Strategic communications at a time
of heightened uncertainty
At the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, no one could have anticipated the degree of organisational change and communication that would be required of businesses.
Melbourne Polytechnic, a vocational education and higher education institute in Melbourne, is one of many such businesses which experienced an unprecedented shift in the way their services were delivered.
Icon Reputation was engaged to act as the institute’s corporate communications department, advising them over a 12-month period throughout the peak of the pandemic.
We worked as part of a network team within the institute, developing strategy, messaging and coordinating efforts, as well as implementing communications and acting as a media liaison. Communications covered internal and external stakeholders, from students and staff to suppliers and ministers.
This enabled Melbourne Polytechnic to display strong and effective leadership, ensure their campuses remained safe, and effectively react to government guidelines that were at times changing by the hour.
A trusted partner with actionable advice
Icon Reputation worked as part of a network of teams, comprising key Melbourne Polytechnic staff and leadership.
Our job was to lead in developing strategy, messaging and coordinating efforts, implementing communications and pivoting the approach as quickly as restrictions shifted.
Part of the brief was to provide counsel and recommendations. But what Melbourne Polytechnic really needed was a partner that would be able to take a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the situation across stakeholder needs and potential reputational issues.
We evaluated our approach at key moments during the campaign and received feedback to continuously improve our communications throughout. One example was our approach to video content; it received high engagement in the early stages of the pandemic as staff were working remotely for the first time then dropped off after several months. We then made the switch to written content to suit the consumption trends of our target audience.
Icon Reputation’s approach was underpinned by the following strategic principles:
Be prepared – plan as much as possible for different scenarios
Be timely – communicate at times when audiences are most responsive or have greatest need for information
Be accurate – COVID-19 has created a fast changing landscape, need to ensure information is correct and avoid conjecture wherever possible
Be succinct – ensure information is easy-to-understand amidst panic or confusion
Be present – communicate regularly to demonstrate leadership and provide support.
Video and content