Communications in a political environment

Written by Bruce Fraser, PRINZ President

Communications is communications right? Well yes, the principles of great PR apply across a wide range of situations where they're applied. Robust research, sound planning, sensible budgeting, great implementation and measurement that is clearly linked to your SMART objectives all contribute to effective campaigns and ongoing communications.

These all apply whether you're undertaking PR for a large corporate, a not for profit organisation or small business. However, if you're providing communications advice in a government department, it's all that and more. You have a political overlay that provides the context and backdrop to everything you do. Budgets are often more constrained, appetite for risk is lower, flashiness is unwelcome, tactics will be more conservative and politicians to consider.

Your communications don't need to be boring though. There are plenty of great work examples that come from government departments and the 'PR Strategy and Planning for Government' course will look at some of them. You'll learn about best practice covering all the aspects of communications that are relevant for government communications practitioners. This is a mix of learning, doing and sharing in a lively, interactive session that will leave you with practical steps to take your career to the next level.

The New Zealand Transport Agency won the Government or Quasi Government Public Relations section of the annual PRINZ awards in 2013 with its campaign to education kiwis about changes to the give way rules. We saw great research, deep understanding of driver behaviour and highly effective implementation of well-planned tactics. Great PR all done within a political environment and the results were amazing with very few crashes and a speedy changeover in driving patterns.

Good communications are good communications but you're working in a particular environment where there other considerations. Expect to cover the elements of effective communications set in a political world. Whether you're currently working in a government department, thinking of applying for jobs there or need to understand how they work, this course will provide a robust mix of theory and practice for you.

Bruce will be presenting a PRINZ course 'PR Strategy and Planning for Government' on 16 June in Wellington, see here for details.

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