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Planning in Corporate Affairs | A PR Planning Case Study

Hello! Welcome to Hanover!

As the suits and the views of the City will have given it away, we work with corporate clients on their corporate affairs.

Our strategy and insights team is very new and very small, but being new means being able to play with the blueprint – and experiment with and create change that could otherwise take years to drive in a more established function.

At Hanover, every one of our strategists is an integrated strategist with a strong data vertical, be it in media and social media intelligence, digital analytics, cultural and future trend forecasting, or the more traditional qualitative and quantitative research methods including polling, interviews and focus group facilitation.

We are marrying up what we call insight and intelligence with imagination – our planning formula, all under one team with a very big job – to unlock critical and creative thinking across the agency.

And this is exactly what the team did for the client case study I will cover today for the Centre for Disaster Protection, or the Centre as we refer to them.

The Centre for Disaster Protection are an independent organisation funded by the FCDO (previously DfID) who exist to ensure disasters do not devastate lives.

They operate at the intersection of finance and climate and development having a wealth of expertise in developing sustainable financial models in times of crisis.

They engage with a suite of stakeholders from the World Bank to national governments and multilateral institutions to create financial instruments and influence policy to ensure countries can sustain and recover from disasters – of any kind from climate catastrophes to genocide.

Our brief was to help them arrive at a strategy and position that would make them more influential in their space, that would not just grant them a seat at the proverbial table but the ability to convene the right voices at the table.

And they weren’t short of challenges.

As an example, a key value they have is impartiality, and to be seen as impartial they encourage their economists to publish their own, often competing views and policy recommendations.

Our key strategic question quickly became:

How can we navigate complex and competing policy propositions to deliver impactful communications with one unified voice?

To answer this, we went back to the Centre’s mission, to ensure disasters do not devastate lives and livelihoods.

At the time that we started working with the Centre they already had a positive disruption positioning.

Our reflection on this positioning was that however positive a disruption remains a disruption and is by its very nature destabilising of the status-quo.

Okey, then when do we embrace disruption/ change? We proposed a hypothesis whereby change is a factor of the urgency or the desire (to change) outweighing the comfort of the (however uncomfortable) status quo.

We effectively applied the theory of Atomic Habits (James Clear) to Disaster Risk Financing.

Our insight then showed that to positively disrupt is to ask people to let go of the comfort of the uncomfortable. We said, what if we were to make the uncomfortable comfortable?

If the Centre can create a feeling of comfort with change, and comfort to challenge to change (internally and externally) in such a way that challenge itself becomes familiar (and by extension comfortable) – then stakeholders will be nudged to embrace the uncomfortable nature of disruption.

They will not only join in a conversation about change but will join in to demand change itself.

Our strategy for the Centre then became an invitation to challenge with courage and curiosity.

And as we work with words this translated into the following:

“We create a containment, a brave space where we turn the tables of comfort upside down. We ask to be challenged, and we make it exciting and entertaining even to challenge.

We are not afraid to upset the status quo or to defy convention – sometimes with playfulness and humour, other times through gravitas, and often both. We use our spark to reimagine the story of the costs of disaster, a new narrative shaped by the dreams and dignity of people who are most vulnerable to the impact of how the world plans and prepares for disasters.

To deliver impactful communications and global policy engagement, we will seek to engage and influence through evidence-led policy and strategic partnership platforms. We will target the bottlenecks key to effect transformative change of the international crisis financing architecture.

We will invest in inclusive dialogue, policy thought leadership and strategic communications that bridges both ‘local to global’ and the humanitarian development climate nexus.”

This then became the platform the Centre speaks from (and engages on). We are measuring this with two key metrics % SOI (share of stakeholder influence) and % SOC (share of stakeholder conversation) – the degree to which we are reaching the right stakeholders, and our message cuts through in the right conversations.

We have conducted a through analysis of the disaster risk financing conversation, analysing over 9 million mentions across media coverage and online conversations, and this very much informed where we landed and the value of their new platform in engaging with stakeholders

Strategy & Insights Director at Hanover Communications


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