COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

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1 COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY Football Federation Tasmania June 2011

2 INTRODUCTION FFT Communications Strategy The vision of Football Federation Tasmania (FFT) is To develop and maintain a vibrant football culture in Tasmania and to position the World Game as a major sport for the community. The Objectives and Targets identified in FFT s Strategic Plan which are of particular relevance in the area of communications include a Focus on developing the Football brand and also effective communication that keeps all stakeholders educated, informed and aware of our activities. Communication with all stakeholders is recognized as an integral part of the responsibilities of the governing body for the sport of football in Tasmania. Surveys and anecdotal feedback have indicated that this area of responsibility has not been delivered to the satisfaction of stakeholders in the past and accordingly improvement has been sought. Methodology This communications strategy has been developed by the Board through conducting an audit of our communication channels and methods, work shopping the issues with identified professionals and seeking feedback from stakeholders. OBJECTIVES The overall communications objective of FFT is to develop more effective and efficient communications with its key stakeholders. The specific goals within this broad objective are: To demonstrate that FFT is a professional organization that is responsive, informative and consistent in its dealings with all stakeholders and which provides leadership at all levels of the sport To highlight that FFT, as the governing body for Football in Tasmania is an inclusive organization which welcomes all people, irrespective of background, gender, age, or ability To demonstrate that FFT values the participation in the sport of all players, officials, administrators, sponsors and media. To meet these objectives FFT will Provide timely and accurate information to all stakeholders on relevant activities, events and outcomes. Establish and maintain communication channels that best target the audience to whom the message or information is intended and which enable a two way exchange. Engage with local, regional and national communication products and media to reach target audiences and the broader community. 1

3 FFT Communications Strategy KEY MESSAGES FFT has developed its key messages (see below) and will ensure that the organization and its staff are consistent in the delivery of those messages. It is understood that key messages take two forms; those that are directly related to the vision and strategic direction of FFT and those that arise from time to time in response to emerging events or circumstances. While key messages to address the latter may change from time to time, the organization will try to exhibit a consistency of approach. Included amongst the key messages are: FFT supports the development of football as a vibrant part of the culture of Tasmania. FFT provides quality experiences at all levels of the sport by working collaboratively with stakeholders. FFT as a professional focused organization provides leadership at all levels of the sport FFT is an organization that all players, officials, administrators, supporters, sponsors (at all levels) and government officials want to be associated with. STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS Stakeholder Description Communication Challenges Communication Channels Members Clubs, Junior Associations and Standing Committee Presidents Ability to reach the right person in the club/association and to get them to act on the information provided. Face to face Meetings Telephone + online media Disseminating the information to relevant members. Media Releases Survey Players & junior players parents Junior, youth, senior male and female players Accuracy and completion of player contact and address. Newsletter Parents of Junior Ability to reach in a Social Media 2

4 Stakeholder Description Communication Challenges Communication Channels FFT Communications Strategy players timely fashion. SMS alert Survey Relevance of information considering wide range of involvement and interests. Coaches Accredited coaches at all levels of the game New coach education structure aimed at entry level coaching Newsletter Unaccredited coaches New national curriculum and coach education content Getting message through clubs down to all coaches Workshops & conferences Social Media SMS alert Survey Accuracy of contact details for direct communication Ability to reach in a timely fashion Referees Accredited referees at all levels of the game Unaccredited club referees and assistants Ability to reach in a timely fashion Collect accurate information regarding appointment availability Newsletter Workshops & conferences Social Media SMS alert Accuracy of contact details for direct Survey Annual Registration 3

5 Stakeholder Description Communication Challenges Communication Channels FFT Communications Strategy communication Volunteers All people that contribute to the delivery of football at all levels Accuracy of contact details for direct communication Relevance of information considering wide range of involvement and interests Newsletter Ability to reach in a timely fashion Schools All schools statewide Identify appropriate football contact at each school ensure message is actioned Face to Face Meeting Fax Large turnover of teachers roles, contact can be outdated quickly Correct communication channel for each school, may be different. Telephone Newsletter State Government & Local Councils State Government Departments Premier s Office, Leader of Opposition and Minister for Sport & Recreation both sides. Aligning key messages of FFT to those of State Government and Local Councils Face to Face Meetings Telephone Newsletter Sport and Recreation Executive Director and Football Relationship Can be difficult to get time with key people to ensure timely communication 4

6 Stakeholder Description Communication Challenges Communication Channels FFT Communications Strategy Manager. of message Local Council Mayor, General Manager and Recreation/Facilities Manager Media Major Metropolitan Television, Radio, Print Information is provided in timely fashion Media release Press conference Local Regional Print Football Media, /Blogs Strengthening rapport with key media contacts Information is provided in a format ready to be used Accompanying picture with information Phone Media functions Blogs Social media Media space for football is limited Regional print medium with local relevant information not used enough Blogs can be used to attack FFT and bring game into disrepute considering anonymity of comments 5

7 Stakeholder Description Communication Challenges Communication Channels FFT Communications Strategy Sponsors & Suppliers All sponsors and suppliers Maintain regular communication and contact Phone Face to Face Meetings Maintain and communicate obligations in agreement FFA President, CEO, Department Heads and Staff Identify and build strong rapport appropriate contacts in all areas Phone Face to Face Meetings Utilize expertise Sharing strategy and vision FFT Staff All staff Promote efficient and effective administration by equipping staff with the appropriate communication channels. Weekly staff meetings Individual meetings Workplans & KPI s Face to face Meetings FFT Board All Board Directors Enable the Board to fulfill its purpose by providing appropriate communication channels between directors and Telephone Media Release Face to face Meetings Teleconferencing Telephone 6

8 FFT Communications Strategy Stakeholder Description Communication Challenges Communication Channels between the Board and FFT executive. ACTION PLAN To ensure the implementation of the strategy and to enable the progress to be monitored, an accompanying Action Plan has been developed. The plan is not static, is varied as circumstances change and is reviewed annually by the Board. It can be expected that priorities will vary from year to year. The annual FFT customer satisfaction survey addresses elements of this Action Plan, as a mechanism of ensuring the organization remains focused ok key communication strategies. It is recognized that as FFT becomes better at delivering information to all stakeholders that this, in turn, will create a greater demand for even more information and in different forms. Accordingly, these altered expectations need to be managed by FFT to prevent dissatisfaction from arising, even though the bar may have been raised. The Action Plan addresses, while not necessarily being limited to, the avenues for communications listed in the next section. Avenues of Communications Stakeholder database FFT s stakeholder database is one of the organisation s most important communications tools. It is critical that this database is maintained and developed so the organisation can utilize it to its full communications potential. The database needs to be the major all-encompassing source of information on FFT stakeholders. In particular, the database needs to have the capacity to be easily segmented so that targeted communications can be delivered efficiently and effectively to specific groups. The national online registration system My Football Club is a major contributing source to the database. As more clubs adopt self-registration, it is anticipated that the level of information available to FFT will greatly increase allowing for communication direct to stakeholders, including players, parents, clubs, junior associations, coaches, referees and volunteers. FFT will ensure that the details for all registered players include where possible an active and accurate and mobile phone number in addition to postal address. Web Site Development and Management 7

9 FFT Communications Strategy FFT s website is the major portal through which information is disseminated to and from stakeholders. Interested parties should be able to access timely and interesting material through this site and be informed of day to day issues. The website homepage should have a strong news focus, with specific program information contained in the relevant sections. Good news communications There is a need to focus on distributing good news communications to key stakeholders. These communications should focus on the positive role FFT, Clubs and Junior Associations are playing in a number of areas such as participation, game, player, coach and referee development and community engagement. These activities occur regularly and should be communicated appropriately through a coordinated approach. Major Metropolitan Media The major metropolitan media outlets see FFT s competitions as fourth tier in terms of their importance to the Tasmanian public behind the national team, major international competitions (i.e. English Premier League) and the A-League and other mainstream sports. Nonetheless, there is a perception amongst stakeholders that FFT does not do enough to generate media coverage in major metropolitan media. While the expectations of stakeholders in this regard may well be unrealistic, FFT will continue to review its current practices to determine if resources are being applied in the most effective manner and whether anything else can be done to help facilitate a greater response from major metropolitan media. Suburban papers Newspapers that circulate in suburban or regional areas on a regular basis are a significant opportunity for FFT to communicate with various stakeholders. Most of these publications operate with a limited staff and appreciate well written, authoritative articles being submitted to them on matters which are of potential interest to their circulation base. There is a high probability that these prepared articles (including photographs) will be published in the submitted form if they meet the editorial criteria and FFT will strive to engage appropriately with this market. Radio The local radio market is competitive and provides a real opportunity exists to develop partnerships with the larger commercial broadcaster/s. In addition, community radio programs are supportive, particularly with their target demographic. FFT will identify opportunities to have hosted interview segments on these programs. It is likely that the advertising sections of the radio station will seek a sponsor for such a segment and the opportunity then exists to leverage off that for broader sponsorship. 8

10 FFT Communications Strategy Media Training Media training may at times be required for the key FFT spokespersons. Social media online communications FFT will continue to review the use of SMS messaging, RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook and other technologies which have significant potential to convey timely messages to stakeholders. FFT newsletter Publication of an on-line newsletter while desirable is not a mandatory component of FFT s communications tools. Annual Report The annual report will be ed to stakeholders and published on the FFT website. Presidents meetings FFT will hold regular meetings with Club President s to discuss issues affecting football at their club level and to inform them of matters arising from FFT. The CEO will regularly inform the presidents when matters arise between meetings. This feedback will include a synopsis of relevant information from Board meetings. Standing Committee s and Working Groups Standing Committee s and Working Groups are an important mechanism for communication between FT and particular stakeholder groups. FFT will assist such groups to fulfil their roles through committed engagement and feedback. Junior associations FFT recognises that junior football is the lifeblood of the development of the game and will endeavour to ensure there are effective channels of communication not only with the Junior Associations and their officials but also where appropriate, directly with the families of the young people involved. Regional engagement Football is played throughout the State. Accordingly, the communication strategies in this plan will be applied state-wide. 9

11 Sponsors FFT Communications Strategy FFT needs sponsors to support football at all levels to assist in meeting its strategic vision and objectives. Sponsors, in return for their support, expect to deal with an organisation that has quality values, appreciates their contribution and maximises opportunities for positive exposure. FFT will commit appropriate resources to servicing such sponsorships. Accordingly, the annual event planner may contain not only those events of interest to football and football followers but also events planned by marketing partners and sponsors such that when an opportunity is identified, it can be followed through to best effect. Media partners It is recognised that the media generally are interested in information and articles which will appeal to their readership and/or which are in the public interest more broadly. From time to time media partners may be identified. These partnerships may, for example, take the form of a hosted radio program or a newspaper column under the hand of the CEO or similar. Where partnerships exist which provide some degree of exclusivity to the partnering organisation, such arrangements will be carefully managed to ensure good fit with FFT s overall communication strategy. Government/local government The State Government, primarily through the Department of Sport and Recreation, provide funding to support the development of football in Tasmania. This funding is usually in support of some policy such as healthy lifestyle, community participation and/or social inclusion. FFT will ensure that appropriate recognition is given. Likewise, local government provide considerable support for the game through the provision of facilities and other in-kind contributions. These invaluable contributions also require recognition. Club Information Sessions Club information sessions have been identified as one of FFT s most effective communications tools. FFT will ensure that marketing and delivery of these sessions is of an appropriate high standard. Promotional Events & Campaigns FFT will maintain an annual calendar of events reflecting activities for that year. This calendar may also be populated with information from Clubs and Associations. FFT will consult with sponsors and marketing partners to identify dates on which they intend to have events, such as product launches etc. This may provide linkage opportunities to maximise exposure. FFT will also consider promotional campaigns from time to time to promote various aspects of the game, eg Womens Football, etc. These promotional events need to be managed to ensure that FFT and football are shown in a positive light and that any promotional opportunity for sponsors is maximised. 10

12 FFT Communications Strategy Internal Communications FFT staff will use the yearly operational plans to assist internal communications when planning their activities. 11

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