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1 Communications strategy refresh January c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

2 Contents 1. Introduction p 3 a. SNH: corporate aims and objectives b. SNH and communications 2. Considerations p3 3. Communication objectives p4 4. Key messages p5 5. Stakeholders p6 6. Communications Strategy 2010 continuing elements p6 a. Principles b. Priorities 7. Strategic Approach p7 a. Corporate Communications b. Stakeholder engagement strategy and plan c. Internal communications d. Developing and managing communications for our operational Programmes. e. Media relations f. Digital communications, including social media g. Gaelic language plan and projects 8. Communication Action Plan p10 9. Research p Monitoring and evaluation p Resources p11 Diagram 1: Context of Communications Strategy and Communications Action Plan Appendix 1: Stakeholders for SNH Appendix 2: Corporate identity and brand values p13 p14 p15 2 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

3 1. Introduction a. SNH corporate aims and objectives As detailed in the Corporate Strategy, Scottish Natural Heritage s (SNH) ambition is for Scotland s natural assets to generate wealth for all, sustaining and improving the health, lifestyles and culture of the Scottish population. Specifically, the organisation s purpose is: To secure the conservation and enhancement of our nature and landscapes; To foster understanding of our nature and landscapes and facilitate their enjoyment; To promote sustainable use and management of our nature and landscapes. To achieve its purpose, SNH: Provides advice to the Scottish Government and its agencies, local authorities, developers, land managers and others on how best to meet national objectives to protect and enhance Scotland s nature and landscapes, including compliance with Scotland s international obligations as well as legal requirements. Gathers evidence to inform the public and promote the wider benefits of protecting and enhancing nature and landscapes in the public interest. This includes surveillance and monitoring of our nature and landscapes, sharing good practice, championing the value of nature, and encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors. Takes action to protect and enhance nature and landscapes, working in partnership with others. The organisation is responsible through Ministers to the Scottish Parliament and is funded by the Scottish Government. b. SNH and communications The Communications Strategy is key to achieving the organisation s aims and objectives. This document details the current Communications Strategy, a framework for SNH communications, following a review 1 of the Communications Strategy 2010 in Autumn It is aligned with the revised Corporate Strategy (valid from 2012 to 2015) (see diagram 1, p 13). We will develop a Communications Action Plan detailing how the SNH Communications Unit and colleagues throughout the organisation will contribute to and support achieving the organisation s corporate objectives. 2. Considerations Current and anticipated factors impacting on the organisation s potential for effective communications are listed below: The economic challenges currently being experienced are likely to continue to affect the organisation through the period of this strategy. We will need to 1 Monica Straughan: A Review of SNH Communications Strategy 2010; September 2011, Objective reference: B c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

4 continually monitor and evaluate the strategy and the action plan to find innovative ways to achieve results within limited resources. As funding pressures grow, we will continue to demonstrate the value of SNH s work for Scottish Government. Digital and on-line communications are now an essential communications tool and will be incorporated in our tactics where appropriate. SNH s role in contributing to Scottish Government communications will continue to grow, for example contributing to delivery of the Homecoming Scotland legacy programme, the Year of Active Scotland in 2011, the Year of Creative Scotland in 2012, the Year of Natural Scotland in 2013 and the Year of Homecoming in SNH s merger of the Deer Commission for Scotland has added to the demand for communications about wildlife management. The development of an ecosystems approach has created additional communication demands. The new marine legislation and the creation of Marine Scotland has led to increased demand for communications about the marine environment and its protection. 3. Communication Objectives The communications objectives for SNH are informed by the organisation s business objectives as detailed in the Corporate Plan The business objectives for SNH are: High quality nature and landscape that is resilient to change and delivers greater public value; Nature and landscapes that make Scotland a better place in which to live, work and visit; More people experiencing, enjoying and valuing our nature and landscape; Nature and landscape as assets contributing more to the Scottish economy. The communications objectives are: To encourage key stakeholders to understand how nature and landscapes affect the health and prosperity of the people of Scotland. To raise awareness of people living, visiting and working in Scotland of the opportunities for experiencing and enjoying our nature and landscape To encourage individuals and communities throughout Scotland to play an active part in the environment. To raise awareness, appreciation and understanding among key stakeholders of the importance of nature and landscapes for national pride and international esteem. 4 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

5 To encourage people living, visiting and working in Scotland to understand the contribution of nature and landscapes to improved health and well-being. To improve awareness among key stakeholders of the value of our nature and landscape and its contribution to Scotland s economy, and to support the development and adoption of new ways to appreciate our ecosystems. To promote the role of nature and landscapes with key stakeholders as a way to attract people and businesses to Scotland. To manage the corporate reputation of SNH, positioning the organisation as a positive, relevant, influential and visible organisation that looks after nature and landscapes across Scotland, for everyone. 4. Key Messages Our key messages are derived from the corporate objectives detailed in the Corporate Plan These key messages specify what it is that we would like our stakeholders to understand from our communications. We will include one or more key messages in each communication opportunity for the organisation. The form of the message will be adapted to suit the method of communication and the target stakeholders. For SNH, as outlined in the Corporate Plan, the key messages relate to purposed of our work, as well as the reputation of the organisation. The key messages are: About the organisation SNH promotes understanding of our country s nature and landscapes SNH encourages people in Scotland to enjoy our nature and landscapes. SNH promotes the sustainable use and management of Scotland s nature and landscapes. SNH guides the investment and action required from Scottish Government and other partners to develop and maintain high quality nature and landscapes for Scotland s people. SNH advises the Scottish Government and its agencies, local authorities, developers, land managers, and others on how best to meet Scotland s international obligations and legal requirements to protect and enhance our nature and landscapes. SNH works in partnership with others to protect and enhance nature and landscapes, targeting action through means such as protecting plants and animals and restoring damaged habitats. About Scotland s nature and landscape Scotland s nature and landscapes are internationally renowned. Scotland s nature and landscapes contribute to making our country a better place to live, work and visit. Nature and landscapes contribute to more than 10% of the Scottish economy. 5 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

6 5. Stakeholders A SNH working group identified key stakeholders for the organisation in 2010, as detailed at Appendix 1. Stakeholders are people, organisations, groups and businesses of importance to the organisation, both internally and externally. We will develop a stakeholder engagement strategy that will include an assessment and development of the attributes of the identified stakeholders. 6. Principles and priorities a. Principles Our communication is guided by three principles: Focus: Smaller, smarter, more influential, taking our lead from the Corporate Strategy. Smaller is about responding successfully to the challenge of working with fewer resources, focussing our efforts and resources on communicating the priority areas of our work. Smarter involves using our information and knowledge as effectively as we can and working smartly so that we are efficient. More influential is about having good evidence, good people skills, helping to find solutions, building relationships and providing information to the right people at the right time. Cohesion: the brand of SNH, including visual presentation, written communications and tone of voice, reflect the values of the organisation. SNH staff will apply these principles across all activity. Integration: effective communication is integral to achieving the organisation s objectives, and essential for successful management throughout the organisation. As part of our integrated approach, we will produce strategic plans for specific elements of the organisation s work including: Stakeholder engagement Internal communications Each of the operational Programmes Media relations Events and sponsorship Each SNH Programme will have a strategic plan for communications (see section 7(d) below). (The Corporate Services Programme will be aligned with the Internal Communications Strategy.) The Communications Unit will support the Programme Managers to deliver the communications outcomes identified for each of the Programmes and to ensure that the communications input contributes to fulfilling Programme objectives. b. Priorities Priorities for include: Ensuring all communications continue to reflect our corporate values 6 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

7 Robust prioritisation of communications activity, informed by the Corporate Plan Greater corporate ownership of Communications Strategy and its delivery; Comprehensive communications training and development to increase the potential of our staff as ambassadors for the organisation; Developing and implementing an internal communications strategy; Developing and implementing a stakeholder engagement strategy informed by the Corporate Plan; Maintaining and developing partnerships with key stakeholders; Developing and implementing strategic communication plans for SNH s operational Programmes; Increasing awareness of our relationship with the Scottish Government, particularly our role as an influential Government body and statutory adviser; Proactively engaging with Government and MSPs (such as through events, advertising, editorial content and targeted liaison); Developing the role of media relations in national and targeted campaigns with a proactive approach; Implementing the Gaelic Language Plan. 7. Strategic approach 2012 to 2015 a. Corporate Communications It is essential that all staff understand and play their part in delivering excellent communications to maximise the effectiveness of SNH communications. We will develop effective corporate communication across the organisation, visibly led by the Board and Management Team, creating an environment where all staff consider themselves as ambassadors for SNH. This will include, for example, promoting key messages within the organisation and ensuring all managers and staff understand and fulfil their communication roles and responsibilities. We will develop an internal communications strategy to support the Communications Strategy, segmenting internal audiences. We will advise and guide employees on their role as communicators and SNH ambassadors. Management development programmes and other appropriate training opportunities will aim to include delivery of the Communications Strategy as a key element, and delivering good communication as a core competency for all staff. SNH s corporate identity provides a focus for consistent and effective communications throughout the organisation. The Communications Unit will continue to manage the corporate identity and its implementation. 7 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

8 b. Stakeholder engagement strategic plan Understanding our stakeholders is vital to improving the effectiveness of SNH communications. We will develop and implement a strategic engagement plan, identifying and prioritising key stakeholders (or groups of stakeholders). We will align current projects developing our customer focus and stakeholder mapping with the stakeholder engagement plan. We will review and reinvigorate the role of account managers for stakeholders, along with other communications methods designed to enhance interactions with stakeholders in future. Listening to (and hearing and heeding) the message from other parties is vital to stakeholder engagement. The gathering, analysis, sharing and use of the intelligence gathered must be a core part of shaping corporate plans. We will ensure that intelligence sharing about stakeholder relationships is contained in the SNH Competencies framework and performance reviews. The Communications Unit will lead in managing the overall approach to stakeholder relationships. As a public body SNH operates in a political context, although it must be politically neutral and it cannot participate in lobbying activity. SNH is responsible to the Scottish Parliament via Scottish Ministers. The organisation has a close working relationship with its Sponsor Department in Scottish Government and with MSPs on an individual basis. There will continue to be close liaison between the SNH Government relations team and the Communications Unit to ensure we align engagement with this particular stakeholder group to the Communications Strategy, As media are a key stakeholder, we will develop a strategic plan for media relations as a priority. c. Internal communications Internal reorganisation, voluntary severance schemes, and general economic uncertainty have reinforced the importance of internal communications for the organisation. We will develop a strategic framework for internal communications to include a review of current internal communications processes. Our internal audience is a priority, given the staff s important role in achieving the success of other elements of the Communications Strategy. The potential for all employees to be ambassadors for the organisation is a valuable resource for SNH and crucial to the implementation of the Communications Strategy. Ideally, all employees will be aware of and understand the organisation s priorities and key messages. We will categorise internal stakeholders to enable communications to be targeted towards different groups, for example by role. Each group is both a recipient and a deliverer of effective communications. Middle managers have a particularly important role to play, having potentially the greatest impact on the culture of their teams. We will develop a strategic approach to internal communications, overtly linked to particular areas of SNH s work. A key part of the strategy will be the agreement, at Management Team level, of a clear vision for the internal corporate culture to progress towards achieving the organisation s purpose as defined in the Corporate Strategy. Once agreed, the vision will be a focus for the Internal Communications Strategy. 8 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

9 We will review current communication channels and a broader range of internal communications tools developed to deliver the targeted approach. This may include an enhanced management briefing system, leadership on communication issues by Management Forum and directorate Management Groups, the inclusion of communications in management training and development programmes, and active links with other areas of SNH work where there are opportunities to engage staff and managers. d. Developing and managing communications for our operational Programmes We will develop Strategic Communication Plans for each operational Programme. They will deliver specific communications outcomes, identifying target audiences, key message(s) and the proposed tactics and activity to be implemented. We will manage the Strategic Communication Plans for each Programme within available resources and priorities. The Programmes currently employed by SNH are: The Sea Climate Change Land and Freshwater Protected Areas Biodiversity Action People and Landscape Wildlife Management Socio-Economic Development The campaigns approach, a planned series of communications activities delivering specific priorities and outcomes, will continue where appropriate to deliver the communication objectives for Programmes. Campaigns currently include national communications activity for SNH s Programmes for People and Landscape, Designated Sites and Biodiversity Action, targeting specific segments of Scottish residents, including: Enjoying the Outdoors and Responsible Access and Biodiversity. e. Media relations Engaging with key media for SNH has the potential to impact positively on managing our corporate communications, as well as engaging with other key stakeholders including, to an extent, internal stakeholders. We must recognise media as a key stakeholder, given their potential for significant impact on SNH s reputation and their major influence on public and political opinion. We will develop and implement a media relations strategy with a proactive approach. It will address managing media relations within complex partnerships, the challenge of identifying potential issues of media interest throughout the work of the organisation, and assessment of associated risks. In outlining the tactical plan for promoting SNH s key messages consistently across all areas of the organisation s work, the media relations strategy will reference its contribution to corporate communications, developing the communications culture, and 9 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

10 links with training and development. It will also cover the role of digital communications, reviewing how other communication methods will contribute to a proactive approach. In particular, the media relations strategy will detail the role of internal communications in promoting and maintaining media awareness, identifying relevant media spokespeople across SNH disciplines and associated training requirements. f. Digital communication channels, including social media The use of digital communication channels, including social media, is integral to the development and implementation of the SNH Communications Strategy, given that almost all of our stakeholders are likely to use digital media as a method of communication now and in the future. It is essential that we monitor and implement new developments in digital communication where appropriate for our strategy. SNH s website is one of the main ways we communicate with our stakeholders and it will continue to be developed. The organisation has employed social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on a limited basis to date and it is essential they become an integral part of the organisation s communications toolkit. The Communications Unit will develop a digital communications policy (including social media), incorporating principles, protocols and procedures for its use. The strategic action plans (for example for media relations, Programmes, etc) will guide where and when these channels are used. Where necessary, we will establish and develop official accounts for key social media (such as Facebook and YouTube), Communications Unit staff will be authorised to use social media on their work computers and encouraged to develop their skills and experience in using social media. g. Gaelic Language Plan and projects The Scottish Government recognises that Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland's heritage, national identity and current cultural life. The SNH Gaelic Language Plan is part of the necessary structures and initiatives put in place by the Government to ensure that Gaelic has a sustainable future in Scotland. As part of its commitment to enhance the status of Gaelic, SNH will implement its approved Gaelic Language Plan, providing support and advice to others in the organisation in this respect. The use of Gaelic language and culture are a key element of communications with specific stakeholders. 8. Communications Action Plan The Communications Action Plan will detail the role of staff in delivering communications throughout the organisation, supporting the communications methods and actions led by the Communications Unit. The action plan will clarify the roles, responsibilities and actions to be taken forward by managers and staff across SNH. As detailed in section 1 above, a Communications Action Plan will support the Communications Strategy (as illustrated in diagram 1, p12). The action plan will detail the following: 10 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

11 Actions required to progress and implement the Communications Strategy; Relevance to the corporate strategy; The name of the person(s) responsible for implementing each action; Budget implications; Timescale for implementation; Channels and methods of communication to be used: implementation of the Communications Strategy will require the use of a wide range of communication methods. These will be selected according to their suitability and effectiveness for achieving the required outcomes. They will be detailed in the Communications Action Plan and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Methods of monitoring and evaluation. 9. Research We will use the Scottish Nature Omnibus Survey and the Scottish Recreation Survey to monitor the impact of the Communications Strategy. We will carry out other research as resources allow. 10. Monitoring and evaluation The Communications Action Plan will detail performance indicators and these are likely to include: Numbers of people taking active steps to help look after the environment; Level of awareness, understanding and support among key stakeholders of the contribution of nature and landscape to improved health and well-being of the Scottish population; Level of awareness among key stakeholders of the importance of nature and landscapes as a focal point for generating stronger community engagement with the environment; Level of awareness among key stakeholders of the contribution nature and landscape make to Scotland s economy; Levels of awareness of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code maintained at over 50% of the general public; Level of awareness, understanding and support of SNH and what we do by Government, politicians and the public; Level of awareness among key stakeholders about the importance of SNH guidance on the investment required to create a resilient landscape; Level of amount of positive media coverage about the work of SNH; Level of awareness within SNH staff of the role of communications throughout the organisation. Specific targets will be identified within the Communications Action Plan. 11 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

12 11. Resources The Communications Action Plan developed by the Unit will identify resource implications. a. Employees: The Communications Unit is currently undergoing a restructuring which will create a stronger management structure within the unit. Three teams have been created: Corporate Communications, Stakeholder Communications and Campaigns. b. Budget: Bids for communications are placed as part of the organisation s budget planning, both from the communications unit and through the various SNH Programmes. It is intended that the effectiveness of communication spend for each of the Programmes will be maximised by producing strategic communication plans for each. c. Timescales: Clear timescales will be identified for each action. 12 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

13 Diagram 1: Context of Communications Strategy and Communications Action Plan SNH Corporate Strategy SNH Corporate Plan Communications Strategy And Communications Action Plan Stakeholder Engagement Media relations Events and sponsorship Strategic Plans Internal Communications Programmes Gaelic Language Plan 13 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

14 Appendix 1: Outline list of stakeholders for SNH A detailed list of stakeholders will be produced as part of the stakeholder engagement plan for SNH. The interim list below identifies defined groups of interest to or with an interest in SNH. INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS Board Staff (segmented as appropriate: eg Management Team, Programme managers, etc) EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS Government organisations Organisations with Environmental / countryside objectives People with an economic interest in our natural heritage Research, knowledge, education sector Residents of Scotland / visitors (segmented) Communicators 14 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

15 Appendix 2: Corporate identity and brand values SNH s corporate identity was defined providing a common language and the platform for consistent, coherent and effective communications throughout the organisation. The brand can be summarised as follows: Our core purpose Looking after all of Scotland s nature and landscapes, across all of Scotland, for everyone. 2 Our essence All of nature for all of Scotland 3 Our values: 4 Trust & Expertise We are experienced, knowledgeable and dependable. We build positive and mutually beneficial relationships with the people of Scotland. We are the trusted voice for nature in Scotland, whose knowledge and expertise is both respected and actively sought. Celebration & Passion We celebrate Scotland s nature in a way that encourages people to understand, appreciate and engage with nature across Scotland while valuing its importance as a cultural, economic and physical asset. Inspiration & Empowerment We empower and inspire others to do what s best for Scotland s nature by sharing our passion, our ideas, our knowledge, our advice and our funding. Responsive & Inclusive We listen to the needs and expectations of people and partners, share good practice, and look to work in partnership. We are the only organisation that represents all aspects of Scotland s nature, across all of Scotland, for all of Scotland s people. Our brand vision That SNH will be synonymous with nature in Scotland, the first organisation that comes to mind when people, whoever they are, think about Scottish 2 We are the only organisation that looks after all aspects of nature (and relating to nature) in Scotland, across all of Scotland (land and sea) and for everyone living or visiting Scotland. The word nature has been deliberately chosen to reflect the language of the people. It s open to interpretation deliberately so but it aims to be inclusive and holistic, meaning something to anyone who reads or hears the term and linking SNH to that meaning. 3 This is our strap-line and it appears on most of our communications materials underlining our corporate logo. 4 These are the values that we present through all aspects of our communications activity, they are the parameters within which our communications will operate. As such, these are internal cultural values as much as external presentation themes. 15 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

16 nature. We want to be seen as a positive, relevant, responsive, influential and visible organisation, looking after all aspects of nature across Scotland for everyone s benefit. This is our ambition for SNH. 5 Our personality ( tone of voice ) Inspiring, caring, respected, approachable, celebratory, trustworthy, creative, bold and purposeful. 6 The brand is supported by a visual identity applied across all elements of SNH communications and brand guidelines (with advice from communications unit) have been adopted. It is also reflected in the SNH Writing style Guide (May 2010), and as core competencies in the Performance Management system applied to all staff. 5 This vision is primarily an internal communications tool. 6 This personality is brought to life through the look and feel of our communications and through our visual house style and communications guidelines. This tone of voice needs to be consistent across all our communications in all media, from websites to our letter-style. 16 c:\documents and settings\mhln.snh\objcache\objects\a doc

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