Strategic communication

Phase 1: Understand your issue, audiences and stakeholders

In the first phase of your strategic communication project, you need to understand:

  • Your issue
  • Your target audiences
  • Your stakeholders
  • The possible role of communication

Understand the sustainability issue you want to solve

Step 1: Get insight in the sustainability issue you want to solve

Why is it important? What happens if no action is taken? What are the benefits if action is taken?

Step 2: Understand the causes of the issue

Which activities and behavior need to change?

Step 3: Identify the people involved

Which audiences & stakeholders are responsible for these causes and behavior? Which stakeholders have interest in these activities?

Frog leap!

Now you have a more clear picture of the issue, the desired behavior change and the target audiences & stakeholders involved. It’s time to really understand your target audiences & stakeholders!

Understand your target audiences

Whose behavior needs to change? Understand your target audiences!

Step 1: Understand the benefits and costs of the behavior you want to influence

It’s not about your point of view. It’s about the point of view of your target audience! And benefits are not only money. Understand also:

  • Positive and negative experiences: do they enjoy it?
  • Effort of the behavior: how easy is it? How much time does it cost? Is the desired behavior supported by infrastructure?
  • Status: what impression does it make on society?
  • Social pressure: how do their colleagues, friends and family feel about it?
  • Culture and tradition: since when do they behave this way?
  • Habit: do they behave this way automatically, without a conscious decision?

Step 2: Understand the knowledge, beliefs and attitudes linked to your issue

  • What do your target audiences assume to be true?
  • How do they feel about your issue?

Step 3: Analyze all the insights

Analyze all the insights you got and describe the key characteristics of your target audience, related to your mission and sub goal.

Frog leap!

Now you understand your target audience, it’s time to understand your stakeholders!

Download the tool Understanding your target audiences and make the jump

Understand your stakeholders

Who is affected and can influence the change your are after? Understand your stakeholders!

Step 1: Map stakeholders

Make a list of people and organizations who are affected by the changes you propose.

Step 2: Understand stakeholders

For each stakeholder find out what their interest is in the changes you propose. Find out what benefits or disadvantages they will experience when you realize your changes. Do they gain or lose? And find out if they have power to help you succeed or fail. For this step you need to go to the stakeholders and ask questions. Face to face. Open and honest. Listen carefully. Do not impose your views. During this step, their view is the only view that matters.

Step 3: Identify desired role of stakeholders and focus your energy

Decide how you involve them in your project: just inform them, also consult them or partner with them: give them responsibility for your project’s activities.

Use the Frogleaps Tool: Analyze stakeholders, to identify the desired role and involvement of your stakeholders and focus your energy.

  • Ambassadors: Invest medium efforts to inform and motivate them so they will help during key moments: praise your initiative in public and in formal settings during key moments, give access to their networks, help to open doors, support to help you find money.
  • Potential partners: Invest maximum efforts to engage and motivate them so they will take responsibility to help you achieve your goals.
  • Bystanders: Invest minimal efforts to inform them so they will raise their interest and support your activities in the future (become fans).
  • Fans: Invest medium efforts to inform and motivate them and give them tools to create word of mouth.

Frog leap!

Now you know who you need to succeed and how to focus your energy: Partner with key players, keep high power stakeholders happy, give tools to fans to create word of mouth and keep bystanders informed. You need two-way communication to reach these aims. Get together around the table and agree on desired roles and actions.

Download the tool Analyze stakeholders and make the jump

Sometimes a roleplay can help to internalize the thinking, beliefs and attitudes of a specific stakeholder group. Suzana Padua from Brazil send us her field tested tool to do a simulation game.We gladly offer it to you:

Download tool for a Simulation exercise to understand stakeholders