Fuelled by the rise of digital technologies, people now expect a relationship between themselves and the organisations that they engage with. While this presents challenges, it is also a huge opportunity. This is because by nurturing these relationships you can build a community of support.
What I do
Who do you trust most? Your doctor? Your parents? Probably. Your bank? Big business? Government? Well, if the last ‘Trust Barometer’ from Edelman is to be believed probably not, as it revealed that in the UK there is now less than 50 per cent trust in the mainstream institutions of business, Government, media and NGOs to do the right thing.
While an amount of healthy scepticism in the claims and counterclaims we see banded around in political sounds bites, adverts and consultations is no bad thing.
However, if we tip too far and become serial distrusters then this is a major problem for those who work in communications and engagement. Sure, people might hear what you are saying, but are they going to listen? Simply put, how can you talk to residents, service users, customers, citizens, indeed anyone about the important issues when they just don’t trust anything you are saying?
Trust can be built and sustained, but it takes a commitment to key principles:
- Transparency: People need to know about the challenges and how decisions will be made
- Vision: People need to know why you are doing what you are doing. Why you are doing it in that way that you are. Plus, what is in it for their community
- Constant dialogue: People need to be taken on a journey with you, through a constant dialogue - you need to listen and show how you have listened
As well as these principles, you need the right tools to build and sustain trust
- Messaging: Consistent messaging needs to present the challenges and goals of the project. This needs to go beyond ‘spin’ and provide a clear public set of principles
- Data: Contact with stakeholders needs to be recorded along with the feedback from them. This will allow a relationship to be built and sustained over the long-term
- Channels: Having access to the right channels means you can reach the right people, at the right time, in the right way for your message
- Timetable: To make the most of the key events of the project you need to have a timetable which not only provides certainty to stakeholders, but it also ensures that each moment is used to build a dialogue around the project.
- People: People will trust people even when they will not trust institutions. This means you need to have the right people, supported in the right way, to build a relationship and a dialogue around the project
Building trust isn’t easy, but it is essential in getting the message across and allowing a genuine debate to happen.
"I have worked with Paul on a large and demanding programme of housing regeneration. Paul had an immediate impact. He understands complexity when engaging with a large number of people across a range of issues that matter to them - and has brought clarity and a strong, practical approach to devising and implementing the engagement strategy."
Lesley Johnson - Director at Johnson Pancucci
"He applies himself to issues and challenges and will work through them to a successful end. He is also someone who you can rely on in all circumstances - which is an excellent asset in a campaign setting. I have genuinely enjoyed working with Paul and would highly recommend him”
Julian Ellerby - Director of Campaigns and Communications at London Borough of Lambeth
“Paul was brilliant. His analysis and presentation was easy to understand and very thorough, without being biased. We have a lot of work to do and really appreciate Paul's feedback and assessment."
Anil Ranchod - Deputy Director Public Relations & Comms Stroke Association
How I work
I have 15 years’ experience blending digital strategy, tools and tactics with traditional approaches. I have done this for campaigns, local government and in the private sector. While I am an innovator always looking for the latest tools I am grounded by a focus on results and the practicalities of getting the job done on time and on budget.
|The IT system||The company car||The desk||The network|
|Android, Mac & Google||Brompton mobility||London's best wifi and coffee||Coordinating the best|
Start your journey now
I offer a no obligation face to face 'coffee and consultation' in London and a Skype version for people outside of London - you will need to provide your own coffee. Interested? Then start your journey now.