Reflection on the Basics of Strategic Communication

31 08 2010

I am currently taking a Strategic Communications for Social Change.  Many maybe asking questions like: What is strategic communication? What is considered social change?  How can communication be used to promote change?  I found myself asking all these questions when choosing to enroll into this class.

As a part of the class we will be reading two books: Strategic Communication for Nonprofits: A Step by Step Guide to Working with the Media and The Networked Nonprofit.  Both of these books are trade books and can be found on Amazon.  Occasionally I will post learnings, reflections or notes from chapters in these books.

The first chapter of Strategic Communications for Nonprofits outlines the basics of strategic communication.  It defines strategic as not simply reacting to events, but anticipating and creating them.  This must be successfully integrated with other management functions to not only assist with daily operations, but to plan for the long-term success and growth of an organization.

Define goals, values and mission

The first step in creating a strategic communication plan is to define the organization’s goals, values and mission.  The organizations goals and values often comprise the mission statement.  All ongoing activities must support the goals and mission of the organization.

Build your communication team

After determining your organization’s goals, values and mission, the beginning of a communications team can be built.  This team should included out of the box thinkers, media savvy people and people who are creative.

Be proactive and commit time and resources

Lastly, your team must commit to being proactive and agree to commit the necessary money and staff time to your communications effort.  The more money and resources an organization devotes to its communication team, the more successful and the more media coverage it will receive.

PR for Social Change – “Rage Against the Haze”

30 08 2010

Rage Against the Haze is a movement initiated by Brains on Fire, an identity company out of Greenville, SC.  Brains on Fire helps organizations build movements.  They use a fusion of word of mouth marketing and identity development to initiate marketing efforts that take on a life of their own.

Rage Against the Haze is one example that has seen great success in the South Carolina.  This is not only a PR effort, but has become a movement for social change in SC.

Brains on Fire wanted to create something powerful that would survive for many years after the money was gone, decrease teen smoking by 5% and create awareness about the dangers of using tobacco.

This effort blossomed into a youth-led movement, where 92 local teens were given the responsibility of continuing this PR/Marketing effort.  They helped to plan and sustain the effort.  Youtube videos, swag, an interactive website and retreats were used to help train the students and spread the word.

The Youtube video above is one example of how the teens worked with Brains on Fire to create communication that would initiate social change in SC and help to decrease teen smoking.

As a result of this anti-tobbacco movement, youth tobacco use rates dropped 16.9% and the movement has grown to include 6,000 active teens who are “raging against the haze.”

This movement shows what communication and public relations can do for society.