Strategic Communications Plan Executive Summary
Telling UC ANR’s story
As an outcome of the division’s broader Strategic Plan and, specifically, Goal 15 (“Tell ANR’s Story”), the Strategic Communications group has developed a Strategic Communications Plan 2017 – 2020.
In addition to a professional marketing/communications vendor that helped with facilitation and guidance, the planning team consisted of 21 individuals representing UC ANR communications staff, Cooperative Extension, statewide programs, UCOP, Development Services, and other stakeholders.
The resulting plan is meant to identify practical and modern approaches to tell UC ANR’s story to build stakeholder awareness and appreciation of UC ANR’s value, expand their use of what UC ANR offers, and deepen support for our Strategic Vision.
What’s our strategy?
Our external stakeholders will highly and widely appreciate the value of UC ANR only when we communicate experiences that are relevant, useful, and truthful. We must spark their imagination so they notice and engage with our information and share it. To do so, we need to connect credibly with stakeholders who ultimately include the general public. We must communicate strategically.
Our Promise to California is a launching pad to communicate experiences of our work and those of the people who use it. Each element of Our Promise represents a compelling value proposition that dovetails with newly-created public values statements (Goal 5). They demonstrate our attitude, how we work, and the dedication of the professionals and academics who work at UC ANR. It refreshes our story.
This is our strategy: to communicate our value as fulfilling a set of demonstrated principles, methods, actions and results, summarized in Our Promise, to achieve the UC ANR Vision for California.
Our Promise to the People of California
We the people of the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, promise to improve food, health, and environment of California through connecting all Californians with their University.
- Be a leader to bring science-based solutions;
- Provide trustworthy and unbiased information;
- Provide research results that are practical to use;
- Address the local concerns of communities;
- Invite all concerned stakeholders including industry to participate; and
- Serve where need arises.
How will we execute?
In addition, several Communications Practices Groups – including Media Relations, Social Media, Latino Community Outreach, and Internal Stakeholders Communications (and, later, Government Relations) – will leverage the guidance and products of the strategy group into their respective practice areas. They will combine specific communications skills to utilize particular communications channels, and serve particular audiences and communities.
To whom is this communications plan and strategy directed?
UC ANR’s strategic communications team (“StratComm”) is charged with telling ANR’s story to our public stakeholders, so our plan will largely be executed by StratComm team members.
But for the plan to be successful long-term, its principles will need to be carried out by the UC ANR community in its entirety. Anyone and everyone who talks about UC ANR – its work, its impact, its breadth and reach – can use the plan’s principles.
What can you do right now to support this Strategic Communications Plan?
As described in the plan, the StratComm team will be developing specific examples, descriptions, content, tools, systems, and distribution methods to help the broader community in adopting the plan’s principles into its communications and outreach activities.
But you can start supporting the plan immediately! Here are some tips and ways in which you might do this:
- Study the value propositions of Our Promise and consider how you might integrate them into your communications about UC ANR.
- Select a UC ANR-related project, activity, or event in which you’re involved. Try to find parallels, message-wise, with one or more Our Promise The good news is that virtually all UC ANR activities encompass these principles, so the task shouldn’t be difficult.
- Consider slight adjustments you can make to your standard communications vehicles, including websites, presentation templates, and others. Try to reinforce and call out Our Promise principles in those communications products.
- Reach out to a StratComm team member (or a member of the planning team responsible for development of the strategic communications plan) and discuss the plan’s strategy with them. Ask questions to help clarify any issues you may be concerned about, or ask for examples of how to “bring to life” the Our Promise
Remember – with your participation and support, our communications plan and strategy will succeed. Thank you! -Mike Janes, Strategic Communications Director, (530) 750-1204