Table of Contents. Introduction 3. Strategic Alignment 4. Principles of Good Communication 5. Benefits of Good Communication 6

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2 Table of Contents Introduction 3 Strategic Alignment 4 Principles of Good Communication 5 Benefits of Good Communication 6 Audiences & Stakeholders 7 Key Themes 8 External Communication 9 Media 11 Reputation and Image 13 Internal Communication 15 2

3 Introduction The City of Albany Communications Strategy looks to explain how we communicate our Purpose, Vision and Values to our Community and how we engage residents and other affected stakeholders in decisions or projects that affect their lives. This Strategy will help Council and the City to: build our reputation and credibility; demonstrate accountability; improve networking; and improve community engagement. The effective implementation of strategic communication establishes a narrative which allows audiences to better understand what we stand for and what we do. Moreover this narrative is linked to the brand we wish to be known for, a community focused organisation that is committed to delivering outcomes that benefit the people who work, live and visit the City of Albany. Our Communication Strategy will serve as a living document that guides City personnel and informs them of the channels and tools to deliver positive messages, both internally and externally. 3

4 Strategic Alignment The Communications Strategy supports the City s overarching vision by providing practical communication mechanisms to enhance the five identified themes of the City s Community Strategic Plan: smart, prosperous and growing; clean, green and sustainable; a connected built environment; a sense of community; and able to demonstrate civic leadership. Furthermore, the Communications Strategy supports the ability of the City to effectively communicate our services what we do, how we do it and why we do it. The underpinning principle is that all initiatives and activities undertaken by the City are in the best interests of the Albany community. It is fundamental that all communication activity is consistent with the agreed overarching vision and key themes already identified in the Community Strategic Plan as well as the values committed to in the Corporate Business Plan, namely that we will be: focused on community outcomes; united by working and learning together; accountable for its actions; and proud of its staff and the wider community. 4

5 Principles of Effective Communication The Communications Strategy looks to build on the principles of effective communication which include: Leadership; placing communication at the core of every decisions our leaders make; Credibility; communicating in a manner which is truthful, accurate and respectful; Understanding; providing simple and factual information that shows we are listening; Responsiveness; communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time; Simplicity; residents have busy lives and simplicity pays respect to their time; Outcome-based; what we say must guide what we do; Value; our communication needs to have intrinsic value to the community; Variety; the more channels and tools we use the more key messages are likely to hit home; and Evaluation; analysing effectiveness to ensure communication is relevant and proactive. 5

6 Benefits of Effective Communication Effective communication provides a strong foundation upon which the City can build stakeholder buy-in, building on our reputation as a proactive can do enterprise and branding ourselves as such. Research has shown that effective communication has the potential to: Strengthen and bond relationships with all stakeholders; Generate increased community support and involvement; Improve customer service levels; Provide a platform of strength from which to manage a crisis; Attract new business and residents to the area; and Improve staff morale and job satisfaction. 6

7 Determining the Audience Effective communication starts with the audience; the message recipients. Understanding the audience determines the choice of communication medium and the characteristics of the messages delivered. A sample of the stakeholders who form the City of Albany audience is detailed below: Primary Albany ratepayers and residents Community and special interest groups Albany business community Albany education community Albany tourism industry Albany media Secondary State Government Federal Government Neighbouring Local Governments WA Regional Capitals Alliance WA Local Government Association State based Media Tertiary WA Community Australian Community 7

8 Key Themes Media External Communication City of Albany Communication Strategy Reputation Internal Communication 8

9 External communication External communication is any information we distribute to the public, either about the City itself or our products and services. The challenge for the City is to utilise effective communication strategies to: Grow and maintain customers who are engaged and generally satisfied with what we do. Develop linkages and rapport with unhappy customers who may have had an unsatisfactory experience with the City (perceived or real) to win them back and develop their trust. Develop targeted public affairs strategies to educe concepts that we are the real deal and do not pay lip service to our values and objectives to reduce customer scepticism and demonstrate to the community they get value for money. Utilise communication strategies to broaden awareness of our broad and pivotal role in the Albany community and our commitment to highly responsive and quality customer service. 9

10 1 External Communication Objective How We ll Make it Happen We ll Know We re Succeeding When 1.1 To develop a City of Albany brand that is consistent with our vision, strategic direction and values By consistently aligning communication activities to our long-term vision and strategic planning. By making sure the community is aware of our vision and values. By raising awareness of the wide variety of services we provide to the community. When there is greater community awareness of the objectives of our Community Strategic Plan When the community agrees with our objectives, and knows we are following through with them. When the community understands the myriad services we offer, from the Airport, to the Library, to Albany Day Care Centre, to Vancouver Arts Centre, and everything in between, are all part of same City of Albany organisation. 1.2 To engage effectively with our community on issues and decisions which affect their lives By effectively communicating our public consultation and engagement initiatives to the community. By allocating resources dedicated to engaging with the community directly and proactively. By ensuring our frontline customer service staff continue to be knowledgeable and professional. When we there is significant public participation in our engagement initiatives. When the community feels they are being listened to. When frontline customer service have access to information about community engagement projects. 1.3 To effectively communicate City of Albany messages via as many channels as possible By effectively utilising social media. By improving core communication channels, such as our websites and external newsletters and publications. By effectively using advertising in various media to convey our messages. When there is significant engagement with our social media presence. When our websites are functional, useful and utilised by the community. When our advertising is interesting to audiences and effective. 10

11 Media Media are both key stakeholders and the means of delivery of messages to the City s audiences. Councils are often seen as 'soft targets' by the media due to their high level of transparency and wide breadth of influence on the community. Councils are a reliable source of accurate information and therefore make it easy for journalists to develop stories. To ensure a balanced viewpoint is presented it is useful for us to have protocols for dealing with the media. To ensure effective communication of our messages, we must take a proactive approach to media relations to nurture co-operation and mutual respect. 11

12 2 Media Objective How We ll Make it Happen We ll Know We re Succeeding When 2.1 To develop a professional open and honest relationship with the media By fostering positive relationships with the media. By being transparent and honest with the media. By understanding and accepting that media has a job to do. When positive relationships form between key City of Albany representatives and media representatives based on trust and understanding. When media is generally less hostile to the City of Albany. When media is less likely to highlight the perceived negative aspects of an issue. 2.2 To ensure that the City s messages are conveyed in a fair manner by the media. By being proactive and raising potential issues with the media in advance. By appreciating the media s regular deadlines, and being available and willing to respond to media requests in a timely fashion. By ensuring our leaders are properly briefed on key issues. When the media understand the context of complex issues and trust in our integrity. When media coverage is balanced and fair, and conveys the City s key messages. When the City is not constantly reacting to unfairly negative media enquiries which damage our brand and reputation. 2.3 To ensure that our media coverage is interesting and relevant to our audiences By understanding what news is, and how to present City of Albany media releases and other messages in an interesting and relatable form. By ensuring our key spokespeople are appropriately trained to deal with media. By being able to distil complex issues into an interesting form while retaining key messages. When City media releases are published or followed up by local media. When the media and audiences understand and relate to our messages. When the media and community listen to our key spokespeople. 12

13 Reputation and image To a significant degree, the City of Albany s greatest asset is our reputation or good name. Establishing and maintaining a good reputation builds trust. In building reputation, this Communications Strategy embraces the following principles: We need to be clear about what we want to be remembered for. We should continue to undertake efforts to attain a greater understanding of what the community thinks about us. Good communication is developed by an organisation that is united in its belief in the purpose of that organisation. Communications must be implemented consistently, proactively and be reinforced. Working together: while Business Units have differing tasks and priorities, the way service is delivered remains the same. 13

14 3 Reputation and Image Objectives How We ll Make it Happen We ll Know We re Succeeding When 3.1 To be trusted by our Community By ensuring we are a reliable source of accurate information. By asking the community what they want, and listening to their responses. By following through. When our aims and actions are understood and seen as valid and beneficial and worthy of community support. When community satisfaction levels improve, and our bonds with the community are strengthened. When the community recognises that we are not only here to serve the community, we are part of the same community. 3.2 To gain a reputation for being an ethical and professional organisation By living up to the vision, values and key themes of the City s Integrated Strategic Planning framework. By our staff being available, knowledgeable, and honest. By owning up to shortcomings, and not being afraid of apologising when appropriate. When any lingering negative attitudes in the community towards the City of Albany give way to positivity. When the community believe they are getting value for money. When the community shares in our vision and values. 3.3 To be recognised as providing strong accountable leadership to our community By being united, having a clear vision and purpose, and communicating that vision and purpose to the community. By placing communication at the core of everything we do. By our leaders being proud of our community. When the community knows City of Albany staff and Councillors are working for them. When the Albany community is proud of its local government. When City of Albany staff and Councillors feel supported by our community. 14

15 Internal communication Internal communication is a discipline whereby employers, employees and colleagues share information and talk to each other, ensuring that there is mutual understanding between all levels. Engaging employees through internal communication is about members of staff being informed and inspired. An engaged workforce feels valued, involved and having a belief that they genuinely matter. Higher levels of engagement improve morale, boost productivity and lead to a better working environment in general. 15

16 4 Internal communication Objective How We ll Make it Happen We ll Know We re Succeeding When 4.1 To engage and inform employees in a manner that makes them feel valued and involved. By improving the City s formal internal communication channels, such as newsletters. By encouraging staff to collaborate in internal communication activities. By managers being supportive and encouraging with their staff. When staff engage with, and enjoy, our formal internal communication channels (such as staff newsletter). When staff actively want to participate in internal communication (such as staff newsletter). When staff and councillors feel valued by the City of Albany organisation and community and morale is high. 4.2 To use formal and informal communication techniques to improve team work and internal customer service. By improving and maintaining internal communication between the various arms of the City of Albany organisation. Encourage face-to-face conversations (don t rely on all the time). By using memos, telephone calls, face-to-face conversations and s to keep each other in the loop. By encouraging ongoing conversations, such as working groups, to improve internal communications between our various business units. When staff have good general knowledge about what is happening within the organisation. When staff engage more with each other on projects or activities that have an impact on their business unit. When information sharing is common practice and staff embed various techniques to keep each other informed. 4.3 To share information, ideas and experience in a manner that develops knowledge, skills and the leaders of tomorrow. By managers having a door open policy to encourage twoway conversations with their staff. By opening up a multi-flow channel of communications in which information is passed up, down and across the organisation. By ensuring staff and Councillors are informed about major issues. When managers interact with all levels of staff and across the organisation. When succession planning is part of normal planning and opportunities are provided to all staff to develop their careers. When staff feel valued for their ideas and skills; and are involved in decision making. 16

17 City of Albany 2014 Author: Communications Manager Synergy Ref: OS Version: Adopted Item 28/04/2014 Review Date: May North Road, Yakamia WA 6330 PO Box 484, ALBANY WA 6331 Tel: (08) Fax: (08) Website:

18 Document Approval Document Development Officer: Communications Manager Document Control File Number - Document Type: Synergy Reference Number: Document Owner: CEO REL042 OS Meta Data: Key Search Terms Communication, strategy, media Status of Document: Approved by EMT Document file details: Quality Assurance: Location of Document: Intranet, Extranet, Internet N:\G.M.SERVICE\Public.Relations\Communicat ion Strategies Chief Executive Officer, Executive Management Team, Communications Manager Distribution: Internal Document, Public Document Document Revision History Version Author Version Description Date Completed 1.0 Communications Manager Approved by Executive Management Team 28/05/

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