Blog Post

Insight: Superb Communications Critical to Making Informed Decisions

By: Nick Thiriot

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

Utah stands out among states for its ability to come together across ideological spectrums and address important issues impacting its citizenry. We call it “The Utah Way”, and it’s supported by decision-makers having access to independent, relevant, and understandable research. The University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute is Utah’s preeminent public policy institute and a vital gathering place for thought leadership that develops the research our leaders utilize and rely on. Our success in helping shed light on these important issues is attributable to several core policies, including superb communications as one of the Gardner Institute’s foundational pillars.

As the Institute’s Communications Director, I have had the privilege of helping develop and implement key components of our communications strategy over the past 10 years that have been crucial to our mission of service to Utah. While strategies may vary depending on specific institutional needs, certain policies and procedures can arguably be applied to all organizations regardless of size, mission, or scope of work. I have summarized these principles using the acronym “COMMS”, which have each helped guide our work at the Gardner Institute.

Communicate via a Multi-Pronged and Diverse Approach – At the Gardner Institute, we communicate our research via a wide-ranging and diverse set of tools. In addition to standard social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), a well-maintained website, and news releases released regularly and promptly, the Institute has recently launched a podcast titled “Informed Discussions”, which helps highlight our research and key topics addressed at events, major convenings, and in our publications. Similarly, the Institute has created videos that seek to inform both policymakers and the public about the most critical economic and demographic trends. Finally, regular blogs that highlight our research and provide our staff with the opportunity to share their thoughts on important topics provide rich content to help further Institute messaging and focus areas.

Operationalize Consistent St