Ordered List

Wednesday 6 May 2009

I recently had a very illuminating chat with Caroline Jaine, the Director of imediate, around community communications, so I thought I'd share some of what I learnt.

  1. Always start with a clear strategy,
  2. Followed by an implementation plan, and
  3. Finally outcome monitoring.

Key point: Do NOT just rush into comms activity. There are lots of risks and sensitivities, and consequently these programmes often fail. Plan first!

The following are the key steps in developing communications for social change.

Comms Strategy

  1. Gain clarity of purpose first, by validating the overall mission that the comms fits into.
    • Research community and environmental factors for insights into what the real problem is and what is realistically achievable.
    • Identify and understand risks, and develop clear mitigation strategies.
  2. Comms strategies are about behaviour change, so
    • Identify the specific behaviours that need to change.
    • Use it to define and focus on the correct target audience.
  3. Identify approaches and ways you might change these behaviours.
    • Identify key points of influence.
    • Identify the key channels of influence and communication.
    • Define key themes and messages.
  4. Evaluate how the audiences perceive the communications provider.
  5. Use these insights to identify the most credible person/organisation/partners/network to provide the message. This is the basis of psychological operations, which are as follows
    • White - Communicator takes direct ownership of and association with comms.
    • Grey - Comms are provided with no direct ownership.
    • Black - Comms are attributed to a third party without their knowledge. Unethical and not recommended.

Comms programme creation and delivery

  1. Know what you have to work with.
    • Assess budget.
    • Assess resource.
    • Assess potential partners for delivery.
  2. Define timelines.
  3. Define success criteria.
  4. Create implementation plan.

Post Implementation

  1. Monitor success.
  2. Maintain relationships.

(For more on community communications keep up with Caroline's thoughts on the imediate blog.)