How to communicate re-use and write a communication plan

14th July 2016

These guides take the reader through communicating re-use and the process step-by-step to support the delivery of effective communications.

Highlights
How re-use behaviour can be influenced by consumer confidence
Following the communication planning cycle
Branding and messaging from Recycle Now Partners website
No cost, low cost and other campaign activities and evaluation

Video

Introduction

Effective communication with consumers is essential to increase re-use. WRAP research has shown that people do not actively seek information about re-use, and rely instead on what they already know or have done in the past.

Re-use communications need to open minds to the possibilities and maximise opportunities for engagement.

Background

This is probably the most important stage of planning your re-use communications. Background is all about obtaining evidence and establishing the baseline against which you can set an overall aim, a number of objectives and a budget.  For more information refer to How to establish a re-use baseline. 

Start by gathering as much information as you can about re-use.  Review consumer research into what motivates people to re-use and what stops them from doing so. As re-use services vary across the country, ask key questions to build up a picture of re-use locally in terms of operations, demographics and communications.  See the guide for more information.

Situational analysis

This stage is about interpreting the information that has been gathered and putting it into the context of what your organisation needs/wants to do, and importantly, understanding its implications for communicating re-use. 

A Situational Analysis helps to make sense of the overall position and to identify the purpose of your communications in line with strategic objectives.  For more information refer to How to make re-use a strategic priority.

Aims and objectives

The next stage is about setting one overall aim for your campaign and a number objectives, or targets. It is important to establish the overall aim and to set objectives at the start of communications planning, as it is against these targets that you will monitor campaign activities in order to evaluate whether the campaign has been a success. For more information refer to How to write a re-use action plan.

Target audience

This stage is about understanding who to communicate with, which is crucial to achieve your aim and objectives. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a typical re-user, although research has revealed some important information about re-use behaviour.

Branding and message

This stage is about choosing the name and visual appearance of your re-use campaign and the words, imagery and tone of voice you will use to communicate. A recognisable brand will increase the appeal of your re-use communications and build public confidence in what you have to say.

Strategy and communications methods

This stage is about determining the overall approach to your communications by deciding on the most appropriate methods of delivering the message to your target audiences.

Communications methods include: advertising; Public Relations (PR); Direct Marketing (DM); community engagement; online; internal communications; social media and mobile phone technology.

Campaign activities

This step is about determining the activities you want to undertake and Table 4 in the guide outlines those likely to be needed for a re-use communications campaign. The activities you choose will depend on a number of factors including previous experience and successes, human resources and budget.

Planning your activities

This stage is all about co-ordinating your activities so they support and enhance each other, resulting in the delivery of an integrated campaign. A communications plan usually covers, at least, 12 months, although some specific campaign programmes may be shorter than this.

It is important that operations and communications are linked from the outset, so plan your communications activities to dovetail with any relevant operational activity (such as the launch of a new service). Take account of national campaigns (Recycle Week, European Week for Waste Reduction) and link your activities to piggy-back on public and media interest. Ensure your plan anticipates staff and public holidays.

Monitoring and evaluation

The final stage of the process is about making sure you measure your communications activities, so you can evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign against the aim and objectives. Effective monitoring will also help you to identify which individual activities worked well (and which didn’t) so you can deliver a better campaign in the future by refining and improving your strategy.