There are challenges in every field of communications. None more than those facing the housing sector.
First up, a confession - I'm a complete newbie when it comes to comms. I started my job at Chartered Institute of Housing - or CIH - just three months ago after six and a half years as a local newspaper reporter. I'm learning new things every day - not least from blogs like comms2point0 and the comms community on Twitter who are fantastically generous in sharing knowledge and content.
What's struck me most is that the challenges facing CIH are the ones facing UK housing as a whole. Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell gave a great speech on influencing at our South East Conference last week. Housing's complicated, he said - but the more complex an issue is the simpler you have to make it.
One of the ways we're trying to do that at CIH is by focusing on an issue that resonates with pretty much everyone - the fact that housing iscosting us more and more.
Mr Campbell also made the point that the industry needs to work together to present an agreed vision - a theme that will be familiar with anyone who followed #nhfcomms2013, #nhcsocmed or #seconf2013 on Twitter (or in person) last week. Communication is going to be critical for everyone in social housing in the weeks and months to come as the government’s controversial welfare reforms start to kick in next month. As Kerry James says in this fantastic blog, #bedroomtax is beating #ukhousing hands down as an issue that the housing sector has been campaigning on for months gains increasing traction in the mainstream media.
For me the heart-rending stories that have featured on the national news drive home the point that ultimately, housing is all about people – and that when there’s an important point to get across, we need to make it more simply and more effectively using real experiences.
The will to work together and speak with one voice is definitely there – now we need to translate that into reality.
Louise Psyllides is communications and media manager at the Chartered Institute of Housing.