Introduction and Overview
UpKurve utilises the 6-step Accelerated Communications Development (ACD) process. The following outlines how ACD is being applied in public service reform in the Nigerian Government:
This step is the foundational and conceptual bedrock of the strategy. If you take 30 steps linearly you will move roughly 30 meters. If you take 30 steps exponentially, you get to a billion meters. All things digital have been and are improving in price-performance exponentially roughly every 18 months. How does this look in reality? A farmer in Anambra State now owns a computer (smart-phone) that is a million times cheaper and smaller, and a thousand times more powerful than a NASA supercomputer in the 1970s. The rate of change over this 45 year period was exponential and shows no sign of slowing down.
As Public Service Reform is by definition about change, the communications strategy will utilise this exponential or ’up-kurve’ factor. Throughout the 5 proceeding steps of the strategy there will be a running theme to utilise the most powerful change tools on the planet: accelerating tech, knowledge, media and ideas.
The up-curve factor will also enable the development agency to pay special attention to reforms in ICT, renewable energy, bio-informatics, big data, ICT in education, artificial intelligence to utilise these exponential technologies with a view to accelerate their programme.
2. Stakeholder-Pitch-Messaging (SPM)
The BPSR communications strategy starts with the essence and beginning of any engagement by seeking to establish the pitch and messaging in relation to stakeholders. A pitch is a way of bringing an idea, reform, business idea into reality. It can consist of the proverbial 30 second elevator pitch or it can be a whole 1 hour presentation to a client with a deal, sign-off, agreement as the intended outcome. A pitcher gets what they pitch for and they are always pitching, whether negatively or positively.
Messaging is the practice of deliberately and consciously conveying a meaning to your audience to evoke a certain understanding.
3. AIM for Reform
BPSR is in the business of ‘selling’ reform to government. It also has a role in stimulating civil society to hold government to account for those promised reforms' There are reforms, such as the National Monitoring & Evaluation Policy Framework, that need to be sold upwards to government bodies such as the Federal Executive Council. There are products such as the Freedom of Information act, that need to be put into the public sphere so that civil society organisation and the public can engage and fully utilise the reform.
An Ascending Iterative Meme (AIM) for Reform Model
The communications strategy will employ an Ascending Iterative Meme or AIM which describes and prescribes a process where a stakeholder is taken through a journey. A journey of first hearing about the reform (entry-point) to buy-in and utilisation of core reform products.
4. Publish for Reform (PR)
The strategy adopts a ‘publish for reform’ or PR approach. The aim of BPSR will be to regularly increase its level of published output. A cost effective and natural way to increase the level of published output will be to further diversify the number of electronic platforms a piece of content is distributed across. An initial target metric for evaluating this will be that one piece of content to go across 10 electronic platforms and as many print media as is affordable and possible including leaflets, a brochure explaining the core business of BPSR, booklets, stickers, posters and books. Moreover, the concept of publishing prolifically online increases impact, reputation, the number of touch-points with stakeholders, and influence.
A pull strategy is where the market/audience/traffic comes to BPSR 24/7 and leverage is created. A push strategy is where you are pushing the market. To create a pull strategy BPSR needs to develop its profile and brand.
There are two central profiles that will continue to be built and should be considered assets and central to a ‘pull-strategy’: The DG and the brand of BPSR.
There are also the profiles of BPSR Directors and staff that will be developed. Profiles and brands become politically valuable assets. So the more agents of reform that build their profiles the more assets are developed to drive reform.
A good gauge of the profile and brand, is to google search ‘DG BPSR Nigeria’, ‘Joe Abah’ or ‘BPSR Nigeria’. The adage permeating the communications strategy and action plan is ‘you are who google says you are’. A high proportion of stakeholders including International donors, government organisations, CSOs, and the public will google search BPSR when considering engagement or completing a deal.
The omni-communications channel approach will be employed to increase the SEO of BPSR brand and thus up the google ‘score-card’. The omni-communications approach is using multiple channels including interalia Linked-in, Instagram, Pininterest, and Google +.
6. BPSR Partnerships (BP)
Having established a growing profile and brand (particularly online), building partnerships is the next step. Leveraging partnerships will amplify BPSR’s impact and will ultimately bring in more budget allocation. Partnerships with the donor community, MDAs leading on reform, the general public will it is anticipated slingshot BPSR forward, driving reform with it. Partnerships are exponentially grown in the social media environment. Partners also become ambassadors of BPSR’s brand and profile. Periodic meetings with editors and journalists will provide opportunity for partnerships to be strengthened. If the pitch is strong, publishing prolific, profile prominent, partnerships will more easily be made and strengthen the brand and opportunities for BPSR including support from the private sector.