Working in the world of local area research I am always keen to see how the national picture is looking in comparison to local findings. The most recent data from the LGA’s national poll shows council satisfaction, value for money, and informed ratings are at an all-time low – current satisfaction standing at 60%, value for money at 44%, and informed ratings at 58%.
All these factors are closely linked, as countless studies have shown over the years – those who feel well informed are significantly more satisfied with their council services. So even if the messages you are communicating are not always positive – the inevitable plans to change services – if you are communicating effectively via the right channels, residents can still have high satisfaction and feel they receive value for money.
These latest LGA results have made me ponder whether local government is keeping up with the changing nature of how we access information and news. These results come at a time when, according to Edelman’s trust barometer, a fifth of us are apparently switching off from news altogether. Those most likely to be switching off are Londoners, senior executives, parents and those who are post-grad educated. The top reason for turning off is – the news is too depressing - Brexit, homelessness, single-use plastics, destruction of the natural world, war zones etc - sound familiar?
So how do we get on the front foot again? One of the first questions we need to ask is – do I understand how people in my local area access news? Are the channels, messages and messengers I am using resonating with my audiences and if not - what will? Are we using the channels we have in the most optimum way – especially when it comes to digital?
Often the problem can be due basing decisions on assumptions or out of date information, the first step in reconnecting with your audience is through conducting practical media consumption research to guide and tailor your communications strategy and evaluation based on local insight. By understanding how your residents access information, you can reach out to them more effectively to improve the success of your positive behaviour change campaigns and strategic communications.
If this kind of stuff floats your boat then come along to our upcoming ideas exchange – Insight over Assumption –where we will be sharing insight on media consumption and trust.