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Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Contents Introduction............................................................. 1 Overarching strategic objectives........................... 2 Outcomes................................................................. 3 Supporting documentation and reference........... 4 Strategy development process............................... 5 Strategy implementation and reporting............... 6 Principles.................................................................. 7 The pillar approach to communication............... 8 Pillar one – Creating connections................... 9 Pillar two – Service delivery...........................11 Pillar three – Organisational reputation.......13 Pillar four – Leadership and people..............15 Pillar five – Naturally Better...........................17

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014



City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Introduction We value communication with our community and recognise the need to provide information that is transparent, audience-focused, targeted, accessible, cost efficient and timely. In order to respond effectively to this need, we have developed a communications strategy. A communications strategy does many things. However, primarily, it helps us to ensure that our community is kept well informed about our activities and initiatives through: • Presenting information simply, clearly and consistently to those who need/want to know • Prioritising communication outcomes in a planned and strategic manner • Making efficient use of our resources • Identifying what we need to say (our messages) in order to achieve our organisational goals. This document and its development process aim to secure agreement and joint ownership

of actions from Elected Members and management. For our community, it aims to build an understanding of what to expect, as well as an appreciation of our strategic response to their feedback. The aim of this document varies from that of the City of Tea Tree Gully Community Engagement Framework, which is ‘to ensure that people who live, work, access Council services and participate in recreation activities within the City of Tea Tree Gully have the opportunity to provide feedback on and influence the development of plans, policies and strategies that will have an effect on their lives, and to inform the decisions Council will make in terms of planning and delivery of services.’ In summary, our communications strategy is about sharing information and guiding perceptions, while our community engagement framework is about including people in our decision making processes.

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


Overarching strategic objectives Our strategic vision originates from the Strategic Plan 2011–2015, which directs us to ‘Communicate with and inform our community using a variety of methods that meet our community needs’ (7.2). It further directs us to ‘Develop an external communications framework that uses appropriate communications tools and techniques to effectively inform our community about Council activities’ (7.2.1) and ‘Promote the Council and our city’ (7.2.2). More broadly, the objectives of this strategy are: • To develop communication activities guided by the needs and preferences of our


community as well as our own organisational goals • To guide our communications as a whole organisation, as well as giving direction to individual departments • To achieve a unified approach to communication by categorising our communication function into distinct areas, each with its own objectives, outcomes and activities (the pillar approach) • To help us achieve our goals for our City and our community.

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Outcomes Using this strategy we hope to achieve the following outcomes: • Increased relevance to our community through high quality and frequent communication with various stakeholders • Enhanced reputation among key stakeholders • Increased awareness of our business and our proven ability to deliver on our promises • Increased awareness of Tea Tree Gully as one of Adelaide’s leading cities • Increased third-party endorsement of us and our City • Unwavering commitment to better communication from our organisation.

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


Supporting documentation and reference The strategy was developed to assist us to achieve communication-related aims contained in the following key documents: • Strategic Plan 2011–2015 • City of Tea Tree Gully Community Engagement Framework • City of Tea Tree Gully Public Consultation Policy. It takes into account the findings of two groups of research conducted in 2010. 1. The communications preferences survey, which made the following conclusions among others: • That more than one-third of residents wished to know more about our activities • That less than one-half of residents were ‘satisfied’ with our channels of communication with them


• Online media • Council events • Media such as social media, radio or TV. 2. The create20forty phase one community engagement process, which, together with other non-communications related feedback, indicated that the community: • Would like to see a more modern and visible city that promotes itself as a desirable place in which to live, work and play • Would like us to better promote our services • Would like our facilities and community spaces to appear family-friendly and desirable as venues, as well as having better directional and information signage

• That one-third of residents would like more ‘relevant’ information from us

• Would like us to hold a wide variety of events that bring people in from outside of our city

• That the frequency of communication between us and our target audiences be increased

• Would like information to be targeted at the whole community, transparent, clear, open and consultative

• That communication channels between us were limited largely to print material but could successfully include: • Signage

• Would like to have decision-making processes and the role of the community in these processes clearly expressed.

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Strategy development process The process used to develop the communication strategy has included: • A research phase to bring together the various bodies of knowledge from across the organisation • An initial, informal workshop with Elected Members to outline the objectives and outcomes of a strategy • An initial workshop with our communication team to identify potential focus areas and communication objectives • A further workshop with our Executive Leadership Team to finalise communication objectives and key messaging • Further meetings and workshops with internal teams to present and finalise the draft strategy • A workshop with Elected Members to finalise draft strategy • Endorsement and adoption of the strategy by the Strategic Planning and Development Policy Committee.

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


Strategy implementation and reporting The Strategic Marketing and Communication Department will be available to guide and assist with the strategy. However staff and Elected Members are responsible for its implementation. There are various internal action plans that detail the specific tasks generated as a result of this strategy and these will drive implementation. The corporate reporting framework will be used to report on the strategy and associated plans.


City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Principles These principles apply when implementing the strategy: • We undertake to communicate enthusiastically – both proactively and reactively • Communication is a shared responsibility for staff and Elected Members • The style and method of communication will be determined by efficiency, sustainability (environmental and financial), community impact, consistency and corporate image • The language and information will be easy to read and understand, community-focused and accessible (Plain English).

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


The pillar approach to communication This strategy uses the ‘pillar’ approach, which is best suited to organisations such as:

1. Creating connections

• Those that have a complex or large spread of communicators across a variety of locations and focus areas

3. Organisational reputation

• Those with a broad cross-section of communication stakeholders

5. Naturally Better.

2. Service delivery 4. Leadership and people

• Those with an extensive communication mandate across a broad range of topics, industries and stakeholder groups • Those with a need to drive communication as opposed to engaging reactively • Those that could potentially use an extensive number of media and channels to convey information and messages • Those that are mandated to communicate regularly on a wide variety of issues. The purpose of developing communication ‘pillars’ is to divide the organisation’s potential communications into separate, manageable focus areas, each with their own specific agenda, messaging, objectives and intended outcomes. The messaging and objectives related to each pillar give the direction that drives our communication activities. The strategy development process identified the following communication pillars:


City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Pillar one – Creating connections

Key messaging

Creating connections is an aspirational pillar in response to the needs of our community as it transitions into the future. The groundwork will be done in the next few years but it will gain momentum in the 2014–2016 communications strategy. It shows us with our community at heart, facilitating an improved communication network incorporating residents and stakeholders. It also promotes us as the ‘link’ between local residents, businesses, State and Federal agencies and decision-makers.

• As your Council, we strive to be at the heart of this community and are committed to fostering its development

Objectives • To facilitate the creation of a well-connected, vibrant, community by providing information and connection to social opportunities • To show the ways that our City is a place where people want to do business, work and play • To show the ways that we are a leader and key partner with the State and Federal Government for the benefit of our community Target audiences • All stakeholders, but especially residents and business owners • Local, State and Federal governments

• We are embarking on a campaign to strengthen our City’s communication networks and encourage everyone to engage enthusiastically in the best interests of our future • Our City is a place of opportunity – strategically linked to the north and northeast, we aim to be a magnet for people and business • We are committed to ensuring that our community has all the relevant information to meaningfully participate in community engagement activities • We foster leaders within our elected body, our staff and our community Communication channels • All channels will be used in the initial phases, but online and interactive media will become increasingly important Communication opportunities • Creatively use our infrastructure (hard and soft) to connect our community

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


• Where we can do so in a cost-effective way, fill the ‘information gaps’ experienced by our community • Explore sponsorship, networking and partnering opportunities to build relationships and demonstrate our leadership and focus, in order to connect with a range of people and organisations Likely executions • Development of a wide-reaching sponsorship policy and framework • A web-based community events calendar • New events developed in collaboration with key community groups • Use members of the community as advocates in our publications and news releases • Publicise examples of community members/ groups/organisations contributing positively to our City’s vision


City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Pillar two – Service delivery

our community

This pillar is very closely linked to other pillars as the associated activities are hugely influential in determining our reputation. This is the ‘bread and butter’ of all our communication activity and is what our community has indicated they would like to see more of.

• We have a comprehensive service program that is relevant and accessible to the community


• Our operations are shaped with our ecological footprint in mind

• To show our community how we are an efficient organisation that delivers on its operational commitments • To enhance our community’s understanding of what we do and how we do it

• Our infrastructure is sustainably planned and maintained in order to provide for our current and future communities

• We are committed to having a positive impact on our community’s cost of living through the sustainable management and development of our City

• To support our principles of good governance

Communication channels

• To assist in lessening the risks associated with delivering services to our community

• Council communication channels accessed by customers e.g. Gully Grapevine, brochures, website and events

• Primarily local media e.g. Messenger

• To set and manage expectations around our service delivery and responsibilities

• Campaign-based social media

Target audiences

Communication opportunities

• All those who directly interact with our business and who get the benefit of our services

• Demonstrate delivery of customer service using third-party endorsement in operational fact sheets

• Local and State government

• Use consistent messaging and branding to educate the public regarding what we do and how we do it

Key messages • We maintain a standard of high-quality, timely service delivery with direct benefit to

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


• Use new technologies to deliver information innovatively and cost effectively • Establish greater understanding of our different types of service-related customers and then directly target information to them • Maintain a communications department that offers support and advice, has an organisational focus, but offers some services to our operational projects • Grow our social and online media capabilities for the purposes of informing as well as service delivery Likely executions • Development of a social media policy and campaigns for a few business areas with highly targeted audiences e.g. library and Hive • Availability of operational fast facts • Development of a communications toolbox to assist internal operational teams


City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Pillar three – Organisational reputation

Key messages

When viewed as an organisational asset, our reputation is high on the list of importance and, like any public-facing organisation, we need to actively maintain it to a high standard. For our community, experiencing and perceiving us to be a highly reputable organisation represents a relationship of trust and understanding. Objective

• We are a progressive, responsive and efficient Council known for our innovation, ‘fit-forpurpose’ and accessible services • Our programs and services are planned, valued and meet the needs of a changing community • We embody the spirit of innovation through creative thinking • We are committed to transparency in everything we do

• To enhance our reputation among stakeholders • To manage the expectations of our role and services • To educate and proactively engage with our stakeholders with regard to our role and the work we do well • To demonstrate our leadership expertise and competencies in a way that builds trust in our organisation • To promote transparency and to be transparent in everything we do

Communication channels • To make sure all stakeholders are reached, we will implement a broad range of activity across a variety of channels • There will be a particular focus on proactive and targeted news media and contact with targeted groups Communication opportunities • Leverage all Council activities to drive our key messages • Build awareness about the good work we do through dedicated campaigns

Target audiences • All external communication stakeholders but specifically those closest to the organisation e.g. residents, businesses and other local and State government agencies

• Use storytelling to demonstrate effectiveness • Educate about services through dedicated campaigns

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


• Use third-party endorsement in media and publications • Identify and proactively manage key organisational and business unit stakeholders through planned communications • Use corporate branding to connect all activities i.e. clearly claim everything we do • Establish and equip ambassadors for the organisation • Pursue opportunities such as awards, presentations and speeches to showcase what we do well Likely executions • Explanatory ‘stories’ to promote our successes and differentiate ourselves from other councils • Planned sourcing of third-party endorsers • Increase number of award entries and participation at speaking opportunities


City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Pillar four – Leadership and people Our reputation can be enhanced by raising the profile of our leadership and people as well as highlighting traits such as expertise, passion and commitment. Objectives • To demonstrate our leaders’ expertise and competencies in a way that builds trust • To create a more dedicated culture of open communication and to take more responsibility for managing and contributing to this culture Target audiences • All external stakeholders, but specifically those who also hold leadership roles e.g. independent influencers and third-party endorsers, government leaders, service providers, suppliers and other councils Key messages

• We foster leaders within our elected body, our staff and our community • We are committed to ensuring that our community has all the relevant information to participate in community engagement activities • We are forward-thinking and have sustainable strategies in place • We are dedicated to keeping our community informed using the methods and access that suit you best • We have a strong voice, are responsive and influential and can work collaboratively, efficiently and consistently with State and Federal Government • We aim to be sustainable on all fronts – through our financial management, environmental programs, social responsibility and governance

• Our City is in good hands and benefits from excellent leadership

• Our goal is to be a recognised as a role model for local government, as demonstrated by the receipt of awards, grants and Federal funding

• We continue to improve by tailoring our approach to the community’s needs

Communication channels

• We have forward-looking and consistent leadership that makes decisions in the best interests of our community

• All channels will be used to achieve this objective, however web-based and social media will play a key role along with specialist print media

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


Communication opportunities

Likely executions

• Articulate and embed the communication principles of transparency, audience-focus, targeting, accessibility, cost-efficiency and timeliness through internal and external communications action plans

• Availability of fast facts or generic presentations for use at public-speaking opportunities

• Ensure that the Strategic Marketing and Communications team offers the relevant support and advice, has an organisational focus and empowers staff to drive operational projects

• Development and implementation of an internal communications action plan to facilitate and support the delivery of great external communication

• Leadership profiling in mainstream, trade and community media

• Grow our reputation on a broader basis (State and nationwide) • Create and use community feedback to inform the community and ‘close the communication loop’ • Equip leaders to promote our expertise in decision-making, strategic direction, best practice and innovation • Promote and ‘own’ our partnerships with State and Federal Government where possible and appropriate • Pursue opportunities such as awards, presentations and speeches to showcase our leadership • Use and develop effective, modern and appropriate communications tools


City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

Pillar five – Naturally Better

and governance

We are an organisation that offers innovation and excellence. We are also known as a city that has an abundance of ‘green’ space. This pillar brings together these two themes to promote ourselves as ‘Naturally Better’ – an attractive and desirable community in which to live, work and play.

• Our City is known for its green space, with more than double the average open space of most South Australian councils


• We are proud of the lifestyle offered by our open spaces and recreational facilities

• To position our City as an attractive, desirable place in which to live, work and play • To show how we are an organisation ‘doing everything better’ through best practice and a culture of continuous improvement

• We are committed to having a positive impact on our community’s cost of living through the sustainable management and development of our City

Communication channels

• To position our City as an iconic area in South Australia

• All communication channels will be used but specifically those able to support strong visual imagery e.g. television, print media (particularly magazine format), signage and events

Target audiences

Communication opportunities

• Residents and business owners (existing and potential)

• Promote the wide range of recreational facilities, programs and events available to our community

• Those who could live, work and play here • Local and State Government Key messages • We are leaders in technical innovation and business excellence • We aim to be sustainable on all fronts – through our financial management, environmental programs, social responsibility

• Use events to showcase our facilities and open spaces • Maintain consistent branding which clearly supports the ‘Naturally Better’ theme Likely executions

• City profiling pieces in print media to demonstrate our ‘lifestyle’ and the ‘business benefits’ City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014 17

• Whole-of-community events that crossprofile our business • Consistently branded, high impact signage


City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014

City of Tea Tree Gully – Communications Strategy 2011–2014


City of Tea Tree Gully

571 Montague Road, Modbury SA 5092 PO Box 571, Modbury SA 5092 Telephone 08 8397 7444

Communications Strategy 2011 - 2014  

Communications Strategy 2011 - 2014

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