When we talk about basics, Inclusive Communications 101 is no different to Communications 101. We shouldn’t put the cart before the horse! In Communications 101 we learn about establishing objective, audience and message. The media we choose, be they traditional, digital or social, are only channels or methods of dissemination.
In our world of perpetual change and increasing media choices, the options are continually multiplying but the underlying basics remain the same!
When we consider our target audiences we divide them up in many different ways. We then select the media channels we believe will have the best reach. Yet audiences are rarely homogenous. Do all within an ‘audience’ have the same ability to use the chosen media?
‘How do people access and receive their information?’
This is often the most forgotten question in communications planning. This is not asking ‘What media are being used?’ Rather it is questioning how your audience physically accesses their chosen media.
Are all able to obtain or use the chosen media and or technology? Can they see or hear your message? Do they have the ability
to understand / comprehend the context or language of your information?
At least one of these issues impact on around 40% of any population. Some people have different cultural contexts. Many will have a sensory or cognitive disability or limitation- such as reduced vision, hearing, comprehension or even concentration. There will also be those with limited English literacy. All will usually be a natural, undefinable, part of most target audiences.
As we select our communications channels and create campaigns, we need to build into them the capacity for all audiences. Options include format and technology alternatives, print visibility and size, sound enhancement, accessible website, captions, use of images, use of language, easy English, translations and more….
Sounds like a hassle? Actually, it shouldn’t be as those who need to utilise these options are also more likely to appreciate your efforts. They may even be more receptive and pick up your message quicker than the ‘mainstream’, who take receiving and understanding your information for granted.
So in summary 101 for Inclusive Communications
* Inclusive communications basics are the same as all
* Once your purpose is clearly established, selecting and
understanding your audiences in critical - who they are
and their current preferred media.
* Remember no audience is ever homogenous, in their ability to
receive information. You need to build options and alternatives
into your overall campaign and chosen media and communications
* Audiences whose ability to receive information is different,
from the so called ‘mainstream’, are more likely not to take
receiving information for granted. Therefor they will tend to be more
appreciative of your efforts. This is good business practice.
Of course this is an opportunity for a blatant plug! I’m happy to provide strategic advice and or training for Inclusive Communications or even develop and implement such programs for you.
To give some ideas, we can give you a fixed price quote for an audit of your communications plan or review of your style guide for inclusive communications. We are particularly keen to quote for work requiring completion between now and January 2014.