Public sector government communication case studies

The rise of social media has transformed how we communicate with each other and how organisations communicate with their customers and communities. This rapidly changing landscape can be unforgiving to those who play it safe, and, often, government is seen to be lagging behind the private sector.

Communication is a key component of any effective engagement process.  From helping you to broaden participation and reach diverse audiences to ensuring transparency – every engagement strategy needs communication support.  So today we’re providing some communication inspiration - exploring some examples of bold, creative communication campaigns that cut through the clutter.

We caught up with VicRoads Social Media Manager Robert Yang, who has been harnessing the power of Snapchat geofilters to capture 17-25-year olds. Filters are one of Snapchat’s most attractive features, and, with around 40 per cent of under 30's using Snapchat, it was the perfect pairing.

Robert said VicRoads wanted to acknowledge and connect with new drivers when they got their licence.

"We wanted to come up with an idea that both celebrated and engaged (17 – 25-year olds) and didn’t to force them into talking with us in an 'old-fashioned' or 'dorky' way," Robert said.

“There is so much evidence out there now – so it’s hard to argue against being creative and ‘human’ online.  At the same time, you don’t want to be totally aloof and random – you should be online for a reason.
— Robert Yang, VicRoads Social Media Manager

This isn’t the first time VicRoads has trialled creative ideas. The government authority has been incorporating new and innovative approaches to social media for a while now.  Robert said it's all about throwing ideas around and identifying new concepts.

"There is so much evidence out there now – so it's hard to argue against being creative and 'human' online.  At the same time, you don’t want to be totally aloof and random – you should be online for a reason.

"As we're not content generators like UniLad or BuzzFeed, it's important for us to be on our toes, and seek opportunities to explore creative responses. We play off people's comments and have some fun with using trending gifs and memes, to make it humorous and human," Robert said.  

So what are Robert's top tips for being creative online?

  1. Be online for a purpose – don't be random and aloof, have a plan.
  2. Know your audience - how they use each social media platform and what tone and style they connect with.
  3. Use evidence from other organisations and companies to gain internal support for your ideas.
  1. Empower your team to create new ideas and implement them.
  2. Be fun and human when responding to comments.
  3. Keep key messages consistent across social media and traditional channels, but ensure every piece of content is tailored to that particular platform, especially images.

We love these easy-to-action tips from Robert.  They could be applied to any communications campaign, and would be perfect principles to consider when delivering a communications plan to support an engagement process.  When we undertake engagement, we're often striving to reach new and diverse audiences, raise awareness, encourage action and inform participants, and these tips could help you to ensure your approach is dynamic, responsive, tailored and effective.


In addition to the VicRoads example, below are some inspiring campaigns from government and the public sector

Coffee with a cop

A trend that launched in the US is making its way around the world and helping break down the communication barriers between police and everyday citizens. These informal chats over coffee are helping police to connect with citizens’ and understand challenges, concerns and opportunities from the community's perspective.   This concept is now being used across Australia – examples include the  Geraldton police and Victoria Police in the Greater Dandenong region.

NASA creates a personality

In 2008, NASA was one of the first organisations to use twitter to announce large scale news (water on Mars) tweeting from an account which personalised the spacecraft @MarsPhoenix. To this day NASA has some of the best organic engagement (they aren't allowed to use any paid posts) and has turned millions of followers into brand ambassadors.

NSW Police injects humour 

Humorous responses to what is generally a non-humorous topic. Using the latest meme trends and images, the social media team promotes safety messages and captures their audiences' attention, gaining nation-wide recognition for their fun approach.

#AskEddie - a fresh voice 

Southern Rail in the UK surrendered their Twitter account to a 15-year-old work experience student, launching the #AskEddie hashtag and helping to generate a positive conversation, rather than the usual negative comments.

@AskTSA for customer service

The Transport Security Admission (TSA) in America launched a large-scale twitter customer service project. Using tweets to @AskTSA, TSA was able to create an open dialogue with the thousands of daily traveller's, answering questions or concerns within the hour.



Have you seen any exciting communication campaigns lately? Share some examples in the comments section below.


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