Simplifying the complex

Client: EDF+Business, EDF Ecosystems

Environmental Defense Fund is tackling serious environmental challenges with truly effective – but also complex – solutions. A critical ingredient to the effectiveness of their work is collaboration, with businesses, with government entities, even with farmers. To get these potential partners on board, EDF has to communicate the why, what and how (full of math, science and logistics) in a way they can embrace – not tune out. That’s where we came in.

We created communication tools that allow EDF to talk about three of their solutions: 1) the EDF+Business supply chain model, 2) the jurisdictional approach to reducing deforestation, and 3) the Habitat Quantification Tool. In our work for each of these, we sought to creatively balance education and inspiration, scientific rigor and emotional connection.

Client Challenge

Translate complex strategies into clear, powerful narratives that business and government decision-makers will easily understand – and that will inspire them to take action.

Shelton Solution

We knew we would need to engage hearts as well as minds. So our first step was to boil down each EDF solution to a single narrative element – an easy-to-understand metaphor or a hero to sympathize with, for example. By using that narrative element, we wrote videos that would pull viewers in with emotionally compelling stories – stories they could wrap their heads around and identify with. We captured the “why” behind EDF’s approach while emphasizing the benefits to all parties involved – companies, governments, ranchers and animals.

The simple yet sophisticated look and feel for each video was designed to imbue viewers with confidence in EDF’s expertise and open them up to the complex idea. The end result: engaging stories that help audiences understand the genius of EDF’s strategies … and inspire them to work toward real change.

For each of the three EDF solutions, the videos served as the centerpiece of a suite of tools we developed, including Web pages, infographics, brochures and presentations.

The world needs a lever

EDF connects the dots

We made the hawk the hero

Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.