IGCF Manager discusses 6 pillars on communications strategy

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SHARJAH, 21st August, 2021 – Ahead of the 10th edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) scheduled to be held on 26th and 27th September, 2021, in Sharjah, Jawaher Al Naqbi, Manager of the International Government Communication Centre, has emphasised that a credible communications strategy based on transparency and trust between governments and the public is vital for the success of government bodies and institutions while adding that new and emerging communication technologies could spur a wave of disinformation that undermines trust and amplifies fears.
Al Naqbi pointed out that at the heart of effective government communications are six key pillars that pave the way for establishing an agile, impactful, and human-centric strategy.
Importance of study and assessment

The IGCC Manager said the first pillar for successful communication is the adoption of scientifically-backed methodologies and strategies to increase both, the effectiveness and reach of the message. She also highlighted the fact that relying on in-depth research and studies that assess the public’s mood, needs, ambitions, demographics, and education levels, are vital to delivering a robust communications programme.
Given the abundance of communication channels and information sources, Al Naqbi pointed to the importance of choosing the right medium to reach the target audience. She explained that for instance, communication targeting youth and young adults would need to utilise social media and other digital platforms rather than the print medium.
She also urged government communication teams to leverage the potential of the rapidly evolving communication landscape and ensure the presence and active engagement of government spokespersons on emerging media platforms to translate their vision and policies into effective day-to-day practices.
The third pillar underscored the importance of using scientific tools to analyse public opinion and mood. She explained that addressing the public without being sensitive to their needs and expectations will only yield null results. For a message to have an impact, it is essential to be delivered in a well-coordinated and timely manner to resonate with the needs of the public.
Successful communication strategies call for the inclusion of specialists and experts in humanities, behavioural, economic and social sciences, and data analysts, on government communication teams, she added.
Al Naqbi pointed out that the fourth pillar of effective communication calls for a direct engagement between public entities and civil society institutions that represent diverse community segments.
Establishing a strong relationship with civil society institutions is key to activating a successful partnership with the community. It is also instrumental in helping create a positive view about government bodies and their practices, she added.
Quoting the oft-repeated maxim that “Trust is hard to gain but easy to lose”, Al Naqbi explained that “trust” formed a central pillar in the success of any government communication.
Building trust in government communication teams should run parallel with the act of boosting the public image of both the state and society, she said. Erosion of trust will impact the relationship between governments and communities and widen gaps in effective communication with the public, especially during a crisis.
Al Naqbi cited the role of the media as the sixth pillar of an effective communications strategy. Governments must aim for a positive relationship with the media to better communicate with the public and build legitimacy for their decisions, she explained.
Al Naqbi emphasised that in the UAE, the media had positioned itself as a development partner to government institutions since the founding of the country, and has played a significant role in supporting the country’s vision and strategies.
Al Naqbi called on the private and public sector, media, and those interested in government communications to attend the forum organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), under the theme, “Historic lessons, Future ambitions” at Expo Centre Sharjah.

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