5 Steps to Creating a Public Sector Communications Project

Having turned away from the agency world of “selling shiny things people don’t really need”, eskimosoup find ourselves in a privileged position; we focus on working with clients in the public and voluntary sector who have an idea or opportunity to create something that will help improve the lives of people within the community they serve. Whether it is researching the need for a service, support for a new way of doing things, creating a brand or service, website or fully blown campaign no two pieces are ever the same, however there are steps we take to ensure that whatever we create is fit for purpose.

This article gives a very brief overview of the steps taken to create something that works:

 1. Really understand the purpose.

The rules: don’t forget any stakeholders to save it biting you on the backside later in the process, understand a realistic budget to understand what is possible, agree a definite timescale and that everyone understands who is doing what, agree reporting measures and define what success looks like for us, the client and the end users.

As well as figuring out what you have to do, it is just as important to understand what you or the communications DOES NOT have to do to ensure you aren’t stepping on toes or wasting resource.

Typical timeframe and budget: A thorough meeting can make sure all of this is understood within a couple of hours and then a written action plan back with the client in a couple of days.

The cost is usually included in the overall delivery or as part of a project management retainer at around £400 per day.

 2. Research, research, research!

The rules: do secondary research by scouring the web, talk to people, do lots of reading, see what we can learn from the good, the bad, and the “cosmetically challenged”.

Agree on research methods, such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, online/face-to-face surveys and where possible, secure agreement from the target users to help us co-design the work. Try not to rely on quantitative research only, though for large projects it is good to have this to back you up if your decisions might be challenged in the future.

Typical timeframe and budget: Of course it depends, though on a £10,000 to £20,000 total project; 2 to 4 weeks is realistic and probably represents around 15% of the total budget.

 3. Create and test your proposed approach.

The rules: take all feedback seriously, though be realistic that you cannot incorporate all comments, and come up with something cohesive. Gather feedback from people involved in earlier consultations, plus new ones; it is important to get a mix to reduce bias.

Typical timeframe and budget: Again, it depends on pricing for design ideas, branding and supporting messages can be £1,000 – £3,000 and usually takes one or two weeks to create.

 4. Develop the materials and communications plan.

The rules: do everything and do it well, create something we are proud of to wow the client and then take that into completion. The timing is crucial, it requires a partnership between client and supplier to provide the information and decisions needed to hit the deadline. Many things can be done concurrently, so it’s a great feeling that marketers, designers, developers and everyone else is working to achieve a common goal.

Typical timescale and budget: The timescale will depend on the amount of work, eskimosoup’s core business are projects between £5,000 and £100,000… although we’re up for bigger challenges where appropriate. Where there is a crucial deadline to hit we know we have to pull out the stops to meet it, whatever the hours; we’re pleased to say that clients do recognise and thank us! Budgets for completion at this stage are based on time at £400 to £500 per day.

 5. Finish the job.

The rules: Expect the unexpected; clients often have additional needs that were unforeseeable at the briefing stage so we have to accept that things change and continual improvements are likely to be needed. When the job is done, we must check that success has been achieved and submit our final invoices.

Typical timescale and budget: Projects can creep on past deadline as extra pieces of work come in, it’s important to be accommodating whilst being realistic about what is extra; we find that clients like an open approach and touch wood; it’s not been a problem yet!


We’re happy to share this and other resources with clients and prospective clients who are looking for some help to procure something along these lines so that our objectives are aligned and everyone gets what they want!


John Gilbert
Managing Director

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