The internet has changed the way we communicate and consume content. Strategic digital communications meet both audience needs and fulfil business goals.

Taking an audience-centred approach to communications means organisations can connect effectively. This applies to supporters, donors, beneficiaries, service users, campaigners, influencers and decision makers. 

Organisations need to consider the many ways people interact with their content. Integrated communications that are consistent and coherent across channels build trust with audiences. They create meaningful and long-term relationships. Disjointed communications are less effective. They can also have a negative impact on a brand.

Organisations also need to be creative and responsive to stand out. With the constant flood of content, grabbing and holding people’s attention is hard.

Things to think about

  • Are digital communications considered at the beginning of every project?
  • Is your social media based on what teams in your organisation ask you to publish? Or is it created by putting the requests through the lens of what makes external sense?
  • Do you have cross-team communications plans, built around your audiences?
  • Do you have live email journeys for one or more of your audiences?

Communications: five levels of maturity

1. Unspecific

Digital is used as a device to promote non-digital communications.

2. Consultative

Digital advice is sought when judged it’s needed.

3. Inclusive

Digital is involved from the outset in communications planning.

4. Strategic

Communications are designed to be digital by default.

5. Transformational

Digital is used to create adaptable, integrated communications.

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%