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Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation


With a global network of supporters committed to shark conservation, the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation faced the challenge of organizing its communication in ways that would keep individuals engaged across its advocacy, education and entertainment work. It partnered with Spitfire to craft an approach for organizing its family of brands, bring this approach to life via a strategic communication plan and activate online mini campaigns designed to promote continued engagement with individuals who care about sharks, oceans or related issues, which could connect them to shark conservation.  

Working in the complex and crowded environmental sector, RSSF came to Spitfire looking for ways it could establish itself as a unique, identifiable organization. Gaining insights from peer reviews, audience research, landscape analysis and a brand-planning workshop, Spitfire helped RSSF identify its priority focal areas and understand how its niche of shark conservation connects to other environmental issues and audiences – and how the resulting brand recommendations organize efforts and assets, including Rob’s compelling documentary films, around RSSF’s top priorities: advocacy, education and entertainment, the last of which frequently serves as the hook to engage audiences in taking action. 

To encourage audience engagement while this strategic planning work continued, Spitfire produced and implemented two online mini campaigns. The first, which launched on Shark Awareness Day, included a Buzzfeed quiz and listicle to promote learning, sharing and online conversation. In the second campaign, Spitfire developed a short video series, “Become a #ClimateShark,” which highlighted sharks' importance to the ocean and climate solutions. To help the #ClimateShark campaign start a conversation during the COP22 conference, Spitfire produced social content, conducted influencer outreach and drafted email copy for RSSF’s newsletter and a Medium piece on sharks’ importance for combating climate change. The Shark Awareness campaign saw an increase in engagement on Instagram, with followers commenting their quiz results, and the #ClimateShark Medium article became the number one trending article under the “Climate Change Solutions” tag.  

Collectively, the strategy work and hands-on campaigns are informing how RSSF will use communication in service of programmatic objectives, fortify relationships with current audiences, reach new individuals, reshape its current tools (including website, social media and more) and recognize outcomes that encourage environmental advocacy, either broadly from a learning perspective or specifically tied to legislative advocacy around the world. 

Spitfire services employed


Digital strategy

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Issues Covered

Climate and Environment