Slide 3 What is communications? Is not an anyone can do it if you have to task. :An ongoing exchange of information (iterative process): relevant to audiences integral to the stages of the policy process conducted on a formal or informal basis
Slide 4 What is a communications strategy? A well thought out or carefully devised plan for broadcasting differences A means of elaborating how we network, participate & interact with the world (e.g. to influence policy) Is not an optional or fringe plan to be left to junior personnel or consultants (out-sourced)
Slide 5 What if there is no communication strategy? Difficult to measure activities not planned and organised More reactive than proactive communication Random activities not well thought out Duplicating efforts Mis/un-targeted messaging
Slide 6 Internal and external communications
Slide 7 Internal communications Keeps everyone in the know. Allows sharing of ideas. Synchronising messages. Singing the same song / speaking the same language. Easy when it comes to handing over.
Slide 8 External communications Key messages for communication Audiences/Stakeholders/Key people (segmentation) Activities to carry out Requires a communications strategy* 5Ws & H – the Who, What, When, Why, Where & How. *Communications strategy can cover both internal and external communications.
Slide 9 Communications strategy steps What are the essential elements / steps of a communications strategy?
Slide 10 Steps in a communications strategy Organise a committee Analyse the situation Develop objectives Identify audiences Develop messages Select channels Evaluate Develop action plan Build partnerships
Slide 11 Step 1: Establish a communications committee Committee members could include: –Staff from main implementing agency –Researchers –Members of relevant professional associations –Members of partner organizations –Members of the audience you are trying to reach (news media, religious leaders, etc)
Slide 12 Step 2: Analyse the situation Analyse the situation carefully to understand the message & provide solid rationale for sharing.
Slide 13 *What do we want our communications to achieve? Are our objectives SMART? Policy communication objective –Raise awareness among policymakers about need for increased resources of ICT equipment. Program objective –Increase the number of rural users of ICT or increased use of ICT by rural health workers… Step 3: Develop Objectives
Slide 14 Help journalists better understand the benefits ICT in poverty reduction, or its use amongst rural health workers. Quantity and quality of news coverage about ICT use by rural health workers Develop Objectives and expected outcomes
Slide 15 Step 4: Identify the audience Primary –Who can directly affect policy on your issue? Secondary –Who can influence those policymakers? –Who can stop being an obstacle?
Slide 16 Who are possible audiences? Political leaders Governemnt officials Programme managers Private sector Educators Business/Civic leaders News media Donors Religious leaders Professional associations Womens groups * This is not an exhaustive list...
Slide 17 Know your audiences Who do they listen to? What do they know about your topic? Are they interested in your topic? What are the best ways to reach them? (formats and channels)
Slide 18 Step 5: Build partnerships Enlist relevant organisations and individuals to join the advocacy movement to: –Augment the numbers –Strengthen the talent pool Forming partnerships can be challenging! –Put into place participatory mechanisms –Identify roles and leadership structure
Slide 19 Step 6: Developing messages Start with the data and analysis Present two to three points maximum Tailor the message to fit the audience Deliver through a credible source Avoid technical jargon
Slide 20 Step 7: Communication channels and activities Face-to-face (Interpersonal): –Workshops, seminars –Conferences, meeting –Press briefings Mass media –Press –Broadcast (Radio and TV) –New Media: Internet websites *Select formats that are most appropriate for your audiences.
Slide 21 Step 8: Action plan Key Questions For whom When By what means By whom How often How many
Slide 22 The devil is in the details Specify: –Advocacy activities - outline a detailed work plan –What resources are needed (human and financial) –Be alert to opportunities! Are there any upcoming events that will support your objective? Brainstorm on opportunities.
Slide 23 Step 9: Evaluation Performance –Were all the activities implemented, delivered and on time? Impact –Did activities bring about the desired change?
Slide 24 Effective communication strategies rely on: Audience-centered approach Ongoing communications activities Disseminating information at the right time, for the right length of time
Slide 25 If well designed Communications activities and materials can create demand More requests for information More influence over policy
Slide 26 Key aspects of a communications strategy: Objectives Target individuals/organisations Activities Responsible people/person Timeline Budget Monitoring and evaluation
Slide 27 Keep It Simple : the Good and the Bad The last time we did an advocacy strategy and plan, it was 80 pages and took six months. Communications specialist - CERPOD, Bamako, Mali
Task: Identify 3 to 5 communication objectives and consider how you will achieve them Objective 1 Target group/organisation/person Interventions/activities Responsible person Timeframe Budget Monitoring and evaluation: Expect to see Like to see Love to see
Slide 29 Summary: Communications Strategy Why a communications strategy is important Internal and external communications Steps in a communications strategy Learn from others: good and bad strategies Be both proactive and reactive in communications