Welcome to Strategic Communications!
Have you ever thought about how many times a day someone tries to influence you to think a certain way, to buy a certain product, to support a cause or to change your behavior? These days there are so many ways to reach you—from cell phones and handheld computers to instant messaging, cable TV and customized publications—that a reasonable reaction is to simply tune everything out. It’s a world of sound and fury.
As your partnership works to change the way people approachlong term care for older adults, you’re entering this same world. You know your goals are worthwhile. And yet it can be daunting to get the people who matter most to pay attention to what you have to say. Take heart. By employing some strategic communications strategies and planning processes, you can cut through this information overload to achieve your goals.
Learning to use communications strategically will be the foundation for your success. It is the method by which you will persuade people to embrace your partnership’s vision of long term care. It is the tool for bringing together diverse parts of the community and holding them to a common goal.
Strategic communications is not for the faint-hearted. You must be willing to abandon your reliance on traditional forms of media and vehicles. Embrace the concept of audience-focused communications, and have fun as you develop new ways of motivating those audiences that are critical to your success.
Without Communications, Your Partnership is Merely a Good Idea.
Partnerships offer a unique set of communications opportunities and challenges. A partnership operates as its own orga nization—an entity separate from, yet part of, its member organizations. Communications can provide a framework for addressing divergent views on goals and strategies, as well as putting into words the shared values that bring—and keep—a partnership together.
We often think of communications mainly as a way to accomplish goals by reaching out to external audiences. Equally important are the internal audiences, where communications can help to clarify where you are, where you are headed—and why—and whether you are on the right track. Because partnerships involve a number of member organizations, your internal audiences are multiplied greatly.
The communications resources presented here are designed to bring success to your partnership. The tips and techniques apply equally well to your partnership’s member organizations, each of which can benefit from adopting strategic communications practices.
Good communications involves a two-way exchange. You are working to persuade someone, but you are also listening and adjusting your messages based on what you are hearing. And all effective communications begin with the audience, not you.
Are You Succeeding?