The challenges of 2013

Amid warnings of financial meltdown, deep civil unrest and essential services going by the wayside, 2013 should be an interesting year for local government, to say the least.

For those of us whose role it is to communicate during these turbulent times of change, the challenges will be many and varied.

From my point of view, here’s a few things that will be required in 2013:

Efficiency: The workload’s going to be enormous, no point pretending otherwise, but you are still entitled to swing for anyone who utters the phrase “do more with less”. It can’t be done. Sorry. What we can do is work smartly and efficiently with less, ensuring that work is carefully focused and aligned to corporate priorities.

Resilience: When the budget axe is being swung, comms is in the firing line at the best of times. Proving our worth as corporate storytellers, listeners, creatives and innovators will be a daily challenge, but the smart powers-that-be should realise how essential good comms is to issues such as welfare reform and the public health transition.

Carpe Diem: Ah, the public health transfer. So on top of everything else, we’re now helping people quit smoking, boozing and drugs, upping breastfeeding rates and the rest? Yup – and unless you’re extremely lucky, there’ll be no extra resource to do it. But it must be seen as an opportunity to make a positive impact in an area where effective comms will be of paramount importance in bringing about behavioural change. It’s a big chance to get to the heart of the conversation and make a genuine difference to people’s lives.

Time to think: Inevitable reductions in comms teams may, in turn, see innovation diminish. But keeping tabs on an ever-changing social/digital landscape, spotting fresh opportunities and emerging platforms to engage with a demanding and constantly-connected audience will be vital. Take time out from the daily grind for a spot of creativity, planning and the eating of cake.

And to everyone – have a happy and peaceful New Year.

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