Communications and Marketing
A Communications and Marketing Strategy (Communications Strategy) is developed to help guide and achieve the overall communication goals for a Water Fund, such as communicating key ideas to target audiences, aligning messaging between partners, establishing protocols, and defining a schedule for the roll-out of promotional information.
What should a communications and marketing strategy include?
At a minimum, Communications Strategy will typically include:
● details regarding the overall strategy for rolling-out the promotional information for the Water Fund;
● awareness-raising objectives, tools and strategy, including target audiences and messaging;
● protocols for web activity(e.g. requirements for activities on social media, major media sources, and specific formats such as videos, photos, etc.);
● protocols for responding to media inquiries and interview requests; and
● protocols for crisis (e.g. process for identifying what happened, alerted appropriate personnel, monitoring the situation, stepwise response actions, and activation of the agreed-upon plan).
How should a communications strategy be structured?
This strategy is typically structured around a number of strategic communication needs related to how the Water Fund’s goals and achievements are communicated to prospective donors, partners, and the general public.
What is strategic communications?
Given that a range of audiences will need to be reached, it is important that audience-specific media be developed and released at strategically identified points of the development of the Water Fund. Strategic Communications is defined here as the systematic planning for and execution of internal informational exchange between team members, external communications with partners, media development, and reputational risk-management over a long-term horizon.
Who should develop the Communications and Marketing Strategy?
This strategy should be developed and led by experts who are specifically trained and hold experience in communication methodologies, techniques, and practices. It is important that audience-specific media are developed for the identified target audiences and distributed at the most appropriate time to achieve the long-term communication goals of the Water Fund.
At a minimum, Communications Strategies will seek to address the following questions:
● How do we ensure we are telling a consistent and compelling story?
● Who are the water fund’s target audiences?
What is the general process for developing a Communications Strategy?
The exact process that will be followed in developing a Communications and Marketing Strategy (Communications Strategy) will be guided by the local context, conditions, and communications needs for a given Water Fund. We highlight a typical process below.Lesson Learned from the Rio Grande Water Fund
Typical process for developing a communications strategy:
Schedule meeting with marketing team
Develop short-term and long-term goals for Water Fund communications. Determine available resources and measures of success.
Collaborate with partners
Meet with partners to integrate cross-promotional activities for Water Fund into communications strategy.
Develop strategies and activities, including brand identify
Includes identification of audiences, creation of key talking points and Water Fund messages, as well as media outreach.
Develop detailed timeline and work plan
Timeline should cover all phases - planning through implementation - and assign responsibilities.