactful ways in which we could share the vision of Sharjah Sustainable City with the broader world. The aim was to create a robust exchange of ideas and raise awareness around sustainable habits such as managing waste and plastic pollution, conserving energy, growing an urban farm, and supporting a circular economy.

Several of our campaigns leveraged the power of digital media and social media, the city’s website and custom-made apps to drive home tangible change, which ultimately helped in educating our community, including young residents, students, and other visitors, about the importance of sustainability – all that has resulted in developing a happy, eco-conscious community: for example, our eco-friendly Ramadan Campaign helped reduce food waste, encouraged the spirit of sharing, and promoted mindful consumption.

In essence, we took an extraordinary route and did not market real estate at Sharjah Sustainable City – we promoted and communicated about building a pioneering community that thrives on setting social, environmental and economic sustainability benchmarks. The overwhelming success of our community is thus not only a testament to effective marketing and communication strategies but also an inspiration for several more sustainable cities in the region.