How to integrate your message, audience and channel

Ragan Consulting chief emphasizes three keys: planning, planning, planning.

Ragan Consulting chief emphasizes three keys: planning, planning, planning

In the summer of 2007, the Kansas Department of Labor was wading its way through a project that it had given the (unfortunate) name of Unemployment Insurance Modernization, or UIM.

“Basically, they had a 30-year-old mainframe computer system and it wasn’t working any longer—laws had changed, technology had changed, and they needed to create a whole new system,” Jim Ylisela, president of Ragan Consulting, said at Ragan’s Corporate Communications in a Web 2.0 World conference.

So the leaders of the agency decided that while they were creating a computer system, they’d reorganize the agency to take advantage of the new technology—“and everyone in the place was freaked out about their jobs,” Ylisela said. “That’s when we came in to help with communication.”

The problem was that the Department of Labor had almost nothing already in place: no communication plan, a minimal online presence, one PDF update that was e-mailed to employees, limited project updates sent to employees and minimal two-way communication. Moreover, the communications team was not fully staffed.

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