3What is communications? Is not an “anyone can do it if you have to” task.An ongoing exchange of information (iterative process):relevant to audiencesintegral to the stages of the policy processconducted on a formal or informal basis
4What is a communications strategy? A well thought out or carefully devised plan for broadcasting differencesA 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)
5What if there is no communication strategy? Difficult to measure activities not planned and organisedMore reactive than proactive communicationRandom activities not well thought outDuplicating effortsMis/un-targeted messagingSometimes you may not necessarily need a communications strategy...its possible to do communication activities without one.. But what are the limitations to not having a communications strategy
6Internal and external communications It is important when thinking of communications to think of it in terms of Internal as well as External communications.
7Internal 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.Can you think of other reasons why internal communications should happen
8External communications Key messages for communicationAudiences/Stakeholders/Key people (segmentation)Activities to carry outRequires a communications strategy*5Ws & H – the Who, What, When, Why, Where & How.*Communications strategy can cover both internal and external communications.
9Communications strategy steps What are the essential elements / steps of a communications strategy?
10Steps in a communications strategy Organise a committeeAnalyse the situationDevelop objectivesIdentify audiencesON FLIP CHARTWhat we have here are steps for guiding your team:(Could Ask SOMEONE to READ or could list these on a flip chart up in front of the room) :The process starts with:1. Creating an advocacy committee ; then moves to2 Analysing the situation;3. Developing policy- relevant advocacy objectives from problems or issues that have been indentified in research or survey data;4. Determining who the audiences are, what they know and what they need with regard to your subject;5. Build partnerships and network to increase the numbers of advocates!6. Developing messages that are tailored for the different audiences;7. Determining the best channels, formats and activities to deliver the message;8. Designing an action plan9. And a plan for evaluating the impacts of your workBuild partnershipsDevelop messagesSelect channelsDevelop action planEvaluate
11Step 1: Establish a communications committee Committee members could include:Staff from main implementing agencyResearchersMembers of relevant professional associationsMembers of partner organizationsMembers of the audience you are trying to reach (news media, religious leaders, etc)
12Step 2: Analyse the situation Analyse the situation carefully to understand the message & provide solid rationale for sharing.
13Step 3: Develop Objectives *What do we want our communications to achieve? Are our objectives SMART?Policy communication objectiveRaise awareness among policymakers about need for increased resources of ICT equipment.Program objectiveIncrease the number of rural users of ICT or increased use of ICT by rural health workers…One distinction to make in developing objectives is to make sure you’re starting with a communication objective rather than a program objective----The reason we’re communicating or advocating is to bring about a change in policies or programs or resource allocationsThe objective should be contributing to bringing about that change….The first step is developing clear communication objectives: this is the hardest part of the process, particularly if you’re working with complex, sensitive issues and possibly conflicting data sets. But if you set yourself up with clear objectives, the rest of the process should flow.
14Develop Objectives and expected outcomes 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
15Step 4: Identify the audience PrimaryWho can directly affect policy on your issue?SecondaryWho can influence those policymakers?Who can stop being an obstacle?Step 2 -Identifying the audiences -When we think about audiences it helps to segment them into at least three groups:Primary audiences - those that can directly affect policy like program staff or high-level officials who will ultimately make the policy decisionSecondary audiences are all the individuals or groups that can influence policy decisions: these are the opinion leaders and include reporters and media executives, heads of professional associations, community leaders, and women's groups. Informal: advisor, spouse, secretaryAnd the last Audience - Opposition forces. Those that are not likely to be pleased with research implications or your objectives - and may require special attention/actions in your plan. Can be members of either the primary or secondary groups.Research has shown that communications can be more effective when directed at various audiences at the same time - so the likelihood of impacts is increased to the extent that different groups are all talking about the same issues.[Developing a database of opinion leaders and providing them with an ongoing stream of materials - fact sheets and poll data - to keep them informed and engaged in your issues]And once you've identified the audiences - it's also useful to identify individuals who are in positions to serve as "policy champions" - respected, spokespersons for your cause
16Who are possible audiences? Political leadersGovernemnt officialsProgramme managersPrivate sectorEducatorsBusiness/Civic leadersNews mediaDonorsReligious leadersProfessional associationsWomen’s groups* This is not an exhaustive list...
17Know 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)Know your audience -Who do they listen to? (Here's where the secondary audiences come in)What do they know about your topic and do they have any interest in it? Again, you'd have to have a different set of objectives if you're starting from scratch.And what's the best way to reach your audiences? What kind of formats or channels are the most appropriate?If you don't have the answers to these questions - one way to find out is through audience research - Focus groups and Key Informant Interviews.
18Step 5: Build partnerships Enlist relevant organisations and individuals to join the advocacy movement to:Augment the numbersStrengthen the talent poolForming partnerships can be challenging!Put into place participatory mechanismsIdentify roles and leadership structure
19Step 6: Developing messages Start with the data and analysisPresent two to three points maximumTailor the message to fit the audienceDeliver through a credible sourceAvoid technical jargonFour Tips for developing the messages:(1) Keep the number of key messages for each group to a maximum of two or three - and deliver those same messages consistently to that group. You can certainly use different spokespersons - but everybody should be singing from the same sheet.(2) Tailor the message to fit the audience - it's the audience that should drive message content. The policymaker is likely to be most interested in one aspect of what you have to present - What's in it for me?(3) Make sure the message is delivered by a source the audience finds credible - "The messenger is often as important or (sometimes) more important than the message itself.(4) Keep the message at the level of the audience - avoid technical jargon - Using words or phrasing that conjure positive images - better to say family planning or child spacing than population control
20Step 7: Communication channels and activities Face-to-face (Interpersonal):Workshops, seminarsConferences, meetingPress briefingsMass mediaPressBroadcast (Radio and TV)New Media: Internet websites*Select formats that are most appropriate for your audiences.
21Step 8: Action plan Key Questions For whom When By what means By whom How oftenHow manyTo complete the plan - last practical step is to devise an action plan. The actual nuts and bolts of the plan is often overlooked or given short shrift by planners.And it's so important to establish a schedule that states to whom the messages are being sent, when, by what means, who is going to do it , how often and in what volume.And then - figure out if you've got enough resources. Put that thought last! Hate to see specter of limited resources stifle creative juices too early in the planning process.
22The devil is in the details Specify:Advocacy activities - outline a detailed work planWhat resources are needed (human and financial)Be alert to opportunities! Are there any upcoming events that will support your objective? Brainstorm on opportunities.For Timeliness and Timing:Policy communications is an ongoing process, butfor maximum impact - Information will be more relevant if it is attached to other issues that are of concern at the moment.(Next Slide)You don't want to miss any opportunities:So incorporating quality time for brainstorming on upcoming events as part of your regular planning can help avoid those last minute rushes to produce materials or get on the agenda.
23Step 9: Evaluation Performance Were all the activities implemented, delivered and on time?ImpactDid activities bring about the desired change?And last but not least is evaluation - Did you make a difference?Keep track of performance or process outputs to guide future work. Were you able carry out all the activities in the expected timeframe?For measuring impacts - here's where it's critical to have those clear results (indicators) spelled out from the beginning -
24Effective communication strategies rely on: Audience-centered approachOngoing communications activitiesDisseminating information at the right time, for the right length of time
25If well designedCommunications activities and materials can create demandMore requests for informationIn conclusion:More influence over policy
26Key aspects of a communications strategy: ObjectivesTarget individuals/organisationsActivitiesResponsible people/personTimelineBudgetMonitoring and evaluation
27Keep 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
28Task: Identify 3 to 5 communication objectives and consider how you will achieve them Target group/organisation/personInterventions/activitiesResponsible personTimeframeBudgetMonitoring and evaluation:Expect to seeLike to seeLove to see
29Summary: Communications Strategy Why a communications strategy is importantInternal and external communicationsSteps in a communications strategyLearn from others: good and bad strategiesBe both proactive and reactive in communications