Reputation Enhancing Communication


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Reputation Enhancing Communication

  2. 2. Overview Strategic communications Media management Reputation management 10 key points
  3. 3. Overview We understand the vision What they want to do and why they want to do it
  4. 4. Overview We articulate the vision They give us their ideas – we make them real to people
  5. 5. Overview We embrace the vision We understand it and it drives our work
  6. 6. Overview We win hearts and minds For our benefit and to guard our reputation
  7. 7. Overview Proud to be professional We shout about it … but we make sure we make the difference
  8. 8. Overview Our brand is the glue that bound us together And it’s the oil that keeps us going
  9. 9. Overview We are always prepared Forward planning; issues management; it’s all there
  10. 10. Overview We build relationships It’s never straightforward (relationships rarely are) but it’s worth it in the end
  11. 11. Overview We evaluate all our work If it doesn’t work we do it differently; if it does – we do more of it!
  12. 12. Overview We are lucky! Nothing succeeds like hard work – but you need the breaks as well
  13. 13. Communications and Marketing Agency – a potted history • Shared service created in 2006 • Brief to drive greater efficiencies • Increasing the profile of Bolton • Four core teams to deliver this remit – Consultation and research – Marketing – Communications and media – Marketing Bolton
  14. 14. Key factors contributing to our success • Bolton Brand • Consistent experienced management team • New Chief Executive • Council restructure • Leadership, ‘place’, partnership and reputation agendas • Right move at the right time - that element of luck! • …and a lot of hard work
  15. 15. A brand for Bolton a brief overview
  16. 16. Brand development and positive recognition
  17. 17. Brand origins We consulted widely before developing the brand with people who live, work, visit Bolton. Brand values • Open Friendly, welcoming, inclusive • Colourful Characterful, distinctive, interesting • Sound Decent, reliable, trustworthy Brand essence … ‘family’
  18. 18. What the brand means… For council staff • A joined-up approach to communicating; consistent, clear communications drive positive perceptions of our organisation For Bolton people • Builds a sense of ‘place’ • Enhances a sense of community ‘Bolton Family’ • Brings in the ‘big players’ from industry and commerce • Gives Bolton a strong identity
  19. 19. What the brand means The brand helps us to communicate strong and positive messages (like these …)
  20. 20. The brand at work… …welcoming and gives Bolton an identity
  21. 21. Hospitable Bolton…
  22. 22. The brand helps communicate internally and externally…
  23. 23. The brand promotes council services and celebrates Bolton’s diverse community…
  24. 24. Our strategic focus – Shifting to proactive reputation management • We played the long game – it takes time! • We grabbed opportunities – New Chief Executive – Council restructure – one council approach – The brand • (Eventually) we got a seat at the top table • We moved from reactive to proactive comms • Forward planning – the team began to attend director and informal Executive Member briefings; we held Agency-wide planning meetings; we kept talking
  25. 25. Strategic communications – what we did From the outset … • We integrated our communications, marketing and consultation work, reflecting our key aims and themes (understanding the ‘vision’) • Key aims – Healthy; Achieving; Prosperous; Safer; Cleaner and greener Strong and confident; (Value for money) • Key themes ‘Ensuring economic prosperity for all’ ‘Narrowing the gap between the most and least well off’ THIS VISION IS NOW OUR BEDROCK But we had to work at it! (DVD)
  26. 26. Reputation management and the ‘reputation gap’ • Key outcome for us – resident satisfaction • Nationally and locally – overall performance / perception gap • BVPI service scores for Bolton better than overall satisfaction score • Reflects a national trend with only a minority of exceptions • Huge initiative internally to ensure buy-in
  27. 27. The reputation gap • Key outcome for us – resident satisfaction • BVPI service scores for Bolton better than overall satisfaction score Year 2008 2007 2006 2005 Overall satisfaction with council 43% 52% 50% 48% Average satisfaction with 59% 71% 68% services • Reflects a national trend with only a minority of exceptions
  28. 28. Factors influencing satisfaction Q: Which of the following most influenced your answer to “overall how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the way the authority runs things?” • How well the council is performing • Your experience of using or benefiting from council services • How well informed the council keeps you about services and benefits it provides • The value for money your council tax represents • What you’ve heard or seen about the council in local media • Your experience of contacting or dealing with the council • What the council spends its money on
  29. 29. Factors influencing satisfaction Q: Which of the following most influenced your answer to Q22 “overall how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the way the authority runs things?” • Your experience of contacting or dealing with the council (1) • What the council spends its money on (2) • The value for money your council tax represents (3) • Your experience of using or benefiting from council services (4) • How well informed the council keeps you about services and benefits it provides (5) • How well the council is performing (6) • What you’ve heard or seen about the council in local media (7)
  30. 30. “I get my info about the council from…” …materials provided by the council 33% …local media 27% …council web/intranet 12% …word of mouth 8% …direct contact with council 8% …my local councillor 1%
  31. 31. How communication links to reputation – externally and internally 1. We have a strategy to underpin all communications and marketing with a common purpose; presenting messages that … Bolton Council = efficient, well-run, value for money = direct benefit to people and place 2. Helping the organisation to maximise and understand effective communication Bolton Council = employees as ambassadors - beyond service = recognising and promoting good news = recognising and managing bad news
  32. 32. Our common sense approach to reputation management • Perception of the council is key to performance – Telling our story – Showing how we provide value for money etc • Four key ways … 3. Maximising effectiveness of media management 4. ‘Corporate publications’: eg Bolton Scene, Bolton Plan; Town Centre publication 5. Internal communications and staff engagement 6. Managing cross-cutting communication priorities
  33. 33. Media management - why is it important?
  34. 34. Media management – why is it important?
  35. 35. Media management – why is it important?
  36. 36. Media management – why is it important?
  37. 37. Media management – why is it important?
  38. 38. Media management – why is it important?
  39. 39. Media management – why is it important?
  40. 40. Media management: Forward planning • When staff are planning a policy, they are encouraged to think about its effect on public perception of Council • Vital to be given advance warning of potential issues and crises and advance warning of big stories – to give us chance to ensure that story is presented in a balanced or positive way
  41. 41. Media management: Evaluation From: Communications and Marketing Agency (Mar 6) The following stories about Bolton Council have appeared recently in the local, regional and national media. Main story of the week: Bolton Evening News: Council gets four stars for service (Mar 5) • The Bolton News: •         Council scoops awards (Mar 5) •         Top class campus given go-ahead (Mar 5) •         Go ahead for £82.9m schools plan (Mar 4) •         Street art up for national honour (Mar 2) •         Gateway gallery plan (Feb 28) •         What a show at the museum (Feb 28) Manchester Evening News: ‘Honour shot soldiers’ (Mar 6) • £90m for ‘innovation zone’ colleges (Mar 6) •
  42. 42. Our councils are stars of town hall league table (Mar 5) • Other regional and national news: • Bolton Council wins Beacon award for housing services (Mar 4) • Crain’s Business Manchester: Bolton MBC to exhibit at MIPIM (Mar 3) • Health Club Management: Bolton relocates leisure provision (Feb 27) Bolton press releases The following press release is one of those issued about Bolton Council and its partners over the last week. All press releases are detailed in full on our website Click on the link to view a copy of the full release: •         Free advice from new Business Bolton website •         School’s investment plans to continue •         Plans to improve pedestrian crossing at busy junction •         Young people get involved in play areas Bolton enquiries The following enquiries are a selection of those received by the press office during the last week: •         School admissions •         Private James Smith •         Lillian Hamer Bolton issues monitor The following stories and issues have appeared in the national media this week and may affect Bolton Council and Bolton. Click on the link to view a copy of the full story: Warning of primary places crisis Thousands of four and five-year-olds in England could be without a primary school place in the next six years, it is suggested BBC Schools 'flouting rules to pick pupils by family backgrounds' Schools have been accused of flouting Labour's rules on admissions as figures showed thousands of pupils failed to get preferred places this year Telegraph, pg 8 We’d love to hear your views! If you have any comments or questions, or anything you would like to see included in this bulletin, please contact Leena Chauhan, Communications Support Officer on 01204 332238 or email
  43. 43. Some other tools • Bolton Summed Up – coverage by … – publication – tone – Advertising value – position • Agency forward plan, including timelines • Efficiencies document
  44. 44. Corporate publications: their power as tools for communicating messages • Part of the wider strategy for communicating the work of the council • Effective corporate publications can help us to tell our story in ways people can understand • Two way process – communicate, listen, evaluate, communicate again • 87% turn to us first for news about the council • Bolton Scene is, by far, our most effective promotional tool
  45. 45. Corporate publications
  46. 46. Corporate publications: a strategic approach • A strategic approach to the editorial process Brief overview • Editorial meetings • Review meetings • Proofing meetings • Sign-off
  47. 47. Internal communications We aim to: • create an effective mentality – no silos • keep staff up to date with important news and developments within the council • value staff opinions, listen to their suggestions for improvement and act on them • help staff communicate effectively
  48. 48. What staff think 2008 staff survey results: • 75% of respondents (2,421) were satisfied with their current job • 73% were either very or fairly satisfied with Bolton Council as an employer • 67% were proud to work for Bolton Council • 46% were satisfied with council communications
  49. 49. How we manage our internal communications • Intranet • Bob – staff magazine • Update Online • Team briefings • Regular team meetings with line managers • Induction presentations • Departmental newsletters • Director and Chief Executive briefings • Regular staff survey • Bolton 100 club • Bolton’s Best - staff awards
  50. 50. Strategic communications and reputation management – bringing it all together • Monitoring and measurement – helps to prove the worth of the team • Evaluation and consultation – helps to develop even better communications • Forward planning – ensures the team knows what’s on the horizon – must be done regularly • Issues management – makes comms more effective • Media management – develop a relationship with the media … it can help enormously • Reputation issues – encouraging staff to think about the consequences of their actions is key • Corporate publications – vital to get message across
  51. 51. The challenges • It doesn’t happen overnight - it takes years … • Don’t expect miracles - resistance is common – sometimes worse! • Are you the icing or the currants? • Develop a long term strategy – and stick to it • Ensure you build a team with strategic awareness and planning skills • Who are your allies? Who are the assassins? • Some of it will be planning – but some of it is luck! • Be prepared for early setbacks, but you’ll have some early successes to as people start to ‘get it’
  52. 52. The strategy • Build an evidence chest – evaluation/monitoring/surveys/ efficiencies • Develop relationships based on trust, by proving your worth… – with chief officers – with councillors – with HR (internal communications) • Build relationships with the media • As your chest fills up – go to work … – Present to Directors and senior managers – Remind them of successes – Remind them how you helped them through issues/setbacks – Begin to make your case for the seat at the top table • But the top table is just the start …
  53. 53. The strategy • Once you have their trust you’ll reach a tipping point • ‘It really works!’; ‘you help me to do my job better’ • This creates new issues in terms of workload • Your team’s skills really start to matter • You need to learn to absorb information fast • Expect it to hurt – SWOT/PESTLE – nice to have! • Strategic comms can be stressful at times BUT • You become aware of issues early on • You think through all the possibilities • You start to see the results in the coverage you get
  54. 54. The political dimension … • Can be difficult to manage • Councils effectively have two sets of ‘senior managers’ • One is ‘on message’ the other … well, it depends on their political allegiance! • Generally have the best interests of the place at heart • ‘The Bolton way’ • Educate to gain understanding (brand)
  55. 55. The opportunities • A chance to prove your professionalism • A chance to make a difference (foster care) • A chance to develop a strategic mindset • This makes you valuable • Wider corporate knowledge than some top managers! • Your skills can be interchangeable – promotion awaits! • This approach is still innovative in the public sector • A lot of council comms teams are ‘task and finish’ • Many still don’t participate in ‘guiding coalition’ • Growing awareness – so you are well placed