LARGECO Safety Communication Plan       F. Renee Griffin, MBA, APR                                    Page | 1 of 13
CONTENTSSection                              PageSCENARIO                             3INFORMAL RESEARCH                  ...
SCENARIOLARGECO, a large U.S. energy transmission and distribution organization, has severalbusiness units, each with a fo...
INFORMAL RESEARCHInterviews   • Elected officials in communities where LARGECO has operations   • Chambers of commerce   •...
Historical Research - Review of safety complaints made against the company   • Public files   • State and federal regulato...
FORMAL RESEARCHMedia content analysis (print, broadcast, online using positive, negative, and neutralsort categories and a...
PLANNINGPotential Publics   • Employees   • Community influencers and elected officials   • Residents in communities where...
Within 18 months                    X customers will volunteer to write testimonials about                                ...
Customers     • Make customers a part of the solution by giving them written and verbal        opportunities to learn more...
IMPLEMENTATION                          Tactics, Tools and SpokespersonsEmployees  • Employee Advisory Committee — select ...
•   Safety and community improvement events - Partner with the communities and       work with safety groups, community in...
•   Backgrounder/fact sheets, including benchmarking data; industry trends;       LARGECO’s leadership efforts; leading-ed...
EVALUATIONShort-term objectivesUse internal communication channels to survey select sample of employees who residein targe...
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A safety communications plan I wrote for LARGECO, the mock name of a real company that requested that I write this plan as part of the application process for a corporate communications position.

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Fr griffin sample_largeco_safety_communication_plan

  1. 1. LARGECO Safety Communication Plan F. Renee Griffin, MBA, APR Page | 1 of 13
  2. 2. CONTENTSSection PageSCENARIO 3INFORMAL RESEARCH 4FORMAL RESEARCH 6PLANNING 7IMPLEMENTATION 10EVALUATION 13 Page | 2 of 13
  3. 3. SCENARIOLARGECO, a large U.S. energy transmission and distribution organization, has severalbusiness units, each with a focus on employee safety with their own themes and logos.There is not a central safety organization or cohesive message. The business units areopen to a “one company” campaign and theme.How would you implement a companywide safety communication plan? Outline yourcommunication plan and tactics. Page | 3 of 13
  4. 4. INFORMAL RESEARCHInterviews • Elected officials in communities where LARGECO has operations • Chambers of commerce • Civic leadersThis is to see how community leaders feel about LARGECO and assess attitudesand beliefs of key decision makers/publics.Focus groups • Corporate employees • Employees who are residents in the immediate areas of operations • Residents living close to pipelines and T&D operations • Residents in other areas of the town where operations are located and in neighboring areasSince formal research questions will need to be constructed, information on issuesraised in focus groups will help identify topics that should be included in the formalresearch phase. Focus groups are a good way to reach targeted publics and take theirpulse.Mail and telephone logs segmented into contact categories • Employees who are residents in immediate area of operations • Customers • Community contacts • Corporate • Community influencers and elected officialsThis is to identify topics with levels of concern strong enough to prompt people to initiatecommunication with LARGECO. Probe for underlying values and attitudes. Data can beused to identify which publics need information on specific topics.Trends and analysis • Online searches by related topics • Industry data banks and bibliographies from trade and professional associationsDetermine the level of focus within the industry and potentially identify companiesthat have successfully addressed safety issues. Determine how much of the “publicmind” is focused on safety issues, and identify resources and experts who may be ableto help.Benchmarking • Competitors • Members of trade associationsThis may provide baseline data for future measurement. Page | 4 of 13
  5. 5. Historical Research - Review of safety complaints made against the company • Public files • State and federal regulatory agencies • National, state and local associations focusing on safety issuesDetermine the nature and source(s) of complaints and if most complaints are comingfrom the same people. What specifically the complainers are upset about? And what, ifany, solutions/remedies would be acceptable? Page | 5 of 13
  6. 6. FORMAL RESEARCHMedia content analysis (print, broadcast, online using positive, negative, and neutralsort categories and a predetermined sample of media coverage)Examine all references to LARGECO and/or safety for the past 12 months. Determinewhat, if anything, in the media has contributed to the public perception of the company.Determine if past messages have gotten out. Also, potentially identify news outletssympathetic/unsympathetic to the company on safety.Telephone survey • Random sample of employees who are residents in natural gas and T&D operational areas and nearby communities • Random sample of residents of communities where operational facilities are located and in nearby communitiesDetermine the extent to which residents are aware of efforts LARGECO has made topromote safety. Find out what changes and remedies would improve their perception ofsafety efforts by LARGECO.Formal online survey • Random sample out of LARGECO’s overall base of natural gas/T&D customers.Find out if customers have positive perceptions of safety by LARGECO and awarenessof all the efforts the company has made to advance safety. Page | 6 of 13
  7. 7. PLANNINGPotential Publics • Employees • Community influencers and elected officials • Residents in communities where natural gas/T&D operations are located • Resident in communities surrounding natural gas/T&D operations • Local, state, federal regulators (e.g. OSHA) • Local, state, federal elected officials • Media • Customers • Stockholders • Industrial safety groupsPotential Objectives/short-termWithin three months X percent of all employees will articulate support for LARGECO’s position as an industry leader in safety, including ability to state at least three of the organization’s key messages. Media coverage of LARGECO’s safety efforts will increase X percent compared to original content analysis.Within six months X percent of residents near natural gas/T&D operations -- given a list of actions that could be taken to improve safety -- will be able to identify at least two that LARGECO has taken. X percent of LARGECO stockholders surveyed will confirm support for companywide safety efforts.Within nine months X percent more customers than in the original online survey will identify LARGECO as a company that acts to improve and advance safety in another online survey.Potential Objectives/long-termEmployee opinion survey questions related to safety will retain or improve score overprevious year.Within one year X percent of surveyed residents near natural gas/T&D operations will report that they believe LARGECO is trying to promote safety. Page | 7 of 13
  8. 8. Within 18 months X customers will volunteer to write testimonials about LARGECO’s safety efforts.Within two years Media will have reported X percent more stories about LARGECO’s safety than evidenced in the original content analysis.Within three years Local, state and federal regulator reports and public statements will identify LARGECO as a leader in safety.Within 36 months LARGECO will receive a significant industry award for safety.Potential StrategiesFor all audiences, use two-way communications that respond in genuinely sincere wayto real concerns.Employees • Use existing internal communication channel to highlight safety efforts. If none exists, set up a two-way feedback channel on corporate intranet to keep employees up-to-date with news and activities. Employee communications should be posted before communications with other audiences, if lawful and within regulatory compliance. • Engage select sample of employees who reside in targeted communities as opinion leaders on safety initiatives.Residents (including community influencers and elected officials) of communities wherenatural gas/T&D operations are based and nearby communities • Use an information/education campaign that relies on both self-published and self-distributed communication vehicles. • Use a media relations strategy that includes stories with third-party credibility. • Use a community-engagement strategy focused on opinion leaders.Local, state, federal regulators, elected officials • Build relationships through informal, closed-door briefings and other frequent contacts complemented by regular dissemination of related information. • Couple personal interaction with factual data presented verbally and graphically.Media • Increase contact with all local news outlets as well as industry/trade media. • Provide opportunities for media to become knowledgeable about the company through facility media tours, editorial boards, media breakfasts, invitations to community education events, technical reports and availability of knowledgeable experts. Page | 8 of 13
  9. 9. Customers • Make customers a part of the solution by giving them written and verbal opportunities to learn more about the company and give the company feedback about their satisfaction or concerns regarding its performance.Stockholders • Inform them through existing communication vehicles, as well as special graphic and visual presentations that quickly convey the messages.Potential unified messages/themes • good corporate citizenship • contributing to the local economy, energy efficiency • importance of safety to quality of life • collaboration of employees, community members, regulators, others to enhance our efforts, improve our communities • everyone’s help is needed for continuous improvement Page | 9 of 13
  10. 10. IMPLEMENTATION Tactics, Tools and SpokespersonsEmployees • Employee Advisory Committee — select group of front-line employees who reside in targeted natural gas/T&D operational communities; two-way, face-to- face efforts to monitor and anticipate community opinions, concerns, questions and opportunities; engage friends and neighbors within community, sample for community sentiment; provide educational/informational material; enlist in ownership of plans and company’s reputation in the communities. • Employee newsletter/intranet (Sharepoint) — dedicated-space stories focused on LARGECO’s safety efforts, care for health, life, etc. • Supervisor meetings/management briefings (e.g. “brown bag lunches”) advancing series of key messages over time. • Create specific channel(s) of communication with employees who reside in the natural gas/T&D operational areas and surrounding communities.Residents of natural gas/T&D operational communities and nearby communities • Community newsletter describing efforts to improve safety. • Electronic newsletter to opinion leaders in operational communities focused on LARGECO as corporate citizen; safety efforts/plans; testimonials/quotes from employees engaged as opinion leaders. • Web site/microsite dedicated to safety efforts; include long-range plan; senior safety officer’s blog, FAQs; Interactive element emphasizing “how citizens can take action to improve safety.” • Speakers’ bureau and video — available to civic groups, schools, city councils and other organizations interested in environmental topics, showing how citizens can take action to improve safety and how LARGECO is doing its part. • Series of posters -- displayed in mass transit system (e.g. buses) and on public bulletin boards in the local areas. Content will be a different slogan on each with actions being taken within the service area to advance safety. Prepared jointly with the corporate safety division/department. • Image advertising/infomercials — (three per month for first six months, two per month for the next six months, one per month for balance of campaign) in all local media outlets, telling LARGECO’s safety story. Page | 10 of 13
  11. 11. • Safety and community improvement events - Partner with the communities and work with safety groups, community influencers and elected officials to hold safety-based community events focused on improving communities. • Spokespersons: CEO, senior safety officer(s) and staff, external corporate communications staff.Local, State, Federal Regulators, Elected Officials • Meetings with senior safety officer(s) and staff to discuss safety trends, issues, complaints, new developments, etc., and LARGECO’s public service efforts to increase public awareness and participation in safety improvements. • Quarterly letters outlining activities the company has taken internally to promote safety and areas of cooperation/collaboration with communities to improve safety. • Tours of natural gas/T&D facilities each time new, industry-leading safety equipment/technologies are installed. • Hold regular open forums with LARGECO senior management team and public safety liaisons. • Spokespersons: CEO (as signatory of letters), senior safety officer, corporate communications officer and staff (for meetings, tours)Media • Establish one-on-one media relationships with reporters covering the company and the industry. • Set editorial board meeting(s) with newspapers, industry journals in the company’s service areas. CEO, senior safety officer, corporate communications staff will attend. • Tours of operational facilities, including Q&A sessions with corporate executives after the tour; special tours for media when new safety technologies/equipment are operational with lots of description of how safety is enhanced, how much it cost the company, etc. • Insider interviews with senior safety officer and employees “on the line.” • Testimonials from residential, commercial and industrial customers who praise the efforts of the company. • Feature stories on the natural gas pipeline/T&D industries, the efforts to provide energy efficiency and work for safety. Page | 11 of 13
  12. 12. • Backgrounder/fact sheets, including benchmarking data; industry trends; LARGECO’s leadership efforts; leading-edge technology/equipment installations; long-term safety plan; contact information of third-party industry experts. • Online newsroom with fact sheets; quotes; links to third-party research and experts. • Spokespersons: corporate communications/media relations officer for meetings. Internal experts on safety, equipment, operations for facility tours. CEO and senior safety officer for Q&A session.Customers • Customer newsletter with information about people in LARGECO, new developments at natural gas/T&D facilities, other highlights that show what LARGECO is doing to be a good, safe corporate citizen. • Feedback e-mail address in every newsletter asking for suggestions on safety and improvement programs customers have seen or think might work, and general feedback on the operations and people of LARGECO. • Customer service training/speaking points on LARGECO as an industry leader in safety; feedback line for customer service team and corporate communications to monitor customer feedback, identify possible testimonials. • Set up interactive feedback mechanism on the LARGECO Internet site. • Spokespersons: corporate communications and head of customer service, using key messages.StockholdersPotential message: You can be proud of LARGECO’s natural gas and T&D operationsand services. Success in safety initiatives is good for business and profits. • Annual report can have a shaded box on page one for the duration of the campaign, providing information on what LARGECO is doing to promote safety. • Special direct mail to all stockholders consisting of photo essay showing LARGECO promoting safety and helping communities be safe. Charts, graphs and pictures predominate; little text. • Spokesperson: Chairman of the Board and CEO. Page | 12 of 13
  13. 13. EVALUATIONShort-term objectivesUse internal communication channels to survey select sample of employees who residein targeted service areas on their interactions in the communities, including an open-ended question inviting feedback identifying three key messages that they believe tohave been most important.Attend all public meetings where safety is an issue and/or the senior safety officer mightattend or speak. Assess comments on a scale of 0-10 with zero representing nocomments made. Piggyback on content analysis.Conduct a content analysis using the same methodology and audience as the first oneduring the research phase (print, broadcast, online media).Obtain intercept interviews at post offices, banks, supermarkets, other locations invarious LARGECO service areas. Ask every 10th person to review a list of safetyactions and identify two that they believe LARGECO uses to promote safety at itsnatural gas pipeline/T&D facilities. See how many of those interviewed can correctlyidentify two actions that are actually being taken by LARGECO.Survey all stockholders to determine how many say they support the company’s safetyefforts.Re-survey natural gas distribution customers via an online survey. Be sure to re-ask allquestions, especially those that deal with whether LARGECO acts to promote safety.Compare original pre-communication plan results with current results.Long-term objectivesRepeat research section’s formal telephone survey of LARGECO natural gasdistribution service area residents using the same sampling method. Compare results ofpre-communications program survey with the one-year survey to see if a targetedpercent of residents view LARGECO’s safety efforts positively.Review letters, faxes and e-mails to see if there are customers who have commentedpositively on the company’s operations and efforts to promote safety. Ask them if theywill allow their words to be used as testimonials.Conduct another content analysis drawing on the same media. Compare positivecoverage figures.Attend key public meetings of local, state, federal regulators and elected officials andreview minutes, news, annual reports and related records every six months. Focus willbe on determining that LARGECO is not viewed negatively and, more importantly, that itis being cited as a good example of a safe corporate citizen. Page | 13 of 13

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