The Town of Saugeen Shores was experiencing challenges when communicating to its residents and other key stakeholders.
Our messaging was not consistent and no protocol was in place for determining when or how to communicate to the public. There was also confusion regarding just what makes a newsworthy item, and how to interact with stakeholders through the many communications channels that we use.
Messages came from all stakeholders, including internal staff, Council, volunteers, the media, residents, visitors, businesses, governments, community organizations and others.
In order to effectively communicate to all stakeholders, our project team identified the Town's many audiences through a thorough research process. We found that Saugeen Shores has a fluctuating, seasonal population. Many out-of-town cottagers use Saugeen Shores as a beautiful summer destination, but are not in the Town during the fall and winter. As well, many residents are retirees, who do not have easy access to electronic media such as the Internet or social media.
Using feedback from the Town and its stakeholders, the project team went to work on a strategy that would address this gap in two-way communications and charted a path forward for clear, consistent messaging.
The strategy also includes a comprehensive Emergency Communications Plan to help prepare us for any eventuality. The numerous scenarios, key contacts, organizational charts and instructions help all Town staff know what to do in case of emergency.
The end product is a proactive Town of Saugeen Shores Corporate Communications Strategy that targets all stakeholders through a variety of digital and traditional channels, helping us become a strong two-way communications organization. The strategy aims to increase public awareness around Town programs, initiatives and services through clear, concise, timely, consistent and accessible messages.
The Town featured the brand new Communications Strategy in its podcast, the Shore Report (episode 32): https://www.saugeenshores.ca/en/our-town-hall/shore-report.asp
The podcast is another original communications tool that provides information through guest appearances, updates, news bulletins and interviews. It has over 5,500 listens in 42 different countries, and is available on Soundcloud and iTunes.
Using this overall strategy and the accompanying resources for a successful rollout, we can deliver on our commitments to all audiences and more effectively tell its story.
In the coming years, we will use the proactive tactics to enhance the organization's relationship with stakeholders, by ensuring key messages are delivered effectively by trained and informed staff.