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Spotlight on innovation - communicating and engaging in isolation

11 May 2020

The Covid-19 crisis has radically changed working conditions for business and communities all around the world. Time-honoured habits and procedures for engagement with communities, be it around city or project planning, investors about financial updates or even simply holding regular client meetings face to face, have all come to an abrupt and dramatic halt.
Adaptability is the new catch-phrase and in SEC Newgate offices everywhere, we have seen a swift shift to digital and online communications to ensure our clients can continue to communicate to their stakeholders and that the wheels of the economy, wherever possible, can keep turning.
At SEC Newgate, we were already well advanced in this space through our established digital offerings and in the new environment, have been assisting clients, governments and authorities with initiatives to enable them to meet and beat stakeholder and community expectations around consultation and engagement.
Of course, once the pandemic has passed, we will inevitably see a return to some of the old ways. However, what we have learned from this enforced change is that many of the new ways are not only here to stay but achieve even better outcomes from both the client and audience perspective.
Be it a listed company providing an investor update or a construction company wanting to conduct community hearings that will pass muster with planning authorities, our experience is that the game has shifted permanently.
Meeting times are more efficient, clients can reach so many more people, audiences can more readily participate and the feedback for clients and the community is more objective and no longer reflects merely the sentiment of the loudest voices in the room.
Moreover, because the communication is all digital, we can obtain real-time, objective analysis of views and sentiments via online surveys while in the meeting to tailor future strategies or communications.
SEC Newgate can provide services in person, over the phone and online - developing unique relationships with a range of software/platform providers suitable for a wide spectrum of client needs. 
We have partnered and connected with numerous remote working technologies and platforms that extend our capabilities to best suit client needs.
We are familiar with the range of tools that suit different people, from targeted online recruitment, and online one-on-one interviews to larger scale online engagement events.
Notably we have used various online tools to assist:

  • National Governments
  • State or provincial governments and planning authorities
  • Listed companies
  • Private sector infrastructure or development firms – especially with an urban development focus
  • Various utilities including as part of revenue reset and tariff structure processes
  • Not-for-profits and charities

The adage goes – never waste a crisis! In the communications space at SEC Newgate that is certainly our objective.