Communication Strategey

ITRACT – Improving Transport and Accessibility through new Communication Technologies

Aim of this document: to demonstrate that the “ITRACT” communication strategy will support the project through the effective use of communication resources and tools, both in external and internal communication.

1. INTRODUCTION

Strategic and operational challenges

The project “ITRACT” will assemble expert knowledge for the development and piloting of new technologies to improve transport and accessibility of remote areas throughout the North Sea Region. By doing so, “ITRACT” will strengthen the economic growth and the competitiveness of the regions and thus make a substantial  contribution to the Lisbon Agenda, in terms of creating a dynamic, knowledge-based EU economy. The project is going to contribute to technological innovation by applying user- and environmental-friendly modes of transport, and developing innovative capacity in private and public organizations. The project contributes to the TEN-T Green Paper on transport and infrastructure as well as to the “Action Plan for the Deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Europe” and raises awareness for the importance of intelligent transport management and the use of ICTs and their diverse applications to enhance the mobility and employability of residents of rural and remote areas. It will build links between rural and urban areas in order to utilise use the combined economic potential and strengthen regional integration. To be successful in its strategy to present tangible outputs at the end of the project, “ITRACT” is based on cross-sectoral engagement of diverse stakeholders throughout the participating regions. Next to the development and implementation of new technologies, the active involvement of these stakeholders, is a central element in the “ITRACT” project and in its communication strategy.

Partnership and communication strategy

The partners of the “ITRACT” project combine their knowledge and expertise in order to tackle the common challenges of creating efficient and user- and environmental modes of transport throughout the regions on a large scale. Co-operation within a transnational partnership will be more effective and more innovative than co-operation only at the local or regional level. Transnational co-operation will also contribute to the transferability of the project outputs, i.e. through the piloting of the developed tools in all participating regions, networks and through sharing instruments and methods contributing to more efficient and comfortable modes of transport to enhance the accessibility of remote areas, interconnectivity of cross-border regions, and innovation capacity of all participating regions.

 

2. AIM OF THE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

The “ITRACT” communication strategy includes both internal communication within the transnational partner consortium and external communication with stakeholders outside the project and a wider regional, national and European public.

By means of an internal communication plan we want to make sure that the communication between the “ITRACT” project partners will run smoothly and always up-to-date. This will be ensured by an internal partner communication platform, where all relevant management information can be found and documents on the progress of the project can be uploaded. Regular communication between partners will be done by e-mail, tele-conferences, skype and video streaming. To ensure easy access to communication within the project, we will make use of social media and network groups. An international LinkedIn discussion group will be created with English as main language to attract professionals from other parts of Europe and the world. The project will also open a facebook profile in each partner language to make communication smoother with local audiences. The University of Stavanger, who is responsible for wp 2, has a site on iTunesU for publishing lecture series and will establish a project album there for a wider public.

 

The external communication refers to the communication with external target audiences. Within the external communication we define three different plans, each one with a different aim:

•               Dissemination plan: the partners of the project want to inform target audiences about the project’s activities and the specific objectives for the regions, in order to create agreement on transport and accessibility plans on a broad scale within the regions and to invite a diversity of target groups to follow the project’s achievements from a close distance. 

•               Plan for active involvement of residents: the partners of the project want to involve inhabitants and SMEs of remote areas to take part in pilot actions and training activities. Next to being present on facebook, this can be achieved by organising regional meetings and network activities where the local and regional population is invited.

•               Visibility plan: the visibility plan will contribute to the visual identity of the “ITRACT” project and will support the dissemination plan and the active involvement plan. It will also contribute to a broader information and acceptance of ERDF projects as such and are more positive association with the project.

 

 

3. TARGET AUDIENCES

 

Board/Committee-oriented

EU - wide

•               European Commission - DG Regio

•               European Commission - DG Transport and Mobility, DG Information Society and Media, DG Enterprise and Industry, DG Research and DG Environment

 

•               Committee of Regions: the aim of the “ITRACT” project is entirely in line with the most recent conference of the Committee of the Regions on transport issues “Strengthening Innovation and Efficiency through the further Integration of Transport modes” on 30th March 2010. Innovation and Efficiency are also key issues in the Transport White Paper of the European Commission on the European Transport Policy. Therefore, the Committee of Regions is considered as a key target audience.

•               Eurostat: The project activities will contribute to the availability of better statistics and benchmarks in the field of transport and accessibility of regions related to mobility and employability and the use of ICTs.

•               Other Interreg IV North Sea Region-projects and other EU projects working on related topics, e.g. like the mobility programmes in “Cradle to Cradle” or the development of e-services for citizens, “Smart Cities”, regional projects like “DITA – Dales Integrated Transport Alliance”.

 

The following “umbrella organisations” will also be considered as important target groups, as they will enable the transfer of aims, concrete outcomes and recommendations of the “ITRACT” project beyond the project partnership:

 

•               Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)

•               European Confederation of Intermediary Local Authorities (ECILA)

•               European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN)

 

 

National

 

•               Policy makers

•               Ministries of Transport

•               Ministries of Spatial Development

•               Ministries of Environment

•               Ministries of Economy / Industry

•               Ministries of Labour

•               National policy units and agencies active in the field of Environment, Transport, Traffic management and Innovation

 

 

Regional

 

•               Universities, higher education institutions and/or research institutions active in the field of technology innovation and socio-economic and spatial development

•               SMEs and/or employers organisations

•               Chambers of Commerce (acting as multipliers and links between the project and businesses)

•               Regional organisations

•               Local municipalities: policy makers and administration

•               Citizens, in particular residents of remote areas

•               The project partners

Passenger-oriented

Criteria (e.g. age, sex, income, …. Sinus-criteria)

Resulting clusters based e.g. on sinus-milieus

AIDA(S)-corresponding stati (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, Service)

Statistical Overview of the Target - Clusters

4. OPERATIONAL TOOLS

In this part we explain how we will carry out the external and internal communication within the “ITRACT” project.

 

4.1. External communication

The external communication consists of three plans, 1. to inform our target audiences (see dissemination plan – 4.1.1.), 2. active involvement of stakeholders (involvement plan - 4.1.2.) and to guarantee the visual identity of the “ITRACT” project (visibility plan – 4.1.3.). Here we want to state per objective the communication tools that will be used, the messages that will be communicated and the target audiences that we want to reach.

 

4.1.1. Dissemination plan - objective and messages of the dissemination plan[r1] 

To inform target audiences about the project’s activities and the specific objectives for the regions, in order to create a discussion forum on transport and accessibility plans on a broad scale within the regions and to invite a diversity of target groups to follow the project’s achievements from a close distance

Criteria

 

In the implementation of the dissemination plan, specific emphasis will be placed on

- the accessibility to information for a wide audience (this will imply the multilingual character of some communication resources, in the special case of East-Groningen and East-Friesland we plan to use the regional dialect which is spoken on both sides of the border)

- the quality of the communication tools used.

 

Communication tools

a) meetings and events

A programme of meetings will be made up by the LB, in agreement with the partners. Meetings will be held within the partner regions

The most important meetings for external communication are the “ITRACT” transnational workshops, the mid-term conference, and the final conference. In particular the latter will function as an important dissemination instrument.

Final Conference

We plan an interactive international Conference with a wider European audience at the end of the project as a showcase of the concrete outcomes of the “ITRACT” project. This conference will be interactive and mobile to demonstrate the achievements of the project as best practice. It will serve as a platform to export the generated knowledge and innovative technologies beyond the project partnership and to inform a broad audience about the key findings, recommendations, and concrete outcomes of the project. With this method we will enable organizations and policymakers of other European regions to take the key achievements and recommendations of the “ITRACT” project into consideration in their future policies.

The final conference will bring together the broadest audience possible and be targeted to all target groups at EU, national and regional level defined in this communication strategy under “target audiences” (see above).

Transnational workshops and mid-term conference

The regular transnational workshops and the mid-term conference of the project will focus on the involvement of key stakeholders from the participating regions and thus be important instruments of the “involvement plan”. Apart from that, they will contribute to the continuous dissemination of project achievements, local and regional activities, pilot actions and best practices and, therefore ensure the awareness of the project in other North Sea Regions.

 

b) Newsletters

High quality colour newsletters will be produced in English every six months during the course of the project. They will be used to inform target groups about the project activities and challenges right at the beginning of the project, and regularly about its achievements, pilot activities and best practices in the partners’ regions during the continuation of the project. The newsletter will be made available on the website and in printed version; and will be targeted to audiences at the regional, national and EU-level, with a particular focus on the partners’ regional networks, other regions in the North Sea Region and its European umbrella organisations.

 

c) Brochures

The “ITRACT” project partnership will also publish brochures for distribution at workshops and conferences attended by external stakeholders. The brochures will be of high quality in order to attract the attention of the target audiences and to promote the “ITRACT” project and its aims and activities on a large scale. The brochures y will be targeted to the people present at the transnational workshops and the conferences, i.e. project partners and key stakeholders from the partner regions; representatives from other and regions; and other interested organisations at national and EU-level.

 

d) Media attraction

The transnational partner consortium will carry out its own media communication, each partner to her/his local/regional or national network of policy makers, officials, universities and SMEs. Local and regional radio- or tv stations are as important media in taking forward the key messages and outcomes of the “ITRACT” project as the local and regional press. The main media communications will be conducted by the University of Stavanger as wp 2 leader in close interaction with the LB, and of course with inputs from the other partners. It will be targeted to a broad range of actors at the EU, national and regional level. They will especially be used to communicate achievements and recommendations of the project in terms of new technologies and pilot actions in the home and the partner regions. For the purposes of documentation, the LB will maintain an archive of press clippings referring to the project.  All the partners will maintain their own local files and will forward copies of any relevant press materials to the LB. This will provide a record of the interest that has been generated across Europe and can be a useful tool to promote the interest and involvement of new actors in the “ITRACT” project.

 

e) Website

One of the main dissemination tools will be the project Web site, which will be used to (a) promote the project; (b) communicate about the project aims, activities, pilots and achievements and about best practices and concrete outcomes; (c) to promote the “ITRACT” transnational workshops, meetings and conferences (d) to distribute documents, both within the partnership as to other interested people and public and private organizations.

The website will be designed to attract the stakeholders identified under “target audiences” within the North Sea Region and wider Europe.

 

f) Networking activities

Networking activities will mainly be used to enable the involvement of all triple helix partners in the project (see point 4.1.2, involvement plan), but they will also serve as a platform to inform people about the “ITRACT” project. Therefore, the project will be represented at appropriate events (e.g. seminars, workshops, conferences related to new technologies, transport and accessibility) organised by other, related projects or umbrella organizations in order to ensure that a wider audience will be informed about the project aims, activities, and achievements.  The social networks like facebook, of course play a major role in this.  A facebook profile of the project will be generated and used on local/regional level in the national language to ensure communication with the regional stakeholders. It will be also a platform for transnational co-operation as it allows users to communicate with each other cross-border and cross-sectoral wise.

 

 

4.1.2. Involvement plan – Objectives

To actively involve stakeholders within the partner regions we plan a number of regional network meetings in each region. These will include residents and SMEs of remote areas, as they form an important target group for our pilot activities. By directly involving the target groups for which the tools for new transport modes will be developed, we create not only effective test beds, but also an important base of support for the further implementation of the project’s outcomes, i.e. ICT-based modes of transport and accessibility. The involvement plan is an essential part of the communication strategy and of major importance for the impact and the transferability of the outcomes of the “ITRACT” project.

 

 

4.2. Internal communication

Objective

Internal communication refers to the communication streams between the project partners and is mainly aimed at monitoring the strategic aims of the project and the operational tasks of each project partner. 

 

 

Communication tools

 

a) partner communication platform (intranet)

Right from the start of the project a partner communication platform (intranet) will be introduced to all project partners to serve as major communication tool within the partners consortium. The platform will be used next to the public website and involve login codes for internal use. It will allow the storage of documents, e.g. for reporting, further project planning, planning of meetings and conferences, general information and latest news.

b) internal meetings

Kick off meeting

The kick-off meeting will be held at the start of the project and will play an important role in the internal communication with the partnership, as the management plan will be implemented, the specific roles of the partners and the outcomes of the work packages discussed in detail. It will bring together representatives of the overall partnership of the “ITRACT” project  and form an important common starting point for the transnational activities of the project. Each partner will affirm her/his commitment to the objectives of the project and to the benefits of working together through and in partnership with the Interreg IV B Programme North Sea. The kick-off meeting will also be the occasion for the first meeting of the work package leaders and the election of the steering committee members

Steering Committee

The steering committee will bring together representatives of the overall project partnership Its tasks is to monitor the progress of the project against clearly defined milestones and to take decisions concerning the project progress and achievements.

 

 

Communication tools

Internet, Website, Social-Media, Channels, Newsletter

Media-Attraction (press-related communication-work[r2] )

Markets, Exposition and Faires

Meetings and events

Transnational workshops

During the lifetime of the project, transnational workshops will take place twice a year. To avoid further extra traveling of the partners, these workshops will be combined with steering committee meetings and/or work package leader meetings. Next to the members of the partner consortium, the transnational workshops will involve stakeholders and/or experts from the wider partners’ networks who do not participate in the project, but who can bring in specific expertise, which contributes in a substantial way to the project objectives. In these workshops the progress of the project will be presented and discussed, challenges formulated and problems solved by the exchange of ideas and expert knowledge. They are the platform for knowledge transfer on a transnational base and will serve as discussion forum for the major achievements of the project.

 

Conferences – Midterm / Final

Conferences are big events attended by over a 100 people around a chosen topic, in the case of the “ITRACT“ project, these topics will be new technologies and their use to improve transport and accessibility and to enhance the competitiveness of the regions. As we are planning to start the project with the building of a pilot installation followed by conducting pilots in every region, we will organise a mid-term conference in order to present first results and discuss those with stakeholders from the triple helix network: businesses and their respective umbrella organisations, transport companies, municipalities, and knowledge institutions. National policy makers and policy units/agencies active in the field of transport, environment, economy and innovation will be invited as well as project partners from related EU projects e.g. Smart Cities, DC Noise) Overall aim of the midterm conference will be to present first outcomes and gather and exchange expert knowledge to contribute to the further development and co-operation in the project process. The final conference will be a bigger international, interactive and mobile conference in which the final outcomes of the project will be presented, tested and experienced by key stakeholders from across the North Sea Region and wider Europe. The direct involvement of European, national and regional policy makers and diverse other stakeholders will lead to an increased impact, effectiveness, and transferability of the project outputs.

 

Kick-off meeting

The kick-off meeting, will function as a dissemination tool, just like the final conference, but will also play an important role in the internal communication with the partnership, as the management plan will be implemented, the specific roles of the partners and the outcomes of the work packages discussed in detail. This will also broaden the support for the project aims and challenges respectively the project results.

 

Print, Brochures, Poster,

Networking activities and events

Networking events will also play a role in the “ITRACT” project. They serve as platforms to enable co-operation between the public, academic and business sectors. In this respect, networking events can be considered as preconditions to knowledge transfer between different sectors, and to an increased technology innovation capacity in the NSR.

On the project level, networking events will also be used to involve other organisations and regions in the project, to let other relevant actors think about the project aims and challenges defined in the project description, and to achieve more critical mass. Therefore, the project partners will pro-actively search for synergies with events and workshops which are related to the project topic and which take place across Europe. Links will also be established with other Interreg IVB North Sea projects related to the project theme, as well as with other EU-funded projects whose thematic focuses on transport and accessibility, environment and economy, technology and innovation.

 

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Tool-Useability concerning Target-Groups[r3] 

Resulting Process-Plan : How to address a Target-Group depending on AIDA-Status?

Technical advices

4.1.3. Visibility plan

In order to support both the dissemination and “involvement plan” we will develop and use a uniform house style which strengthens the visual identity of the project and enables easy recognition among the project partners and target audiences.

a) House-style

In accordance with the EC regulation No 1828/2006 the project “ITRACT” will develop a professional logo, and graphic profile to create a basic corporate identity. Standard letterheads and document lay-outs, as well as a common format for publications, brochures, leaflets and PowerPoint presentations will be an integral part of the visibility plan. These elements will be developed by the LB in consultation with the partners as soon as the project will be approved.

The use of the house style is an integral part of the project’s internal communication strategy and will be compulsory for each project partner. Detailed information on publicity and communication will be given during the kick-off meeting. Each project partner will be supplied with the relevant materials in electronic format to ensure the widespread usage of the house style.

5. BUDGET

Meetings: kick-off, mid-term and final conference, transnational workshops, regional meetings, network meetings              €   270.000

Dissemination materials: newsletters, brochures, press communications   €   215.500

Partner Communication Platform          €   25.000

External website: lay-out and development    €   25.000

House style: logo and document lay-out             €   10.000

Communication of partners to local or regional stakeholders                €   50.000

Total      €  595.000

6. RESPONSIBILITIES

The University of Stavanger is responsible for the overall transnational project communication and will co-ordinate the development and implementation of the above mentioned communication tools. In order to ensure consistency, the communication initiatives will be agreed with and be supported by all partners. The UiS will also support the partners in working out their communication plans and their actions on the national/regional level so as to ensure they are truly transnational and in accordance with the common communication strategy.

Each WP-leader is responsible for the communication about her/his work package and may seek support from the UiS whenever needed.  In line with the principle of subsidiarity, the partners will be responsible for the communication about the project and their regional pilots to local/regional/national stakeholders, in an appropriate way and in their respective national language.

 

 

7. EVALUATION

The Steering Committee of the project will systematically put the project communication on the agenda and monitor the implementation of the communication strategy by means of a checklist (see below), combined with standard questions:

- Did this communication activity happen?

- Did it reach all relevant stakeholders? (QUANTITY)

- What about the quality/accessibility of the communication activity? (QUALITY)

- What can be done to increase the quality of/accessibility to/reach of the communication activities?

 

A good idea is to develop a table of minimum for every target-group, AIDA-State (contacts , participants), participant-region based on measure-methods . The result is a sample of key-performance indicators and should be integrated into the group ITRACT-Evaluation Parameters.  

 

Through this way every workpackage-leader and every partner can control the outcome of the project.

8. CHECKLIST

Steering Committee Meeting 1 (January 2012)

 

- kick-off meeting held

- external website launched

- partner communication platform installed

- house style developed

- first newsletter published and distributed

- press release on start of project in all partner regions

 

Steering Committee Meeting 2 (May/June 2012)

 

- 1. transnational workshops implemented

- external website updated

- second newsletter published and distributed

- 2 presentations of “ITRACT” at international conferences

- 2 press releases for local media in all regions

- 2 networking activities assisted by project partners

 

Steering Committee Meeting 3 (Nov. 2012)

 

- 2. transnational workshop implemented

- external website updated

- third newsletter published and distributed

- 2 articles published in international media

- 2 networking activities assisted by project partners

 

 

Steering Committee Meeting 4 (May/June 2013)

 

- 3. transnational workshop

- external website updated

- fourth newsletter published and distributed

- 1 Mid-term conference organised

- 2 presentations of “ITRACT” at international conferences

- 2 press releases on mid term  conference published in local media

- 2 networking activities assisted by project partners

 

Steering Group 5 (Nov./Dec. 2013)

 

- 4. transnational workshop

- external website updated

- fifth newsletter published and distributed

- 2 networking activities assisted by project partners

 

Steering Group 6 (June 2014)

-  final conference organised 

- external website updated

- sixth (final), extended newsletter published and distributed

- 1 ITRACT final conferences planned

- 2 presentations of “ITRACT” at international conferences

- 2 articles published in international medium

- 2 press releases in local media

- 2 networking activities assisted by project partners

 

 

9. EXPECTED RESULTS

This communication plan will lead to:

-                enhanced awareness in the NSR of the importance of innovative technology for transport and accessibility, mobility, employability and economic growth

-                increased awareness about the Interreg IVB North Sea Programme

-                key stakeholders are convinced of the importance of technology supported modes of transport and are involved in the ITRACT pilot activities as well as in the ITRACT project process.

-                participating partners and interested NSR/EU- regions are able to identify which tools and instruments work best (and why) to improve transport and accessibility and the innovation capacity of the regions in general

-                organisations at the national level are informed about the objectives, activities, challenges, progress and key outcomes of the project, and are invited to co-operate at key stages of the project process

-                The “ITRACT” project is presented as a best practice project in the field of transport and accessibility, the links between urban and rural areas and the strengthening of regional integration.

 

The communication plan provides a basis upon which the project activities and results are documented and will be available after the project has been completed.

 

 [r1]4.1.1 seems to be dispensable

 [r2]dt. (presse-arbeit, TV, Radio)

 [r3]here should be inserted a matrix of the target-groups and the communication - tools

© Jan Frick 2014