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Elevate your communications

Agencia Change understands the critical role communications plays in shaping perceptions, driving engagement, and influencing key stakeholders. Many stakeholders, leaders and businesses hold communications to be synonymous with change management itself.

Our Elevate methodology supports change practitioners in implementing a structured approach to change communications; and takes a communications professional further to support strategic communication planning and execution.

At Agencia Change we work closely with our clients to develop tailored strategies that represent value, align with their objectives and deliver impactful results.

 

Our communication services help organisations to effectively communicate their messages, build strong relationships, and achieve their change and communication goals. 

 

Elevate methodology, tools, templates, descriptions and body of knowledge are the intellectual property of Agencia Change Pty Ltd. Relevant components of the methodology may be shared with the clients of Agencia Change for the purposes of undertaking agreed assignments. Agencia Change reserves all rights and protections in relation to its intellectual property.

Our Elevate methodology provides support for

change communications and more advanced structure for communications-specific professionals.

Step 1: Develop Share of Voice
Output: Share of Voice, matching Spokespeople to Messaging
Tool: Share of Voice .
Go to File Share.

Go to Change Communications Folder.

Review the Detailed CIA for:

  • impacted groups with communications needs: these are potential Audiences

  • change communications messages

1

  • Identify the business to which audiences belong: senior leaders in these business units are potential Spokespeople

  • Identify stakeholders  who otherwise 'own' the audiences, such as matrix managers, business partners, union delegates: these are potential Spokespeople

2

  • Create a matrix that shows the intersection between messages types and Spokespeople

  • In the intersections, show the specific 'jurisdiction' for each Spokesperson

  • The entire matrix is the voice of the Program or Project, and the cells show the Share of Voice

3

Step 2: Develop Tone of Voice
Output: Tone of Voice Guidelines
Tool: Develop Tone of Voice.
Go to File Share.

Go to Change Communications Folder.
  • Compose a concise mission statement that shows audiences the 'personality' of the change program, what it cares about and what it will do to achieve its goals.

  • Create a message architecture: a list of terms, statements and phrases used to align the team on all content produced.

  • Look out for key phrases and terms already in use.

  • Sort these terms into three groups: Who we are, Who we would like to be and Who we are not.

  • Depending on your purpose (let's assume we're managing change communications), focus on the Who we would like to be category, and sort these terms into priority order.

1

  • Use the prioritised statements of Who we would like to be, and the Nielsen Norman Group's four identified dimensions of tone of voice to map where the change program falls in each category.

  • Funny vs serious

  • Formal vs casual

  • Respectful vs irreverant

  • Enthusiastic vs matter-of-fact

2

Validate by observing the change audience

  • What language do they use? What words or phrases do they use often?

  • Is this compatible with your tone of voice map, or do you need to alter some of the mapping?

  • Revisit and rephrase your message architecture altering for tone of voice mapping and observations of your audience.

3

Create Tone of Voice Guidelines

  • How should the change program interact with your audience?

  • What values should it convey?

  • What is its mission statement?

  • What is the revised message architecture?

  • What vocabulary is recommended to use, and which to avoid?

  • Are there any grammar rules that support the tone of your change program's voice?

  • Share back or distribute the guidelines to the Program Team

4

Step 7: Readiness Assessment
Output: Updates to change plans, Readiness Assessment Dashboard
Tool: CIA in Accelerate Folder.
Go to File Share.
  • During implementation phase, check in regularly on any impending deadlines and important dates for stakeholders and assess whether they're ready to achieve what's required of them.

1

  • For each Readiness Action Plan item identified in Step 4, provide your client with an assessment of whether each group has achieved the expected amount of readiness for the time period that's passed.

4

  • Follow the Change Plans, review the actions and progress towards the plans.

  • Adjust plans where necessary in consultation with the stakeholders involved.

2

  • Check in with your client regularly to discuss whether the action plans are still relevant, and whether there are items that need to be added or removed to make them more practical and achievable.

5

  • Review specifically how the each plan is tracking, and seek regular feedback on the success and value (or otherwise) of the change activities conducted.

3

  • Summarise Readiness Assessment into a format that's reportable on a regular basis, to show the progress of stakeholders towards change readiness.

6

Step 3: Create Body of Knowledge Artefact
Output: An artefact that contains the message on each topic, recommended to be the FAQs document.
Tool: FAQ Template. Go to File Share.
Go to Change Communications Folder.
  • This artefact will contain what we know about the topic at the time of developing the communications about it.

  • It stays aligned with the CIA.

  • Once the artefact has been developed and approved, other subordinate materials can be developed without going back for further approvals.

  • Develop FAQs for larger projects, or a Fact Sheet for smaller projects.

1

  • Starting with a list of questions, review the with the team, sponsors and managers to align on what topics are important to cover.

  • Arrange the team to check the accuracy of the content, providing improved research, better information etc.

  • Wordsmithing, grammar review etc may be a byproduct of the review, but they're not the purpose of the team review.

2

  • The Change Manager reviews the body of knowledge artefact.

  • Ideally you will produce an artefact that can be published and used by change audiences, as well as providing a 'database' of all that will be important to know about the project.

  • Align the format and content to corporate or Program branding.

  • Edit the content for clarity and succinctness.

3

  • Arrange for sponsors and reviewers to check the accuracy of content and its alignment with strategy inputs and goals.

  • Wordsmithing and grammar check may be a byproduct, but they are not the goal of the review.

4

Create 'Version 1.0' of the artefact and find a BAU owner to maintain it.

  • BAU teams need to have a structured file repository, document management practices including a change control process for noting and determining action.

  • If suitable BAU processes are not yet in place, the Change Manager or Program team  may need to retain ownership temporarily.

5

  • Create subsequent communication tools with confidence that the content in the body of knowledge artefact is pre-approved.

  • These might include intranet content, email messages, internal media posts, Quick Reference Guides (QRGs): all drawing on the pre-approved content.

6

Step 4: Select Channels
Output: Channels for communicating across teams, cleints and organisations. Channel Ownership and Management Plan.
Tool: CIA in Accelerate Folder, tools in Channel Selection Folder.
Go to File Share.
Go to Channel Selection Folder.

Consider content, audience and timing.

  • Content questions to consider include why are the comms required: need to know, nice to know or business critical?

  • What type of impacts need to be communicated.

  • People impacts such as changes to role or duties.

  • Procedural or policy updates.

  • Achievement updates.

  • IT safety or emergency management updates.

1

  • Consider who needs to know: Divisions, Project Teams, Whole of Company.

  • Which channels are available to reach the audiences?

2

  • Plan for timing

  • When do the comms need to to out and with what frequency?

  • Within the hour or day.

  • Within the week or fortnight.

  • Within the month or quarter.

  • Summarise into a tool such as the template in our folder.

3

  • Being fully prepared to manage channels also includes channel ownership, characteristics, approvals etc.

  • Summarise a management plan in the template Channel Ownership and Management Plan, or a suitable tool that fits the nature of the communication channels in question.

4

Step 5: Align with Spokespeople
Output: Approved Share of Voice, updates to Channel ownership and management.
Tool: Share of Voice, Tone of Voice, Channels for communicating across teams, clients and organisations, Channel ownership and management. Go to File Share.
Go to Change Communications Folder.
  • Review the Share of Voice document to identify the ideal Spokesperson candidates.

  • Review channel selection documents for a full understanding of each spokesperson's role.

1

  • Make any adjustments requested, and ensure this is agreed by the Change Sponsor.

  • Create final version of the Share of Voice document and table it at Steering Committee to be noted and minuted.

4

  • Prepare background materials to introduce their proposed role to them.

  • Similar to a TV News program – you know which channel you’re watching by the overall tone, but you also expect different style, message and spokesperson for segments in the program such as weather, sport, breaking news, serious news, light news. Put all together, the spokespeople represent a cohesive whole.

2

  • Book time individually or together to explain the Share of Voice concept.

  • Share examples of future communications.

  • Discuss the channel selections.

  • Discuss their specific responsibilities - whether they need to produce, sign off, review, send/publish, or will there be others helping and managing each step.

  • Ask for their reaction and agreement in principle from each spokesperson to their role.

3

Step 6: Create Communication Tools
Output: Comms tools and messaging materials
Tool: Body of Knowledge artefact​
  • Our Body of Knowledge artefact contains the messaging on each topic.

  • Topics may be individual projects or impacted processes etc.

  • The Body of Knowledge artefact must be revised to stay aligned to the Detailed Change Impact Analysis, if anything significant changes such as the Future State technology solution.

1

  • Review the Body of Knowledge artefact to ensure it has been approved by the Change Sponsor and relevant Spokespeople (from the Share of Voice).

  • If any approvals are missing, ensure these are captured before creating any new comms tools.

  • Once the Body of Knowledge artefact has been approved, other subordinate documents and messaging materials can be developed without going back for further approvals on messaging.

2

  • Working with the Detailed CIA, determine what types of materials might be required and set priorities according to the timeline in the CIA or Project Plan.

3

  • Email. The most frequent form of communications requested is usually emails. With emails you can enter a standing agreement with the team to use text from the Body of Knowledge artefact, and help them to understand the Tone of Voice guidelines. In this way you don’t need to be personally involved every time someone wants to send an email.

  • Referring to the Share of Voice, though, there will be times when senior leaders (Spokespeople) need emails crafted for them to be sent per project schedule. In this case, prepare email copy from Body of Knowledge text and forward through to the Spokesperson or their assistant with the reminder that they can alter slightly to suit their own voice.

4

  • Presentations are more visual and therefore need to incorporate the project’s or organisation’s visual branding.

  • Once you have the correct visual branded templates, use the Body of Knowledge artefact, Tone of Voice guidelines, channel selection outputs etc to help determine the key messages of the presentation.

  • Always think of the audience first.

  • Start with a presentation structure that acknowledges common ground and common understanding with the audience.

  • Given the shared understand with the audience, what is the main question they would have?

  • Organise key messages, points and sub-points into a presentation structure that answers audience key questions.

  • It’s not a mystery story! A useful flow might be to start with the headlines and add points of detail in blocks of information.

  • People can easily take in small groups of information (5-7) items, so try to chunk up information to fit.

  • Less is more in presentations. Cut back and edit content to make it possible to present at a pace of 2-3 minutes per page plus question time.

  • Inconsistency is distracting. Go through the presentation in detail to align graphics, proofread the text, and ensure the flow works.

5

  • Digital copy such as block text for intranet sites or blogs can reuse paragraphs and text from the Body of Knowledge artefact.

6

  • Stories and Campaigns. Collect stories through the course of the project that can be written up to add interest to newsletters, intranet, external-facing internet sites. Organising stories into similar topics, or campaigns, can help divide the change communications up into phases. You may have 4 phases over a 12 month period where the communications you’re putting out follows a different aspect such as:

  • Where the program is just getting established your campaign might be “Meet the Team”. Stories would focus around the aspirations, skills and attributes of team members and what they bring to the organisation.

  • You might follow the establishment phase with a campaign like “Getting to Know the Program”. This would involve stories that highlight the problems we’re solving, the solutions we’re looking at and the benefits we’re aiming to achieve.

  • The next campaign might focus on getting audience input and buy-in. Such as “You Said, We Did” and stories would relate back to audiences the input received to date and how it’s being incorporated into the solution.

  • Finally something like “Bringing it to Life” or “Making it Possible” would showcase stories of success. This might be from successful pilots or testing, go live results or how business areas have applied the solution and are gaining benefits from it.

7

  • Training Materials. Training should be handled in-depth and designed to ensure project-delivered solutions can be explained in a way that integrates with the existing (or changed) processes.

  • However, there might be demand for materials prior to a Training Needs Analysis or the final Solution Design etc being fully developed.

  • In this case, use the text from the Body of Knowledge artefact where possible to explain what is known (and what isn’t) about the solution and how it should be applied by the audience.

8

Step 7: Create Timeline
Output: Comms schedule and plan.
Tool: Project plan, communication tools, campaign plan.
Go to File Share.
Go to Change Communications Folder.
  • Review the Business Readiness Plan to help determine key project milestones.

1

  • Review the channel selection and Business Readiness Plan to understand what assets, messages and formats are required.

3

  • Talk to business representatives to determine business cycles and events.

  • During these times business resources are already stretched and our Change Program may not be the top priority. In this case, comms should be scheduled appropriately.

  • For example, IT departments and many organisations shut down at the end of the calendar year.  Australian financial institutions are at the peak of their business activity at the end June, education institutions have peak enrolment times twice per year.

2

  • Organise the channels, messages, and formats into groups by priority and frequency, to show how they match the needs of the audience.

  • Map the key comms events on to a timeline and coordinate this with the overall project plan to ensure it meets the comms needs of the project.

4

  • In addition, projects often require ad hoc materials to be developed quickly in support of last-minute needs or ideas.

  • This might be especially true in agile projects.

  • It might be useful to show time set aside to develop ad hoc communications on the timeline.

5

  • Remembering that comms may be organised into campaigns, and campaigns map to phases of the project, you can represent the campaigns on the timeline to show how the change audience will be taken through themes of communications that lead to eventual acceptance and adoption of the change.

6

Step 8: Review Effectiveness
Output: Understand effectiveness and progress of the comms plan.
Tool: Comms Report, Feedback Form. Go to File Share.
Go to Change Communications Folder.
  • For each communication in your plan or campaign. step 1 is to know it was received.

  • For digital comms, this may be measured by existing email or website tracking tools.

  • It's important to note whether it was your target audience opening or accessing the information.

1

  • When was the information accessed?

  • This may be critical depending on the type of information.

  • If information is time-sensitive, real time analytics will be essential to determine the date and time of audience interacting with messaging.

2

  • Did the audience understand the message?

  • In face to face interactions, you may get an immediate assessment of this - and you can always ask!

  • In digital media, surveys and feedback forms or apps are potential forms of measurement. Feedback tools don't need to be lengthy!

4

Reviewing your comms effectiveness and making adjustments increases your credibility as a change or comms professional.

  • Consider if any recommendations come out of the comms review, such as the need for a better tracking tool, or a shift in budget allocations.

  • Record your review findings and consider providing a regular report on the effectiveness of comms to Steering Committee or communication partners in the organisation.

6

  • What parts of the communication were consumed?

  • Our target audiences will respond to different methods.

  • Understanding the most effective parts of comms means we can better package up our comms in future.

  • If the audience responds better to video, images, data in spreadsheets, etc. this is good to know.

3

  • How can I improve my comms next time?

  • By reviewing. whether the audience got the message, understood it and what formats work best for each audience, we can improve the effectiveness of specific message-type to audience combinations.

  • This means less effort for a better result over time.

5

Extending the Elevate Methodology
for Communications Professionals

Our Communications Services

When working on a change management assignment, much of the communications analysis work will be conducted alongside your Detailed Change Impact Analysis. However, if the assignment is about implementing communications that are broader or not specifically change related, you can follow these steps as far as the assignment takes you - this may be a single step or item of content, or it may be an entire end to end strategy to execution assignment.

 

Step 1: Strategy development

 

  1. Conduct needs assessment: Analyse the communication needs, goals, target audience, and market landscape

  2. Message development: Summarise the clear, compelling, and consistent messages that resonate with the target audiences and align with the client's brand values and objectives. It may be useful to use something similar to the change communications approach: creating a body of knowledge artefact.

  3. Channel selection: Determine what communication channels are available, and which will be the most effective channels and platforms to reach and engage the target audience. Consider both traditional and digital channels.

 

Step 2: Stakeholder engagement

 

  1. Stakeholder mapping: Identify key stakeholders and their specific interests, concerns, and communication preferences, enabling targeted and tailored communication efforts. You can use your own tool, or try an approach such as the stakeholder mapping in our High-Level Change Impact Analysis.

  2. Relationship building: Develop strategies to foster positive and productive relationships with stakeholders through effective communication, engagement initiatives, and relationship management.

  3. Crisis communication: Establish protocols and strategies to effectively communicate during crisis situations, managing reputation and minimising potential risk and damage.

 

Step 3: Content development

 

  1. Content strategy: Create a comprehensive content strategy that summarises the communication goals, ensures consistency, relevance, and engagement in all content across all channels.

  2. Content creation: Revise the key messages developed and channels identified in Step 1. Use the key messages to develop high-quality, impactful content that meets the needs of the channels identified, including articles, press releases, blog posts, social media updates, and multimedia assets that effectively convey your key messages. See more in Create Communication Tools above.

 

Step 4: Consultation and Management

 

  1. Presentation: Package up and present your Strategy, Stakeholder engagement plans, crisis management approach, content strategy and content samples to your client.

  2. Agreement: Agree with the client who will handle the implementation of the plan, being sure to recommend which stakeholders need to be involved at key points along the way.

  3. Distribution: Empower your client to implement a plan that achieves reach and engagement using various channels such as websites, social media platforms, newsletters, and media outlets.

 

Step 5: Review and Align with Internal Communications

 

  1. Internal messaging: Review the organisation's internal communications style and develop internal communication strategies that align employees with the organisation's mission, values, and goals, fostering a sense of unity and commitment.

  2. Employee engagement: Use existing company diagnostics (such as engagement survey results) to facilitate programs and initiatives that enhance employee engagement and satisfaction through effective communication, feedback mechanisms, and employee recognition strategies.

  3. Change management communication: There may be various change initiatives at play, alignment with internal communications means developing and providing communication plans that address employee concerns, facilitate understanding, and encourage buy-in at a coordinated level across the enterprise. 

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