An issue arises in your community so you and other like-minded people spontaneously gather in hopes of quickly influencing the direction you feel the issue should take. It impacts you deeply and you have a lot to say on the matter. But to whom? And how?
There’s a lot of work that goes into a grassroots movement and a significant part of the work is communicating effectively with your main audiences to gather support and understanding for the change you wish to effect. To do this, you must be able to determine your target audiences and the specific messages each need for awareness, urgency, actions to take, and updates to build the coalition and keep all supporters on track. This is where a skilled PR agency provides appropriate and quick preparation, implementation and reinforcement of communications strategies to help your change initiative get noticed.
Dooley Communications met with Winnipeg-based Physicians For The Future when the group of doctors leading that group contacted us for advice on their urgent need to reverse a decision from their governing body. Many Manitoba physicians felt the Statement 190 directive was unclear in its objectives, definitions and potentially dangerous for patients and physicians. The doctors involved also wanted to be consulted before new policies were introduced that would impact their work balance and safety of patients.
After quickly getting to know the complex issue and doing additional research on the stakeholders involved, Dooley Communications developed key messages to target other physicians and clearly explain the issue in a way that would catch their attention and gain further support. To this primary audience, we explained how Statement 190 would impact the profession and provided opportunities for feedback. For the secondary targets – the governing organizations – issue identification and clear expectations were communicated in an effort to achieve short-term and long-term change.
Several platforms were used to deliver messages to the appropriate audiences – some direct to the audiences such as letters to the governing bodies that could impact the decision, and some indirect such as providing media interviews to broaden the audience on the subject and ensure the smaller grassroots organization’s voice was heard.
We drafted news releases, helped our spokespeople with practice Q&As, contacted reporters and coordinated interviews. We also helped craft an opinion piece for the Winnipeg Free Press, which gave our clients the opportunity to tell their story unfiltered.
In addition, Dooley Communications enhanced the credibility of the grassroots organization by developing a brand with brochure, website (www.physiciansforthefuture.ca), professional banner for physician conferences, and coordinated a survey. All of this was provided to build awareness of the issue among physicians, to reinforce why the changes were needed and recognize current wins of Physicians For The Future.
We’re happy to report that within a few weeks of sustained pressure and publicity, the governing body stalled the initial decision and included members of Physicians For The Future in a working group committee to ensure front line providers had input into changes that would impact their patients and their work. Physicians For The Future gained support of more physicians and the public and continues to provide ongoing communications on the issues and resolution.
Providing the right communication to the right audiences in an effective, timely way is key to to building a grassroots voice that can’t be ignored. Sometimes just the act of getting your communications organized and active will move the needle of public opinion. The Physicians for the Future campaign is a prime example of how to reach audiences and promote change quickly using devoted PR strategies.
Here is some of the media coverage we helped generate for our clients.