Developing a communication strategy

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This is a pressentation by Dr. Faith Nguthi of ISAAA AfriCenter giving some tips on how to develop a communication strategy

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Developing a communication strategy

  1. 1. Developing a Communication Strategy By Faith Nguthi (PhD) ISAAA AFRICENTER 3rd -4th July 2012, Kigali Rwanda,
  2. 2. What is a communication strategy A communication strategy outlines a process of communicating and sharing information to target audiences and stakeholders Why? What? Who? When? Where? How?of relaying information
  3. 3. It provides….. a structure for identifying events (e.g., issues, problems, and actions) that require outreach; considers potential messages and audiences; Develops vehicles to deliver information.
  4. 4. Effective communication Must reflect a two-way dialogue,  Listen (what does our audience want?),  Design and deliver audience-informed strategies,  Feedback to assess impact.
  5. 5. When to use….. When events or issues are complex or potentially sensitive, Helps you to organize information and identify the concerns that may arise from such issues. Avoid potential misunderstandings about difficult issues. When time is of the essence. Ensures rapid information exchange during emergencies. Early analysis of participants and their roles so that expectations and communication needs can be identified and fulfilled throughout an event or project.
  6. 6. But………. While the private sector invests trillions of dollars every year on communication The public and non-profit sectors perceive it as an optional or fringe activity, and certainly not central to the work (e.g. the research) itself. Communications are typically out-sourced or developed by junior personnel Little idea of the organization’s objectives. Minimum budgets
  7. 7. Why? Ask yourself: What is the issue to which my project is responding? or What is the action that my project is taking that warrants development of a strategy? What is your communication goal?  providing information,  increasing awareness,  encouraging action,  building consensus,  changing behavior,  promoting community participation,  resolving conflict,  asking for a response, or something else?
  8. 8. What Identify and define all messages.  Might involve a brainstorming session where all possible message ideas are listed. Rank message priority. Focus on two to three key messages and rank them by importance, timeliness, or other factors
  9. 9. What?Message: What is our message? Do we have one message for multiple audiences or Multiple messages for multiple audiences?
  10. 10. Who? Audience Who is our audience? How do they perceive the innovation/technology? What questions do they have about the innovation/technology? Know what your audience care about - what they want to know, not what they need to know! By answering the potential audience questions, you will improve the effectiveness of the message and increase the efficiency of the delivery mechanism to be developed.
  11. 11. When & whereChannels: What channels will we use to disseminate our message? Special events Community interviews Community visits Focus groups Media, news releases, press conferences Public meetings Public or private schools Workshops
  12. 12. How?Essential Elements Basket of tools: What kinds of communications “products” best capture and deliver our messages? Resources: What kind of budget do we have for this? What communications skills and hardware do we have?
  13. 13. Tools &vehiclesWhat kinds of communications “products” best capture and deliver our messages? Brochures Exhibits Internet Mailing information Presentations Public notices Telephone Translations of documents into second languages Newsprint, radio, videos Social media
  14. 14. Feedback Successful? What will have changed? Did we use the right tools? Was the budget enough? Were we on time? Did we have any influence?
  15. 15. Feedback Creating an Impact Log. This is qualitative and non-systematic informal record compiled in-house  stakeholder feedback (e.g. an email extolling the virtues of our policy brief);  a list of media references indicating the reach of our communications products (e.g. direct reference or citation in newspaper articles, Internet, TV); speeches citing our work,
  16. 16. Feedback contd. Formal Survey - with a purposefully selected sample of people Will provide information to help improve our communications strategy. Key-Informant Interviews to gather more in- depth information from stakeholders with insight into our communications. Focus group discussions
  17. 17. Mobilizing Resources for theCommunication Strategy Communication is often an expensive venture. With increased competition for scarce grant resources, think of new, diverse, and multiple funding streams Multiple sources of funding increase your independence and flexibility to implement programs
  18. 18. TipsA communication strategy should…. Thorough, but not too elaborate. Not replace process of actually communicating with clients. Flexible enough to allow for changing messages. Consulted often to remind of goals, messages, and audiences. Define most important ideas to communicate. Document successes and shortcomings for improvement. Work with press particularly at milestone events Revised if it is not producing results
  19. 19. 5 communication failures that killoperational successMixed messages from multiple expertsInformation released lateNot countering rumors and myths in real-timePublic power struggles and confusion
  20. 20. Seven “attitudinal sins”1. Wait-and-see attitude.2. Belittling attitude3. “Everything under control” attitude4. “We know best” attitude5. “You have to believe me”6. “Freedom works best,”7. “Discredit the critics”. Walter von Wartburg http://web.aces.uiuc.edu/ agcomdb/archive/2000/2000_6.html#seven
  21. 21. Remember….Communications is a two-way process  The better we listen to our audience, the better we will be able to answer their needs  and the more our messages will be believed, liked, and ultimately acted upon.
  22. 22. Thank you…www.isaaa.org

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