Audiences will come across an organisation’s content and messages in a wide variety of settings, platforms and channels. Conflicting calls-to-action or unclear supporter journeys across different digital channels can be confusing. By contrast, integrated communications that are consistent and coherent across channels build trust, and help create meaningful long-term relationships between audiences and organisations.

It’s important to think about digital channels and audience journeys at the beginning of every project. For example, when planning a report about a research project, teams also need to think about how they will promote it to their target audience. Then they also need to consider what technology, skills and investment might be needed to bring that audience journey to life.

In a sea of digital content, grabbing and holding people’s attention is hard. Organisations need to be creative and responsive to stand out. That’s where testing comes in: it helps organisations find messages that speak to audiences where they are, in language that’s right for them, at a level that’s appropriate for their relationship with that organisation.

Things to think about

  • Are digital experts or digital channel managers involved at the beginning and at the planning stage of every project?
  • Do you develop project and creative ideas first, then think about channels the content is going to be distributed through?
  • Do you plan long-term audience journeys around your products?
  • Do you optimise your existing journeys?

Communications: five levels of maturity

1. Unspecific

Digital is used to mainly broadcast to audiences the priorities of different teams in the organisation.

2. Consultative

Digital (technology) advice is sought by non-digital staff, when judged it’s needed.

3. Inclusive

Digital insights are used from the outset in communications and audience journey planning.

4. Strategic

Communications are designed to be digital by default. Audience journeys are planned by multi-skilled cross-organisation teams.

5. Transformational

Digital is used to create engagement opportunities which are continuously optimised to achieve best conversion into long term engagement.

Average score

Overall, for this competency, organisations average out at level 2.8.

Scores by year

These graphs show the average scores for this competency over the last few years, expressed as a percentage.

  • 2020 58% 58%
  • 2019 52% 52%
  • 2018 46% 46%
  • 2017 42% 42%
  • 2016 44% 44%