Winning communication strategies for the Canadian public sector

As a communications professional, do you ever feel like you’re under increasing pressure to deliver relevant messaging to a variety of stakeholders, while driving awareness and reducing costs? If so, you’re not alone.

At Envoke, we aim to help public sector communications professionals operate more effectively, so we set out to develop a list of winning communication strategies that you can implement in your own organization.

We interviewed senior communication professionals across Municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments, as well as Government Agencies, Councils, Commissions and their vendors. Through this research, we were able to uncover a common set of objectives, challenges, and best practices that you can explore within your organization to help improve your communication strategies and workflows.

The following article highlights key challenges faced by the public sector and outlines a framework of 6 core winning communication strategies for public sector organizations in Canada. We hope that these strategies will help public sector communications teams take their messaging to the next level. To access the detailed information, we recommend downloading the report at the end of this post.

Why effective communication is so important

With information now more accessible than ever, consumer demand has also increased. The general public wants to be informed and updated in real-time, especially when it comes to the public sector organizations that represent them.
Public sector organizations have arguably the most diverse set of audiences to communicate with: there are internal and inter-departmental audiences, but also a wide range of different public stakeholders with varying characteristics and interests. When you couple this with expectations to do more with less, effectiveness is critical for public sector communications teams.
Today, there are high expectations for clear and concise messaging. Your audiences don’t want to be bogged down with information that is irrelevant to them, and they want to engage with organizations on the platforms they frequent. This necessitates a comprehensive segmentation or personalization strategy so your messages are tailored to the type of audience you’re talking to.

Challenges the public sector faces in communicating effectively

As you may expect, our research uncovered common challenges faced by public sector communication teams. Here are a few of the challenges we heard the most about.
Generating awareness: Public sector organizations have a wide range of significantly different audiences to communicate with. Tailoring messages to each audience presents a challenge that everyone has to deal with.
Privacy, security, and data: Complex regulations from multiple levels of government provide a difficult hurdle for communications teams to get past. There are inherent risks when privacy is not handled appropriately, so organizations need to understand what guidelines they must abide by.
Cost effectiveness: Resourcing and funding is a perpetual challenge for public sector organizations. These organizations face pressure to find the most cost effective solutions available to them.

6 winning communication strategies for the public sector

With these challenges in mind, we distilled all of our research and interviews to develop 6 winning strategies that you can integrate into your communication plans today. Below you’ll find a summary for each of the 6 strategies that we discuss in more detail in the full report.
Six winning communications strategies

1. Integrated communications

No single channel will let you effectively reach your entire intended audience. Your audience has infinite choices when it comes to where they consume content, and people’s habits across these channels vary significantly. This means you must take a holistic approach and coordinate your messaging across multiple channels.
When carried out properly, integrating your communications can present amplification opportunities that increase the impact of your messages.

2. Rich media

Attention spans are ever dwindling, so catching your audience’s attention quickly is critical to effective communications. Consumers of content are more savvy and have less time, therefore, you must be concise and compelling in your communications.
An excellent way to do this is with rich media – images, GIFs, and videos – which capture attention and are able to convey messages quickly. Public sector organizations that leverage rich media in their communications experience broader awareness and increased engagement.

3. Broadcast email communications

While you should no longer be thinking about your communication as only email, email and newsletters still have an important place in any public sector communication strategy. Email allows you to target your communications to subsets of your intended audience so you can provide the most relevant information to the right people.
Things such as dynamic content allow you to do this with one email that shows different content in the email based on characteristics of your recipients. Email is also measurable, allowing you to learn from your metrics so you can change your approach when something isn’t working and double-down on previous successes.

4. Two-way communications

It may seem obvious, but communication must be two-way. You want to engage your intended audience, not just broadcast information at them. People are inundated with advertising and messages that are pushed at them everyday, but organizations who communicate effectively create a mechanism to engage in meaningful conversations with their intended audiences.

5. Storytelling

One of the most common challenges we heard during our research was cutting through the noise. Stories are an invaluable tool to make sure your message is heard. Stories resonate – they help people understand complex concepts, and they make your communications memorable.
Public sector organizations that use storytelling in their communications are able to connect with their audience on a deeper level and make their messages stick.

6. Effective measurement

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Understanding what works and what doesn’t allows you to tweak your strategy and tactics to get the best results. Effective measurement ensures you get the most out of your investment in communication and gives you the tools you need for continuous improvement.

Final thoughts

Communications professionals across all sectors must strive to communicate effectively, but Canadian public sector organizations are faced with unique challenges. For the full, comprehensive report that dives into the 6 winning strategies outlined above in more detail, sign up below. Hear directly from other communications pros in the public sector, and explore best practices that you can implement with your team today.

Download your copy of Six Winning Strategies

Delivered as a 15-page PDF, ready to share with your team.


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