#UNCAMPAIGN: One Event, Five Speakers and Six Ways Comms Can Make A Difference

15527460907_426ff11876_oFor a while now I’ve had a growing feeling that unless comms people in the public sector can look finance square in the eye then they may not be long for this world.

“So what,” they will ask “difference do you make?”

If the answer is that you helped save the organisation by better communicating with people by working with the contact centre better or some channel shift then you’ve got a chance. If you know you saved £500k through that campaign on recruiting foster carers even better.

If you can’t do that you probably won’t be around. It really is that simple. Forget reputation. That doesn’t show-up on the balance sheet and at a time when budgets are tight helping people with their budgets makes you part of the solution. That’s a really powerful place to be.

A masterclass on campaigns that make a difference

We’re staging a masterclass in good campaigns on February 26 at The Bond Company in Birmingham with speakers who won an unaward at our end-of-year bash. They will be telling tales of how they are making a difference and showing their worth. Five confirmed are:

DVLA head of communications Victoria Ford on building a culture of no cost / low cost campaigns. And how they get over obstacles.

Shadow Giants’ founder Amy Kiernan on how they staged the #backtonursing campaign for the NHS’s Health Education England. A new nurse costs £70k to train while re-training a lapsed one is just a few thousand pounds.

Sandwell Council’s web and digital manager Matt Johnson on the innovative ‘No S**t Sherlock!’ campaign that used humour to shame dog-owners in a perennial problem.

Leed City Council’s Phil Jewitt on how they made their organisation more #trulysocial and how they changed the culture.

Stafford Borough Council’s press and communications manager Will Conaghan will explain how a small team can punch above their weight with some practical examples.

And unconference sessions and a download

The afternoon will see unconference sessions where the agenda is shaped by attendees on the day. Maybe there is an issue that needs tackling or there was something from the morning that needs looking at in more detail.

Attendees can also have a special campaigns download to help capture best practice and some of the stories from the day.

Six ways comms can make a difference to make a good campaign

Everyone likes a beginning, a middle and an end. Screenwriters talk of a three act play. In communications it runs from this is the problem. This is what we did. Here’s the difference we made.

Help identify the problem with just one word: ‘why?’

Often people will beat a path to your door to run a campaign on an issue. The most powerful word in the communications officer’s vocabulary is ‘why?’ It’s ‘why’ that leads you to the heart of the matter. You need more foster carers? Why? To give children a better start in life and if we don’t it costs us money. How much money? We save £10k a time each one we recruit.

Your aim should be to tackle a business objective

A housing association looks after 1,000 properties. They need people in the homes to pay their rent. They need 95 per cent to pay or else there is a serious headeache. Everything the comms person does should point at that. Otherwise, why bother? How can you look finance in the eye?

Once you have the problem don’t have a comms plan for the sake of it

When I was in the public sector, I grew slightly tired of writing Linus blanket comms plans that nobody looked at. A plan is fine. But it only works if there is a commitment on both sides.

Let your comms plan tell a story

That story is the chart that paints an epic story of where the organisation was and where you are headed. It was here and the problem was do big (THE ISSUE). So we decided that it needed to move by that much to make it better (THE TARGET). We understood what the pitfalls out of our control were SCENARIO PLANNING. We worked out who we needed to talk to (AUDIENCE). We worked out the best way to talk to them (CHANNELS). And we asked them to do something which we then counted (MEASURED). And as we went along, we checked that all of those things were working and we were heading where we needed to be (EVALUATED).

Innovate

Be creative. Experiment. See what works. The tried and tested may not be the path to take.

Never end the campaign

There is a logic that sees a push against smoking one week of the year. But what happens if that smoker doesn’t want to right there and then? Maybe its six months down the line? What happens then? Make sure the door is still open and the helpline isn’t turned off until the same time next year.

comms2point0’s comms campaigning masterclass: key lessons from the UnAward winners is staged at The Bond Company, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham from 10am to 4.30pm on Thursday February 26. For more information and to book a ticket click here.


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