Communications strategy, snakes and ladders style

by | Aug 20, 2018

Ever have that feeling when you see something so nifty, and simple that you wish you’d thought of it?

That was me when I saw this very creative communications strategy template from Sarah Yates, Broxtowe Borough Council’s brilliant Corporate Communications Manager.

I love it because it educates non-comms people about the process we go through (no we don’t just pretty things up!), and having it on the wall can help you set expectations for your colleagues about how they can work with you.

Also, it’s a quick guide for new comms colleagues, and anyone who wants to create a communications strategy.

Sarah has really kindly shared the thinking behind it, and you can download the PDF yourself here:

Communicatons strategy: snakes and ladders download

Communications Strategy: When snakes meet comms, by Sarah Yates

Sarah Tidy communications strategy

As a massive ophidiophobe (read: snake scaredy-cat), creating a useful comms tool covered in pictures of them, albeit cartoon ones, wasn’t exactly part of the plan.

It all started when we were developing our new Communications and Engagement Strategy. The strategy is accompanied by a toolkit for staff which gives them useful guidance on getting started with communications, what to think about and what we need as the Communications Team to support them.

As part of the toolkit, we created an ‘Are You Comms Ready’ flowchart to show the steps to take before you reach the Communications Team with a request.

The problem was, it was just another flowchart and if we really wanted people to follow it, we needed to do something different with it.

That’s when we had the idea to make it in to a board game. Me and my colleague Richard banded around just about every board game under the sun but nothing quite fitted.

Being the obsessive I am, I went home that night, did a bit of googling and stumbled on some snakes and ladders themed primary school teacher aids, which seemed like it might work.

Several scribbles and screwed up bits of paper later and I arrived in my Design and Print Officers Office and made my request.

If you ever want to question your own sanity, ask someone to design communications themed game of snakes and ladders. After the initial strange looks, he agreed to come up with something for me and a couple of days later the first draft landed in my inbox and I realised I wasn’t mad – it actually worked.

Fast forward a few months and having had some really positive comments from our Senior Managers and other comms colleagues, the communications strategy was approved, along with the toolkit and game.

It’s too early to tell if it’s going to reduce demand coming in to the Comms Team by forcing people to really think about their comms before they ask us any one of the 15 things comms teams hear every week, or if it will improve the quality of brief given to us but we’re looking at how we can measure this and hope to report back on it next year.

We’re now in the process of planning some staff workshops as part of the rollout. If anyone has a giant snakes and ladders board we can borrow, hit me up…”

Thanks again Sarah – this is a fabulous piece of creative comms.

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Hel Reynolds

Hel Reynolds

Author of this post

Hel is social media trainer and boss of Comms Creatives. She has been working in comms since 2005, and has been brushing up her expertise in social media for brands since the good old days of MySpace. She also draws the Comms Cartoons, and is usually attached to a mug of coffee.

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