Soil in the spotlight

Nature

Soil in the spotlight

The Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils
(Soil CRC) aims to give farmers the knowledge and tools they need to increase
the productivity of their soils, and in turn increase the profitability of
Australian agriculture. It has 40 participant organisations including 20 farmer
groups.

Challenge

In 2020, in its fourth year and with research results
starting to emerge, the Soil CRC came to Currie to develop a new three-year
communications and engagement strategy.

Solution

To develop the strategy, Currie first reviewed the Soil
CRC’s communications activities and channels, and assessed progress towards its
communications performance metrics. We then conducted an online survey of Soil
CRC participants to explore five key areas (satisfaction, expectations,
preferences, sources, barriers). A benchmark net promoter score was also
generated.

Working with an internal reference group, we used the
results of the review and survey to develop a communication and engagement
strategy aligned to the Soil CRC’s strategic plan.

This included a three-pronged strategic approach supported
by goals, objectives, principles, key messages and recommended tools, tactics
and key performance indicators. An implementation plan was also developed to
guide delivery.

A critical part of strategy development was mapping and
segmentation of the CRC’s complex array of stakeholders. Using an approach
based on the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)
spectrum, we organised stakeholders in accordance with five levels of
engagement(Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, Empower) to articulate the
level of engagement the Soil CRC will undertake with each. This in turn will
guide selection of appropriate channels and prioritise effort.

Results

The strategy was approved by the Board and the action plan
will be implemented in 2020-21.

“Thanks so much for all your work. It was exactly as I
hoped, that we would get fresh eyes, opinions and expertise on our
communications. It will make a difference to how we plan and execute our
communications and engagement activities.”
– Katherine Seddon,
Communications Manager, Soil CRC (August 2020)