Communication Strategy



An effective communication strategy is the key to successful interaction between an organization and the community it serves. In this assignment, the communication strategies of The Refugee Council of Australia are analyzed. The assignment also includes identification of the current communication strategies used by the organization and proposed strategies to overcome the weaknesses.

Brief description of the organization:

Role in the community: The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is a government body that works for the development of refugees of the country (, 2018). The organization employs huge number of volunteers, staffs and more than 200 organizational members to offer its services to the refugees (Tozer et al. 2017). RCOA provides the refugees with different kinds of assistances to level up their standards of lives. Services that the RCOA offers to the refugee community are -- assistance for visa and other legal advices, providing them with a place to live, health services, helping the refugees to learn English, any other skills and helping them to get a job. It is evident that the services RCOA provides to the refugees help them to improve their condition and live in a better way.
Clients: By 2015, more than 65000 people were compelled to leave their home country (Fozdar & Banki, 2017). Australia is one of those countries which are taking a leading position to help these refugees to get accommodate. RCOA works for assisting the Australian Government to implement the refugee-friendly policies. The organization works to help the refugees in various ways so that their living standard improves and they easily get included to the society.
Current promotional strategies: The refugees encounter various problems in a new country due to lack of awareness on the assistances they can get 
(Tozer et al. 2017). The promotional strategies of RCOA mainly focus on making the refugees aware of the services they can get. Currently, the organization relies on publishing media reports, bulletins and arranging different events to make the refugees aware of the necessary facts. The organization also communicates with their target audience through the sites. Use of social media is an effective way to communicate with the target audience (Tiago & Veríssimo, 2014). The RCOA uses social sites such as Facebook and Twitter also for promoting their activities.
Ineffective promotional strategies and reason: Analysis on the current promotional strategies of RCOA indicates that the organization has incorporated the latest promotional trends such as communicating with the audience through their sites and social media. Incorporation of latest trends is effective to attract the audience easily (Adamopoulos & Todri, 2015). However, when it comes to getting the most out of promotional programs, a mix of both conventional and trendy ways give the best result (Blakeman, 2017). Therefore, it can be stated that the promotional strategies through social media are not effective to interact with each one of the target audience.
The refugees present in Australia are from different countries and they belong to different social classes (Neumann & Gifford, 2017). Every one of them neither has access to advanced technology nor familiar with the social media. So, it is evident that promoting the services through social media does not benefit them.
Communication objectives:
The communication programs of RCOA focuses on making the refugees informed about the assistances they can get. 
Bridge Visa policies: In Australia, the refugees, who arrives the country without a valid visa, are subject to the indefinite mandatory detention. Such refugees have to stay in the closed detention on an average of 450 days (Tozer et al. 2017). However, many refugees are not informed about this mandatory detention and hence, put themselves into complex situations after reaching the country. In 2017, more than 1300 people stayed in the detention facilities (Killedar & Harris, 2017). However, the Australian Government started releasing the refugees held in detention on bridge visas (Phillips et al. 2017). On receiving this, the refugees can stay with their community. So, the first objective of the communication program is informing at least 1000 refugee in Australia about the bridge visa policies of the Australian Government within a period of 1 month.
Work Rights: According to the latest policies of the Australian Government that the refugees who have the bridge visa have the work rights (Fozdar & Banki, 2017). It means that the refugees can seek employment in Australia and earn money to improve their lives. However, the refugees are not aware of this opportunity also. The second objective is making alteast 500 refugees with the bridge visa to make them aware of the working rights within 1 month.
 Specific goals
Making refugees aware about bridge visa
1000 refugees are to be informed  
(Adequate number of volunteers will be made responsible)  
(Adequate number of volunteers will be made responsible)  
Task to be completed within 1 month
Making Refugees aware of their work rights
500 refugees are to be informed
 Task to be completed within 1 month
                                                                                      Table 1: SMART Objectives of communication program
Weaknesses of current promotional strategies and addressing them: The current promotional strategies use the social media and internet heavily. So, the people who are not able to be familiar with the latest technology do not obtain any benefit from these strategies. The traditional promotional techniques are effective to address all types of audience (Phillips et al.2017). In this case, the traditional promotional strategies such as direct marketing and face-to-face communication will be used. As each one of the audience will get the chance of face-to-face communication, the technological barrier will be removed. Face to face communication enables the audience to clear their doubts immediately (Palmer, 2017). It indicates the refugees will get chance to have sound idea on the communication topics. It is evident that the communication process is going to be more effective.
Targeted audience:
The targeted audience of the communication program is refugees who are under indefinite mandatory detention in Australia. The refugees detained under indefinite mandatory detention are from various underdeveloped and developing countries and reached Australia mainly by boat (Ziersch et al. 2017). The detained people not only belong to different culture, but they speak in different languages also. Most of the refugees under detention are male whereas about 90 females are there. 
Although a number of refugees visit Australia by boat, a significant number of refugees arrive by air also without a valid visa. Analysis on the demographics of the refugees in Australia indicates that most of them are from the Middle-East Asian countries. The highest number of refugees in Australia is from Syria and Iraq (Pascouau, 2017). However, the people from other countries of the Middle-East Asia such as Iraq, Iran and Burma also constitute a significant portion of the refugees in Australia (Ziersch et al. 2017). In most of the cases, the refugees left their country because of political unstable condition in their homeland and most of them lead a difficult life. The refugees in Australia are of different age groups. Even the kids under the age of five are also present in this country.
Key Messages:
The key messages that will be conveyed through the communication program are:
  • No need to worry about mandatory detention: Indefinite mandatory detention is a legal process for initiating the settlement of refugees in Australia. So, there is no need to get worried. It is necessary for the refugees to co-operate with the government in every possible way. It will help them to start a new life in Australia soon.
  • Necessity of bridge visa: The Australian government provides bridge visa to the refugees who enter the country without valid visa, either by boat or air. It is necessary for the refugees to know all facts and renewal policies of the bridge visa to lead a hassle-free life in Australia.
  • Bridge Visa holders have right to work in Australia: The bridge visa holders can get employed in Australia which helps them to lead a comfortable life. Moreover, the Australian government assists the refugees to develop skills and learn English so that their employability increases.

Considerations for budget:

In the communication programs volunteers and staffs of RCOA would visit the refugee detention centers and run the program. The communication program will be continued for one month. The refugees will be divided into several small groups. Each day the volunteers will meet a group; will inform them about the facts through presentation slides. A translator will also be hired to communicate with those refugees who are unable to interact in English. At the end of program, each of the refugees will be provided with a book containing key facts on the mandatory detention, bridge visa and their work rights.
Financial resource is required to carry out any communication project (Strauss, 2016). Here are three considerations for the budget:
Hiring the translator and volunteers
According to the plan, RCOA needs to hire some volunteers and translator to run the program. It requires investment.
Preparing the books containing guidelines: 
Printed guidelines will be provided to every one of the audience. The cost of printing 1000 guidebooks needs to be considered to prepare the budget.
Transportation cost: 
The volunteers and staffs will visit the detention centers from the RCOA offices. So, the transportation cost also needs to consider in budget.
Risks and Issues:
The communication project is designed keeping all the weaknesses of current promotional strategies and the needs of the target audience in mind. However, still some risk factors are associated with the program. The risks and mitigation strategies for this project are mentioned below:
Misinterpretation of the facts: There is always a chance that the target audience misinterprets the key messages in a communication program (McDonald & Wilson, 2016). In this case, the refugees are going to be informed about the complex legal processes of settlement in Australia. Although the volunteers are given with adequate time, still the audience can face difficulties to comprehend the legal information.
Mitigation strategy: face to face interaction session: After each day of the communication program a separate session will be conducted when the audience can ask volunteers about the queries. The face to face interaction helps the audience to realize the messages easily (Strauss, 2016). In this case also, the audience will be able to understand the legal facts easily.
Difficulties to overcome the cultural barrier: The refugees are from different culture. Culture plays a pivotal role in promotional programs (Parente & Strausbaugh-Hutchinson, 2014). The cultural barriers can make the communication less effective.
Mitigation strategy:
Choosing people who are aware of the cultural features of target audience: the people who are responsible for running the project will be hired carefully. The culture of middle-east is highly different from that in Australia. The people with relevance experience will only be chosen for the program.
Reluctance on the part of the audience to attend the program: The refugees may not be interested to participate in the program. As a result, the entire initiative will not give the desired result if the targeted audience does not show any interest.
Mitigation strategy:
Informing the audience in advance: The audience will be informed advance about schedule of the program and its deliverables. They will also be informed that the program will help them to settle in Australia. It can be expected that informing in advance will grow interest among the refugees and encourage them in advance.


The above discussion indicates that the current communication strategies of RCOA need some modifications. The organization requires using the traditional promotional strategies also for communicating with the people from different cultural background and social status.


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