Communication diagnosis: step by step

The first step of an effective action plan is the elaboration of a communication diagnosis. Este análisis es fundamental para obtener información del entorno donde se llevará a cabo la intervención comunicativa.

This process requires a specific amount of time, the length of which varies depending on the complexity and number of objectives set out in the communication plan. It is very important to focus the team’s efforts on making a clear and complete diagnosis. This will allow the subsequent design of more assertive tactical strategies and actions.

An analysis of the context should include at least the following elements:

  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Areas of opportunity regarding communication
  • Information gaps
  • Identification of opinion leaders
  • Media channels
  • Target audience

In this article we share essential keys to prepare a diagnosis and provide you with examples of the ADAPTUR project.

Co-created diagnosis are extremely successful.

Stakeholder mapping

Stakeholder mapping is a technique used to identify key stakeholders within a system. It helps in analyzing their interests, their relevance and influence over the results of a communicative intervention.

In other words, it is a characterization that will provide key elements for the detection of tones, channels and messages, as well as the relationship between these elements. It is essential in the design and implementation of any project, and at the time of negotiating or building the action plan.

In the experience of ADAPTUR, the most relevant characteristics to consider when communicating with the tourism sector are the following:

  • This sector is constantly growing, highly organized in chambers and associations, with a long-term vision.
  • Interested in preserving natural capital as a primary source of business.
  • Willing to innovate.

To make an effective stakeholder mapping, we share the following template:

Areas of communication opportunity

The areas of opportunity are aspects within the setting that make the implementation of communication actions easier. For example: interest of key actors in the subject, previously-formed networks, leaders that are aware of the phenomenon, among others.

In the case of ADAPTUR, the following were identified:

  • Facilitate businespeople’s understanding of the subject by generating a common knowledge base.
  • Promote access to reliable information that describes the relevance of investing in specific ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) measures.
  • Motivate the undertaking of high-impact actions from within their economic activity, as well as inspire other businespeople to join the project.
  • Integrate a working group in which businespeople can collaborate and determine strategic messages, means and actions.
  • Address the issue from the cost-effectiveness perspective.
  • Emphasize the repercussions in the medium and long term.
  • Spread the notion that investing in adaptation is cheaper than dealing with the results of climatic disasters.
  • Disseminate the idea that the tourism sector lives off the landscape and the environmental services provided by nature.
  • Highlight good practices as inspiring examples.

Information gaps

This process allows for the identification of information that the target audiences lack. This analysis makes it possible to create messages that can sensitize them and promote the desired change in attitude.

Examples of information gaps in the case of ADAPTUR are: ignorance of the white coral syndrome that affects reefs; of the ecosystem value of dunes or mangroves for the protection of tourist infrastructure, or the function of a basin in the collection of water to provide a destination with this vital liquid.

Identification of opinion leaders

It is important to identify influencers who can act as spokespersons for the project’s messages and help promote them. For example: local governments, business organizations, academics or civil society organizations.

Opinion leaders should be people who have credibility and/or recognition within the setting in which the project will operate.

ADAPTUR detected that peer communication is very powerful. Therefore, it is recommended that the same strategic actors who have already implemented measures, share, and communicate their experiences, publicizing the benefits they obtained.

Media and communication channels

Each target audience is informed differently, using various sources that correspond with their characteristics (age, interests, social stratum, means at their disposal, among others).

From ADAPTUR’s experience, the identification and capacity-building efforts with well-known journalists, communicators and media within a region helps the acquisition of key messages, both at the national and regional levels.

In similar initiatives, it is advisable to continue working closely with the media. In the first instance: brief them on the subject, and then turn them into strategic allies in the promotion and dissemination of the actions that the project undertakes.

Target audience

This characterization is essential for assertive communication. Knowing your audience provides the elements to build meaningful messages that resonate with them and make them into an active audience. Therefore, it is important to have basic information regarding the audience, such as: gender, age, socioeconomic situation, political affiliation, level of education, habits, etc.

You can ask the target audience questions: how do you make decisions? Where do you get your information? What do you know about the subject? What is your perception of this issue and how do you relate to it? Who do you trust?

There are different methodologies for carrying out a characterization of the target audience. The choice depends on the level of depth, time, and resources available. Some examples are: representations that can be carried out through surveys and/or personal interviews, KAP analysis (knowledge, attitudes and practices), workshops or focus groups.

The more you know the audience you want to speak to, the more tactical and assertive elements you will have in order to create efficient communication with them.

In the specific case of ADAPTUR, the identified target audiences are:

  • Decision makers
  • Tourist entrepreneurs
  • Journalists
  • Public administration
  • Women and men ABC+
  • People interested in business, environment, public policies, public administration and tourism.