It didn’t take long. We’ve switched off. Stopped listening. Stopped doing what we’re told. Instead, we’ve had enough.
This seems to be what our latest Togetherness Index tells us.
We’ve switched off Government, both State and Federal. Business and other institutions are also struggling to cut through.
In fact, the effectiveness of Federal Government to keep us informed has collapsed. The problem is worse among rural, regional and older voters where those trusting communication is at its lowest.
Of course, we’re fatigued following COVID-19, a Federal election, floods, bushfires and more.
The effectiveness of business communication and the media has dropped for the third survey in a row, as has its trustworthiness. There’s more work to do to convince Australians that the corporate world and the mainstream press are a force for good.
Community leaders too are struggling to get through – with measures of effectiveness, trust and action all dropping in the latest survey.
And yet all these institutions have a role to play in keeping us together, of playing a role in our community, of acting responsibly to maintain the cohesion of our neighbourhoods.
What’s to be done? Five things strike us as essential, called CLOSE.
Closeness: how can our strategy drive people closer together? That means bringing people into the room to connect them, to create action and buy in, not simply blasting information at them from a megaphone.
Listening: have you set up channels to listen and learn? This one is connected to the first. Expectations shift all the time. It’s important to keep track of these dynamics and assess how we are tracking against them.
Optimism: which groups/stakeholders (family, friends) will drive positive reactions? If you don’t know this, how can you engage with the right groups? How can you expect to amplify your story.
Stories: what’s the story we are sharing, and will it cut through? Stories cut through. Having an holistic narrative, brought to life by many examples and real stories, is essential if organisations are to reach the communities they need most.
Effectiveness: how effective is the messenger and are we committed to adapt as required? Too often organisations fail to evaluate their communication performance. They fail to research how they’re tracking, if they’re driving action and behaviour. Without this evaluation how do you know if you are driving the outcomes you want.
All five combine to bring organisations CLOSE to the mark on communication. Without them, communicators will continue to be disconnected from their audiences.