. Communications Strategy For The Organization Of Your Choice (25%)

Prepare a complex communications strategy for a real-life organization from a sector you have not used for Assignments 1 or 2. The emphasis in this assignment is on external communications and integrating the skills you have learned into a comprehensive plan.

The communications strategy must include, but need not be limited to the following elements:

· Executive Summary

· Communications Assessment (situational analysis)

· The present situation in which the organization finds itself. What is its reputation, has it received positive/negative media attention, who are its supporters and who are its critics? What needs improvement in its external communications?

· Communication Objectives

· Key Messages

· Key Audiences/target groups/stakeholders

· Who are you communicating with? What do they already know about the issue and/or the organization, and how do you intend to reach them? This list will obviously include the media, among others.

· Activities/tools/tactics for delivering your message(s)

· What materials will need to be developed?

· What events will you hold? Open houses, press conferences, opinion-gathering?

· How you will communicate with each important target group? Identify at least three channels you will use.

· Timeline/budget for implementation

· When will each activity in your plan take place? Next month, next year? In what sequence will you organize these activities and why?

· Include an estimate of the resources (human, financial, time) needed to create your communication materials or carry out your activities.

· Evaluation — how will you measure your success?

The plan should be appropriate for your sector and organization. This is NOT a budgeting exercise. In the Budget section, provide a ballpark estimation of the cost of putting your communications plan into action, and remember to take your organization’s resources into consideration.

Helpful Tips for Writing Assignment #3

1. You are writing this plan for a real organization, and in the real world it would be read by the owners/managers/CEO of that organization. These people obviously know how the organization works – don’t waste time describing it for them (location, number of employees, etc.). Concentrate on what you will do for them as a communications strategy, and why. Do not suggest operational changes, such as hiring more salespeople or reducing prices or training servers to ride unicycles.

2. Write the Executive Summary after you have completed the report. Use entire sentences you wrote elsewhere in your plan, if you choose. Ask a friend or family member to read the Executive Summary ONLY, not the whole plan. If they can read it, and then tell you what your main strategy is to improve the organization’s communications and why you choose that strategy, then your Executive Summary is successful.

3. Focus on the communications aspects. Your role is to examine how an organization communicates to its audiences, and suggest ways in which those communication activities should improve or change. The client already knows how to handle the business side (making money, serving customers, etc.) – you have been contracted to help him/her establish communication goals, craft key messages, and reach target audiences.

4. Please include at least two concrete, well-defined and measurable communication goals in the written report. Example: your goal is to increase your organization’s Twitter followers by 100% within six months. Each goal should be accompanied by one key message. Example for a non-profit/NGO: “We’re stronger together. Let your voice be heard as we advocate for Vancouver’s homeless and push for affordable housing. Join us in promoting #homesforthehomeless.”

Do not confuse goals with messages. See your instructor for clarification on this.

5. Evaluating your success means you have considered the ways in which the client will be able to determine if your communication goals have actually been met. This could include measuring the amount of media coverage generated after your plan is put into action (your strategy generates a certain number of articles in local newspapers or magazines, or 60 minutes of air time on local radio or TV programs). It might include measuring the increase in product sales or donations after the message has been sent out. It could involve counting the number of people who attend an open house or the number of new client names added to your email data base. You could suggest monitoring the number of “hits” on the company’s website, the number of likes on its Facebook site, or the number of followers added to its Twitter or Instagram accounts. Success might be immediate, or could be something you will measure over six months or longer.

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