you know philadelphia, the city with the lingering moniker, filthadelphia? recently, the city decided to dump that image and replace it with one of civic pride.
the campaign launched smartly with a mayor’s speech and the streets department buddying up with street poets, individuals who connect with youth in their teens to early 20s—those who, in my experience, carelessly throw an empty box, a cigarette container, a soda cup on the ground when a trashcan’s no farther than 10 feet away.
then there was the website, subway ads, and wrapped buses. a twitter account, a youtube one too. a facebook page and a flickr presence. a pledge. a newsletter.
as far as i can tell, we’re still filthy.
sure, change takes time. that’s definitely part of it. but there’s something even more basic at play here—
philly lacks garbage cans.
depending on where you are in the city, you can go blocks without finding one. who’s going to carry their trash that long when they’re disinclined to throwing it away properly in the first place? where cans do exist, they’re solar-powered compactors (super cool) that require people to touch them when they’re filthy (super not cool). and they’re often overflowing, with trash stacked beside them (super duper not cool).
communication can make good programs rise above and great programs even greater. it can’t work miracles.
don’t trash your employee communications budget. have the infrastructure in place.