Posted by: lmbshepard | April 22, 2012

Here comes everyone!

Before we start any communication project at the city we hold a planning meeting to learn more about the project and what our “client” wants to achieve. We always ask about the audience they want to reach even though we already know the answer we’re going to hear, “everyone” “Everyone” seems to be local government’s default answer when it comes to determining a project’s audience. If I had a dollar for every time I heard everyone I would have the biggest budget at the city. While government has a responsibility to be transparent and to ensure its information is available to the general public, it doesn’t mean we can’t be strategic about determining which publics we will target to help us reach our goals. To its own detriment local government is afraid to put strategic communications practices into action. I have struggled to figure this out. The only answer I can come up with is that most local government employees and elected officials don’t understand strategic communications and it is either viewed as too much work, too private sector or too manipulative. The assigned reading has given me additional language to use when discussing the importance of identifying key publics or audiences. Why do you think many local governments are hesitant to move beyond messages for general audiences?

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