Communica’s Communication Expertise – what we can do for you!
All of our clients know that strategic communication is vitally important in the execution of stakeholder and Aboriginal engagement programs. But what does that actually mean? By definition, communication is the “act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or express ideas” (Miriam Webster). At Communica, we think that it’s the integration between different communication mediums, for the right audiences, at the right time, that make up a complete communication strategy. If you don’t know who you are talking to and why, how do you know what to say?
A communication strategy cannot be developed in isolation of a stakeholder or Aboriginal engagement plan, and communication approaches will, in large part, be determined by the interests and concerns of key audiences. How you incorporate public input and address concerns is critical in building trust.
While traditional forms of written communication such as display boards, presentations, editorials or press releases are still important, there are many other tools that we encourage our clients to explore, especially when it comes to relaying technical information about complex issues. Here is a look at four communication methods that, depending on your audience, Communica recommends.
1. Augmented Reality
Have you witnessed people walking around with their smartphones pointed at random objects and areas? Are you wondering what all this Pokemon Go talk is about? This is augmented reality in action. Through the use of smartphone technology, animators have found a way to incorporate real life into game play and it is taking the world by storm.
While all in good fun recreationally, augmented reality (AR) can actually be an innovative and interactive communication tool that can bring a project’s technical design to life. Using AR can help stakeholders visualize early project designs and potential impacts well before the project has made major design decisions. It’s an effective means to encourage and implement stakeholder feedback early in the project planning phase. Wouldn’t it be great to know that a majority of your key stakeholders prefer that the building be painted green instead of brown before you actually paint it?
2. Emergency Response Communication
Safety is a big part of our work culture at Communica. Not only have we worked closely with clients to write internal emergency response plans, internal tsunami protocol documents, and earthquake, fire and flood policies, we have firsthand expertise in the development of external crisis or emergency communications planning. Communica can support organizations in the development of their own Emergency Response Communication Plans, including:
- Any and all communication requirements such as content writing, planning, messaging and strategizing;
- Liaising both proactively and during an incident, with affected stakeholders such as local communities, First Nations, customers, local and national media, governments, regulators, employees and chain-of-command throughout an organization;
- Internal crisis media training, including the creation of response protocols; and
- Risk management and leadership coaching.
3. Ambassador Training
Knowing the ways to appropriately interact with different stakeholder and Aboriginal groups is critical to good communication. Ambassador training allows teams who engage with the public or in project communities to become aware and understand the differing nuances between groups. Additionally, it is a way for project groups to become equipped with the skills and tactics required to address queries in a professional and uniform way. Our training program assures clients that everyone on the team is aligned in their public messaging, as well as with their behavior while out in the community.
4. Local Media Monitoring/Issues Analysis
While many of our clients have provincial, national and international corporate media monitoring systems in place, these rarely catch the local community news that is vitally important to understanding the audience where project proponents are planning to construct and operate. Staying up to date with current and local issues and trends is fundamental to a good communication strategy. Communica uses a variety of tools to track important media stories for our clients. Our integrated media dashboard allows us to track multiple media channels with pinpointed keywords that assist us in trend and issues analysis. By taking a micro view on different communities of interest, we have the ability to understand issues early on. This allows us to adapt communication strategies to address what is “bubbling up” in the media and is an important strategic communication practice in issues management.
What is your experience with any of the above communication methods? Let us know in the comments below. For more information on the complete suite of communications offerings we are able to provide, please see our website and get in touch with us.
- Shannon O’Byrne