Posts Tagged ‘Government Communications’

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UK Govts Head of Communications Doesn’t Like Press Releases or Strategic Communication

September 24, 2013

Since the beginning of this year Alex Aiken has been Executive Director for UK  Government Communications and has been pushing hard for change and savings – he certainly doesn’t seem to be short of opinions, there was some excitement on Twitter this morning when PR Week reported a speech he’d given last week announced the death of the press release

As far as he’s concerned too much PR is about SOS – sending out stuff  when it needs a much more OASIS – objectives, audience, strategy, implementation and scoring.

He notes that during the recent excitement over the culling of badgers in the UK the responsible department sent out one press release and 350 tweets.

His line seems to be that government spends too much money on old media and thinks in terms of ‘strategic communications’ which in his mind seems to imply old media based marketing campaigns.  His solution is that government communicators need to embrace a PR based campaign management approach.  Of course some people would argue that  OASIS is nothing but strategic communication 101 – I think his concern is to shake up the routines of government communications offices.

Another of his signature views is the importance of evaluation for government communicators and he argues that this is a skillset that everyone should have.  Can’t disagree with that but I can see a pathology here:  use social media because it gives us some nice easy to use metrics.  But…those easy to use metrics aren’t actually measuring policy outcomes.  But from the point of view of view of the professional communicator they are vital:

“If you’ve got ten people at a board meeting, ten of them will consider themselves communications experts,” he says. “As a head of communications, having the numbers helps to prove that you’re the expert.

There’s an interesting profile from his period in his previous job here.

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US Withdraws Staff From Afghan Government Media and Information Centre

December 29, 2011

Seasons Greetings to everyone.  A very quick break from the holiday blogging hiatus to flag this story from the Wall Street Journal – The US has withdrawn staff from the Afghan Government Media and Information Centre (GMIC) apparently because they don’t like what it’s communicating – it’s being used by the Afghan government to criticise the US.

The story encapsulates a lot of issues about the role of ISAF in Afghanistan, the desire to build Afghan government capability and the role of government communications and leaves you wondering whether you should laugh or cry.  In the context of counterinsurgency communications capacity is crucial.

I particularly enjoyed the line:  “It’s not supposed to be a propaganda arm of the government,” said a Western official.  Funnily enough the name suggests that precisely what it is supposed to be and why it was set up…*

The WSJ Piece is here and the GMIC is here.  Thanks to @albanyassociate for tweeting the link

 

*of course this all turns on how you define propaganda.