Groundbreaking Australian research into government comms goes global

ANU and Canberra communication firm “contentgroup” project selected as the best abstract for international conference on ASEAN public relations

Leading-edge research, set to overhaul the way governments communicate with citizens, is set to be unveiled at this week’s ASEAN PR summit in Bali. The conference will be attended by leaders from the Asia-Pacific region’s governing bodies, to promote partnerships for economic development and social progress.

Working in partnership with the Australian National University, Canberra communication agency contentgroup has devised a flexible and agile method for governments around the world to effectively reach their population in the digital era.

“Effective communication with citizens is essential to realise the benefits of government initiatives,” contentgroup CEO, David Pembroke said. “But we know there are challenges in keeping up with technology; cutting through increasing online noise and delivering an often complex message to the right audience. It’s these challenges we are addressing, creating a strong framework that can be easily implemented anywhere in the world.”

“The selection of our work to be presented at the conference confirms the urgent need to review how governments are communicating to citizens, and adapt their communication to the digital age.”

Qualitative research undertaken alongside the Australian National University saw 17 interviews conducted to inform the research platform, with the communication strategy also informed by best practice across the communication field. The resulting framework creates a straight forward method for initiating, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive communication strategy in a government context.

“We received a lot of encouragement about our framework from the communication practitioners we interviewed in the process. These people are experienced communication consultants; and senior communication team leaders at various levels of the Australian, UK and Vienna governments. They all viewed our framework as a critical way forward to introduce the rigor, evidence base and consistency into the government communication practices. They also see the potential of using this framework as a training resource to support their teams’ capability development,” lead researcher Dr. Ying-Yi Chih from the ANU College of Business and Economics added. 

“Previously, governments had the power and authority to compel people to listen, but technology now means citizens control the information they receive, when they receive it and on which device,” Mr Pembroke said. “So, a whole new approach is now needed and by working with the ANU we believe we’re on the way there.”

“We understand the complex, multifaceted issues government face – we’ve seen them first hand working with the Australian Government. We know just how important this project is on a global level, and look forward to telling the world about it,” Mr Pembroke concluded.

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