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Parks California – 6 Bernays Awards in Campaigns, Newsletters and Research

As a new nonprofit organization, Parks California is a voice for state parks and helps share important parks news with people across the state. It exists to connect a more diverse audience across the state to the beauty found in state parks while also increasing our state’s capacity to care for those spaces. Our goal was to work with the Parks California team on integrated marketing and communications strategies to elevate the organization’s leadership and bring California’s parks into the homes of new audiences (we had the pleasure of capturing the past year’s work in Parks California’s 2020 Annual Report – check it out here).

We essentially started from scratch in terms of its brand recognition, so our goal was to help the organization carve its own space among other similar organizations doing similar and complementary work. We had a unique opportunity to help the Parks California team clearly define who their organization is and what it stands for.

Additionally, since we didn’t have strategic communications planning tools to work with, Mixte made it a priority to streamline internal processes through tools like an editorial calendar to facilitate our work with the Parks team. This way, instead of doing everything at the last minute we would have a system to plan for the next 2-3 months. This made it easier to strategize everything from social media drafts to website updates as needed.

Our Objectives:

  • Emails – Average open rate of more than 30% with a monthly email (previously quarterly)
  • Virtual events – Spike in digital engagement (likes, comments, shares, tags) surrounding events that go beyond our average views per day
  • Website – Increase email list from direct signups on the website
  • Social media – Develop systems so we can consistently increase engagement rates on all platforms


Here’s how we did it:

  • Created a monthly email newsletter
  • Established ParkSpeak, a series of virtual, guided tours of California state parks
  • Drove traffic to the website through digital communications strategy
  • Social Media
    • Facebook – Hosted Facebook Live events with partners that are deeper dive conversations
    • LinkedIn – Featured diverse people working outdoors and in California State Parks; shared organizational milestones
    • Twitter – Supported work from partner organizations and grantees; engage in conservation/preservation dialogue at state/local levels; shared news/timely resources about parks

We had to completely change our strategy once COVID-19 put a halt to in-person events since a lot of our initial plans relied on increasing in-person park attendance. Virtual events – which were a first for Parks – kept community members connected to the state park experience, bringing the beauty of state parks into people’s homes. This helped increase access to parks for new audiences and brought people together from across the state in a virtual setting.

Virtual platforms also turned out to be an effective space for Parks California to amplify the organization’s voice around the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically through Facebook Live equity conversations like this one on Nature As a Tool for Social Change. These events afforded Parks California the opportunity to kickstart important conversations and establish a distinct voice within the environmental advocacy space.

The Outcome:

  • Email marketing: Average open rate of over 30%; 18.5% growth for the email list
  • Virtual events: 180 attendees across five virtual events
  • Website: 53% increase in organic traffic and an uptick in average time on page
  • Social media: We have consistently increased overall engagement across all platforms including YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


We earned the following 2020 Bernays awards:

  • Bronze Bernays Award of Excellence in “Newsletters” category: Mixte Communications for Parks California for Elevating Voices of State Parks
  • Bronze Bernays Award of Merit winner in “Research/Evaluation” category: Mixte Communications and Parks California for An Exploration into Parks California’s Reputation
  • Silver Bernays Award of Merit winner in “Campaigns: Integrated Communications” category: Mixte Communications and Parks California for Connecting Californians to Nature
  • Silver Bernays Award of Excellence winner in “Campaigns: Public Service” category: Mixte Communications & Parks California for Sharing Important Parks News with California
  • Silver Bernays Award of Merit winner in “Campaigns: Reputation/Brand Management” category: Mixte Communications & Parks California for Establishing a Voice for Equity in California State Parks
  • Silver Bernays Award of Excellence winner in “Campaigns: Social/Digital Media” category: Mixte Communications & Parks California for Bringing Parks to Living Rooms

Did this spark your interest in improving your digital marketing in 2021? Inquire about Mixte’s digital marketing and PR services by contacting: or 619-732-0789.

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