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  • Independent Planning Commission NSW – Strategy

The Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) brings a high level of independence, expertise and transparency to statewide determinations.

Seeking to empower the general public in the early stages of the planning assessment process, our communications strategy aids the IPCN and community in forging a mutually beneficial future, together.

Seeking to raise the IPCN’s public profile, explain its role, interact with followers and encourage greater engagement, the Commission sought to build community confidence and trust through a social media and communications strategy.

It just had to rectify misconceptions around its rights, independence and interests first.

To determine the role of social media for the IPCN, we questioned its audience, their values, and what the IPCN could offer. A prominent role in the decision-making of state significant projects meant reach was incredibly varied, with the behavioural habits of Australians in general investigated.

Statistics were indicative of an incredibly connected online community. Expecting immediate digital solutions, demographics craved security, prioritised ease, and had mixed feelings about institutions. An overwhelming amount expressed privacy concerns, with 89% believing in the importance of data privacy and protection.

This research helped identify key values of engagement, opportunity, immediacy, truth and privacy. Embedding these principles into a considered communications strategy, we defined what the IPCN could offer the community; specifically, expertise, engagement and independence.

To connect with audiences on social channels, we placed focus on generating engagement with content they valued, while measuring this content against overall business objectives. Goals of awareness, engagement and positioning were divided into three key tasks – to educate, to facilitate and to uphold.

A bespoke content framework was developed to explain specific activities under the Commission’s identified tasks. Providing insight into the types of content producible for each category, the framework also outlined tangible examples, content production systems and deliverables.

Channels were chosen with community objectives in mind. Facebook communication helps the Commission balance enquiry with fact in an engaging, familiar format. Twitter serves this purpose to a lesser extent, utilising the platform to keep followers informed on topical events and updates. LinkedIn builds the IPCN’s presence on a professional platform, through periodic, yet impactful content.

Though the organisation’s reason for being is essentially linked to negative sentiment, we encouraged the Commission to lean into this role by acknowledging and addressing complaints early on. An escalation process and FAQ guide were collaboratively developed to assist future IPCN staff with community management, providing a variety of responses across a comprehensive series of enquiries.

I’m just reflecting on the creative work of your team, and wanted to say that you all really did a famous job of the presentation in all of the various iterations we went through. Also, the monumental effort to roll it out in such a short timeframe is a credit to your company. Thank you so much for your collective efforts this past couple of weeks.

David McNamara
Director: Key Sites Assessments, Department of Planning and Environment
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