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Appendix A

2018 Communications Review


CITY OF REVELSTOKE

Prepared by: Barb Floden, APR, The Flow Communication Group Inc.

Date: December 11, 2018

THE FLOW COMMUNICATION GROUP INC


theflowgroup.ca
Appendix A

Table of Contents

Executive Summary .......................................................................................................................................................................... 3
Background ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 4
About the City of Revelstoke ........................................................................................................................................................... 4
Methodology .................................................................................................................................................................................... 6
Key Findings and Recommendations ............................................................................................................................................... 6
Appendix: Recommendations ........................................................................................................................................................... i
Appendix: Communications Inventory ............................................................................................................................................. iv







Revelstoke has been communicating to an eager and engaged audience for many years.
Man with bullhorn, Revelstoke Kinsmen Carnival, 1940: Vancouver Archives AM1545-S3-CVA 586-2870


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Executive Summary
This communication review was conducted between September and November 2018. This report outlines the
findings and top-level recommendations.

The majority of Revelstoke’s communications is controlled and vetted through corporate administration however it
is a shared responsibility and there is no dedicated communications staff member. The “sides-of-desks” approach is
used to disseminate and manage external and internal communications through media relations, social media,
advertising, online (website) and print (such as brochures) methods.




The Key Findings and Recommendations are based on information gathered during the inventory review and
interviews with staff, as well as input learned through workshops with the new Council. Communication channels
and activities are detailed in the inventory found in the appendix.

The Key Findings and Recommendations identify common themes, observations about current tactics, and a list of
opportunities and recommendations.

Recommendations are incorporated with key findings and reflect opportunities to improve existing activities
utilizing communications best practices. Recommendations are presented at a high level, as it is expected more
granular and detailed actions will be developed through subsequent strategies and plans.

This report will form the foundation for next steps, which include the key recommendation of:
• The creation of a multi-year communications strategy, that charts the broad communications direction for
the City of Revelstoke
• The creation of an annual communication plan that describes out the tactics, key messages, action plan and
evaluation criteria; that reflect Council’s strategic plan; and, is informed by community input and research;
• Hiring of a dedicated communications staff person, who would be responsible for overseeing the strategic
and tactical actions.

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Background
The City of Revelstoke is committed to improvement of its communication and engagement with residents,
stakeholders, council members, and employees.

Over the past several years, the role of dedicated communications has become a crucial part of most municipal
governments. The introduction of online and social media has created a diverse and widespread environment
where information is shared with audiences. Gone are the days of taking out an ad in the local paper, or issuing a
news release to the same newspaper in order to educate residents on a new program or initiative. Savvy residents
share information, discuss issues, and fill in any information gaps on social media, with established local media
outlets struggling to remain viable. Government organizations – in particular local governments – are caught trying
to keep up with the increased demands for information, scrutiny around shared information (especially around
contentious issues that include moving facts and budgets) and a fractured landscape of media channels.

Many municipalities and regional districts in B.C. now have in-house dedicated communications staff who oversee
the information flow, manage issues and reputation through a centralized office, oversee the ‘brand,’ stay abreast
of new or evolving channels, scan for emerging issues, and manage a communications budget.

The City of Revelstoke has undertaken this demanding new communications landscape in stride, even with limited
resources. Communications activities have been spearheaded by a small team of staff in the Corporate
Administration department. There is not a specific communications role, so all work is divided among staff
members ‘side-of-the-desk’ style, as they have other primary duties.

In the summer of 2018, City of Revelstoke staff wanted to gain a better understanding of their communications
efforts in order to look at ways to improve, and to set the foundation for a communications strategy and plan that
may take place as part of the newly elected council’s strategic planning process, slated for early 2019.

Council defeated an updated Development Cost Charge (DCC) bylaw in September 2018. The DCC was seen as an
important piece of legislation that would limit the tax burden of new development, specifically large projects such
as the sewer treatment plant expansion or replacement, on existing residents. Confusion over aspects of the bylaw
and charge rates was cited as a reason for the lack of council support, with communication as a culprit. The DCC
issue was one of the election campaign issues. Another election issue was “communications,” which was discussed
in general terms of City Hall not providing information either in a timely manner, to the right people, in the right
form, or in the right context.

A local general election took place on October 20, 2018. The election saw most incumbents retiring, with the
exception of Gary Sulz who successfully ran for mayor. The mayor, along with six new councillors, took office on
November 6.

About the City of Revelstoke


The City of Revelstoke, incorporated in 1899, is located along Highway 1 on the banks of the Columbia River in
South-central B.C. Revelstoke is part of the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, which also includes Golden,
Salmon Arm and Sicamous. Revelstoke has a land mass of 40.76 square kilometres and a population of 7,5451.

The population increased 6.7 per cent over 2011 census data. The median age is 39.1, younger than the provincial
median of 43.0. English is the predominate language. 47.7 per cent of the population has some level of post-
secondary education, compared to 45.8 per cent provincially.


1
Statistics Canada, 2016 census data

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Revelstoke’s economy is traditionally based in transportation (rail, highway) and resources (forestry). A large
hydroelectric dam is located five kilometres north of the city. Revelstoke is experiencing a surge in recreational
sport tourism. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, located just east of downtown, is in the midst of a large-scale
expansion. The ski resort boasts the largest vertical of any resort in North America and once plans are complete,
will be the largest resort on the continent. Deep and consistent snowfalls in the surrounding mountain ranges bring
skiers from around the world. Revelstoke is the base for a number of heli- and cat-ski operations, as well as
snowmobiling. Revelstoke is also a summer tourism destination with world-class mountain biking, hiking, mountain
climbing, camping and water sports on the many rivers and lakes. Nearby Mount Revelstoke National Park attracts
600,000 visitors a year.

Revelstoke is facing many of the same issues affecting other B.C. towns, including a lack of affordable housing (in
particular for seasonal employees) and managing infrastructure budgets for new and renewal projects. Pressure
from the expanding ski resort will have an impact on housing and infrastructure over the coming years.

The City of Revelstoke provides the following services to its residents:
• Water and sewer service
• Local roads, sidewalks and traffic control (including snow removal)
• Solid waste management
• Land use planning
• Economic development
• Building inspection
• Parks, recreation and culture (including arena, aquatic centre and community centre)
• Bylaw compliance (such as parking, animal control)
• Fire service and emergency planning

A branch of the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) is funded by the City of Revelstoke. RCMP provide protective
services to the community.

The City of Revelstoke employs 103 people: 75 full-time, 28 part-time/auxiliary

VISION
• Revelstoke will be a leader in achieving a sustainable community by balancing environmental, social and
economic values within a local, regional and global context. Building on its rich heritage and natural beauty,
this historic mountain community will pursue quality and excellence.
• Revelstoke will be seen as vibrant, healthy, clean, hospitable, resilient and forward thinking. It will be
committed to exercising its rights with respect to decisions affecting the North Columbia Mountain Region.
• Community priorities include: opportunities for youth; economic growth and stability; environmental
citizenship; personal safety and security; a responsible and caring social support system; a first-class
education system; local access to life-long learning; spiritual and cultural values; and diverse forms of
recreation. All residents and visitors shall have access to the opportunities afforded by this community.

MISSION
• Our mission is to provide optimum quality services and security to our community and our visitors, in a
fiscally responsible manner.
• We will endeavour to provide cooperative, well-informed and innovative leadership in order to sustain our
uniquely superior quality of life.
• We are committed to fostering a strong sense of community in Revelstoke, and we will be responsive and
adaptive to changing social, political and economic conditions.

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Methodology
This communications review got underway in September 2018. The process involved feedback from Revelstoke
staff through face-to-face interviews (7), interviews with available outgoing council members (2), a workshop with
the newly elected mayor and council, a review of media coverage, and a review of the City’s communication
materials (brochures, advertisements, social media posts, newsletters, alerts, website content, etc.), and related
policies and plans.

Material review took place over September and October. In-person staff interviews and new council workshop took
place in Revelstoke October 31 to November 2, 2018. Two out-going councillors made themselves available for in-
person or phone interviews during the time period prior to the local general election (October 20, 2018).

It is important to note that this review is a discovery of existing communications practices, channels and tactics,
and not an in-depth analysis of any one process or outcome.

Key Findings and Recommendations


A detailed list of reviewed materials and documents is outlined in the Appendix.

Interviews were qualitative, semi-structured discussions with a set of standard questions that acted as a general
framework. Two opening questions prompted interviewees to consider Revelstoke’s overall effectiveness with
communications, and the other on the City’s reputation with external audiences. Interviewees were asked to assign
a value from 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent):

Q: Generally speaking, how well does the City of Revelstoke communicate with its audiences?
The score averaged 6.4/10

“We can do better”
“There is a positive story that is not being told”

Q: In your opinion, how would you describe Revelstoke’s reputation with the people and organizations it interacts
with?
Reputation average was 4.6/10

“We have a better reputation outside Revelstoke – tourism is fantastic,
provincial/federal stakeholders recognize the good job we do.”
“Small number of people are shaping reputation as uncaring, out of touch, ineffective.
No bandwidth to counter that.”
“Council needs more durable and actionable strategic goals to help staff deliver service.”
“We need to share the good news stories. There are many stories.”
“We should be humanizing staff doing great work, such as snow crews.”
“Front line staff would benefit from customer service training. They are the first point of contact with the public.”
“We should pat ourselves on the back.”
“We need to change the relationship between corporation and community.”

These questions opened discussion on policies and procedures, tactics, channels, and outcomes.

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COMMUNICATIONS PRACTICES
Best practices in communications divide the process into three main mechanisms. The key findings will look at each
of these mechanisms, and provide recommendations going forward:
1. Strategic communications: the policies, plans and procedures that provide a foundation for
communication and engagement activities.
2. Communications channels: the “what” of communications such as brochures, websites, meetings, earned
media, and paid advertisements.
3. Resources: who does the work and how it is funded.

Definitions:

Policy Guideline
Provide guidance in decision making Drive action
Leave some room for managerial discretion More detailed and has less leeway
Integral part of organizational strategies Tactical tools
Updates require corporate or council approval Easily updated with new or revised
information

Communication Strategy Communication Plan
Usually multi-year Usually developed annually
Charts broad direction, long-term resourcing Outlines action plan and includes tactics, key
(such as staffing and general budget messages, evaluation criteria
allocation) • tied to strategic plan
• provides support for project
communication plans


1. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

Policies, plans and strategies
The City of Revelstoke has a number of policies and guidelines in place that pertain to communications activities.
Most notable are:
• Communications Policy (C-18): Provides objectives, purpose and guidelines for external, internal
communications, spokesperson responsibilities, methods, correcting erroneous information, approvals,
and disclosure.
• Public Participation (A-23): Outlines public participation guidelines and framework. A Public Participation
Handbook outlines the framework and guidelines for public participation activities.

The policies are fairly robust, however without accompanying plans and guidelines, their use is limited. A
communication plan and guidelines would provide the necessary processes to support the policy direction and
implementation.

The lack of corporate communication strategy and plan hinders communications activities. A communication
strategy would provide a framework for operational and budgetary resources in order to support a communication
plan. A plan would outline ties to strategic plans and goals, frame key messaging, identify audiences, formalize
channel and tactics, and establish evaluation criteria to measure success.

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A thorough public participation framework is described in the policy and handbook. Public participation in practice
is uneven, with some projects receiving well defined and considered engagement plans (cannabis and trail master
plan engagement plans as good examples). Existing or previously used engagement plans have been drafted by
consultants contracted for a specific project, and have not been informed by corporate guidelines or frameworks
and as such are inconsistent.

Internal communication is seen as adequate. The small size of the organization helps get top-down information to
front line staff. The process isn’t uniform across departments, with some areas updating staff quickly and other
areas less so. Staff duties have some employees not working at computers, so use of intranet is not used for
ongoing information updates, and instead is used primarily for shared forms and employee milestone events.

Also missing is a crisis communication plan. A crisis communication plan identifies physical and reputational crises
and outlines appropriate corporate response procedures. A crisis is a situation or scenario that has the potential to
harm the reputation and normal operation of the corporation and could be a physical risk (such as a building
collapse) or reputational (such as criminal charges against a corporate member). A plan provides actions, steps and
checklists to quickly assess the risk, identify spokespersons, and boilerplate messaging in order to get information
out fast.

“DCCs. Enough said.”
“[Communication] always seems reactive.”

Recommendations:
• Develop a communications strategy that charts a future course, manpower and any operational needs
• Develop an annual communications plan to coordinate communications and engagement policies,
procedures and practices, and ensure best practices are utilized.
o Engage external audiences and stakeholders as part of the development of a plan in order to
best determine communication needs
• Review existing policies, guidelines and procedures for needed amendments that consider
communication strategy and plans, and ensure best use of resources.
• Develop an internal communications plan to identify, coordinate and optimize internal communications
to ensure all staff receive timely updates.
• Develop communication and/or engagement plans for all major projects.
• Include ‘Communications and Engagement Considerations’ as part of council reports to ensure
communications is considered as part of proposed recommendations, and level of public participation is
identified (as per IAP2 guidelines).
• Formalize an organization-wide planning calendar to schedule communications and engagement for
campaigns, activities and events, and to coordinate messaging.
• As part of all communication plans, set measureable goals and establish standard mechanisms to
measure and evaluate communications and engagement efforts in order to demonstrate success.
• Ensure engagement plans include feedback loops for participants to learn of project updates, as
recommended by IAP2 best practices.
• Develop a crisis communication plan that identifies potential crises/high-risk events, standard key
messaging, and procedures.

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Visual identity
Another important strategy is the organization’s brand. A brand is more than
the logo. A community brand is a clear and consistent vision and message that
conveys what a community represents (i.e., what a community stands for, and
the values it holds). Your brand is central to your marketing endeavors.2

The City of Revelstoke uses a ‘pictogram’ style logo with many local landmarks
and visual cues represented (Mt. Begbie, Grizzly Plaza bear, a historic lantern,
the letter R for Revelstoke, and a silhouette of the front of a locomotive). The
logo was developed in the 1990s and is widely used on corporate materials.

Revelstoke has a good selection of office document templates that utilize a similar look, incorporate the logo and a
standard font, which has become a brand guideline of sorts.

Almost all interviewees echoed the lack of brand strategy and vision. Presently, the City of Revelstoke and partner
organizations See Revelstoke and Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce work together to present Revelstoke to local
residents, businesses, and the wider world, and there is some value in ensuring a brand strategy recognizes these
relationships.

“We need brand guidelines”
“Revelstoke does not have a brand”
“We now have standardized fonts, email signatures, some templates – that’s good”

Recommendations:
• Embark on a brand vision process to determine Revelstoke’s story, what the community has to offer and
ensure the vision conveys that story
• Establish a brand identity (images, messages) that represent that story
• Develop standard templates for office documents, advertisements, posters, using the brand identity
• Implement the brand identity on all corporate and marketing channels including websites, social media,
as well as gateway signage, way-finding systems, and street banners.
• Establish plain writing and style guidelines, in particular for external writing purposes (website,
brochures, social media, correspondence with the general public).



2
Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Community Branding and Marketing toolkit,
https://fcm.ca/Documents/tools/International/Community_Branding_And_Marketing_EN.pdf

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2. COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
The City of Revelstoke maintains a broad mix of channels that it uses to communicate its messaging. This includes:

• Media relations (earned media / publicity)


• Print & promotional
• In-person (face-to-face, meetings, open houses, etc.)
• Electronic (online)
• Paid advertising (print and digital)

Looking at overall content, information seems to be available in some form on most topics. Brochures on popular
topics (for an example bear aware, snow removal) are available at front counters and on the website, often as text
copy and also as a PDF file. News releases are issued on a regular basis and are shared on the website and on social
media channels.

Much of the written content (news releases, public notices, brochures, web content) is written at a Grade 11-12
level (Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test) and in passive voice.

Recommendations:
• Create and document procedures (how, when, what) for standard communication activities and tools
such as news releases, social media posts, website updates, brochures.
• Optimize review and approval processes for communication activities.
• Use plain language for all public facing content, and try to keep the reading level to Grade 6-8.

Media Relations (earned media / publicity)
Printed newspaper publications and digital news outlets continue to evolve in Revelstoke. News is covered by The
Revelstoke Review (https://www.revelstokereview.com) community newspaper (print edition every Wednesday,
with online and social media channels updated daily), Revelstoke Mountaineer
(https://www.revelstokemountaineer.com) (online, with 10 printed magazine editions per year), Revelstoke
Current (https://revelstokecurrent.com) (online news site that was offline for a period, but returned in September
2018). StokeFM (92.5) and EZ Rock (106.1) provide local radio programming.

Media releases are issued for important news, issues and other information that is deemed to be of interest to
local media. During the review period, 15 media releases (news) and 11 public notices (operational updates) were
shared with media and on the City’s website. Local news outlets provide good coverage of media releases (“earned
media”).

Releases and notices presented an inconsistent approach to news sharing, with some “news” items shared via
public notice (such as sewage lagoon news). Some topics were not represented in media releases (an example
would be DCC engagement was not communicated through this channel). This can be confusing to the public who
may not be sure where to look for updated information on a specific issue or topic.

Media releases and public notices are shared on the Revelstoke.ca website as stand-alone documents in the news
or document section, but relevant subject areas did not reference the information in the media release. As well,
the website structure made finding news that was no longer on the home page difficult.

The Communications Policy outlines a process for responding to media enquiries. Most staff indicate they are
comfortable providing routine information to media on topics relevant to their department, however they are less
comfortable responding to questions on evolving or sensitive issues. When issues arise, it is important that staff are

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trained and able to speak to the issues in the community and with media. Proactive use of communications
prevents loss of time, resources, and corporate reputation.

Similarly, front line staff would also benefit from training to better equip them to handle enquiries on issues with
the general public. Customer service or a “light” version of media training would provide counter and outside staff
with the confidence to provide responses, and enable them to help the customer find the right information.

Proactive communications tied to a strategic plan enable positive news to be shared in a planned manner. This gap
was brought up by a number of staff during interviews, and most thought opportunities to share good news were
often lost. Examples include grants that provide new or improved amenities and outstanding customer service
(such as snow removal crews).

Briefing of senior staff and Council on issues and programs is also lacking. A briefing note was supplied by a
consultant during the cannabis consultation process, and a previous council member noted how beneficial that was
to guiding conversations in the community and with the media.

Earned media also includes a bi-weekly Mayor’s Report on the Revelstoke Current (audio) with archived audio clips
available on the City’s website (http://revelstoke.ca/517/Archived-Mayors-Reports)

Recommendations:
• Consider combining media releases and public notices into one product under a consistent visual
identity.
• Review processes and approvals for media releases in order to ensure they remain timely.
• Provide briefing notes to senior staff and Council on top topics, issues, and for new projects.
• Use plain language for written news products, and try to keep the reading level to Grade 6-8.
• Post information on relevant webpages, in addition to the news section on the website.
• Include a short overview of Mayor’s Report audio clips that highlight topics discussed on the website.
• Provide media training to senior staff and elected officials.
• Consider a condensed version of media and/or customer service training to front-line staff to better
equip them to respond to enquiries from media and general public.

“We need to be more proactive in providing stories, either good news or ahead of an issue.”
“Media training would be good.”


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Print & Promotional


City staff produce a number of topic-specific brochures for distribution at front counters, and often as a PDF
document available on the website.

Other publications, such as annual reports, are published as needed.

Recommendations:
• Ensure brochure content, and not necessarily the formatted PDF, is available on the website.
• Edit brochure copy to ensure easy readability.
• Ensue visual identify is consistent through the use of brand guidelines and templates.


In Person/Engagement
Revelstoke hosts a number of face-to-face opportunities for engagement. Some are statutory, such as Council
meetings and public hearings, and others are scheduled for engagement purposes, specific programs or other
events.

Most interviewees noted that Revelstoke citizens are highly engaged and quite receptive to open house-style
meetings and feedback opportunities.

The lack of consistency around public meetings was referenced by several staff members and was seen as a sort of
Goldilocks situation: some projects had too many open houses and other projects not enough. A consistently
executed engagement plan would seek to establish the “just right” balance of public engagement opportunities,
including in-person.

Both staff members and new councillors mentioned the positive benefits of general open house opportunities. The
former mayor of Golden used to hold informal open houses once a month at different locations throughout the
community (such as coffee shops) as an opportunity for citizens to meet face-to-face, share concerns and learn
about programs, projects and services. The out-going Revelstoke mayor held “Open Door Monday” as a similar
opportunity, however it was not consistently implemented and was limited to a specific time and place.

“[Open houses] are done selectively for certain projects/not others”
“Create informal opportunities/drop-in events”

Recommendations:
• Implement a public participation program that ensures consistency around engagement activities and
opportunities.
• Leverage the Public Engagement Handbook and ensure staff understand the principles of engagement.
o Consider public engagement training for senior staff and Council.
• Investigate hosting a less formal monthly open house at varying locations as an opportunity for citizens
to meet Council and/or senior staff and share issues, concerns and ask questions.


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Electronic
Website: The City of Revelstoke’s website (revelstoke.ca) is a repository of information on programs, services,
contact information.

A parallel website at civicweb.net hosts meeting agendas, minutes, calendars and documents.

In January 2018, Revelstoke began live-streaming council meetings. This service is hosted via civicweb.net and
includes an archive of past meetings.

Website content is maintained by each department, and overseen by Corporate Administration.

Analytic data reveal almost half of visitors use mobile devices to access content. The most downloaded document
is a PDF showing aquatic centre admission rates.

“Difficult to navigate.”
“I ask other staff for information because I can’t find anything.”
“Documents section very cumbersome. Can’t find anything.”
“Not mobile friendly”
“Content is not consistent – no standard on format, updating”
“Link between website and civicweb is cumbersome, feels unfinished, needs an audit/troubleshooting”
“Staff need to take ownership of their content and update it.”
“We don’t see metrics so no idea on what people are accessing.”

Recommendations:
• Conduct a website content and performance review to identify content gaps, opportunities to enhance
optimization and performance, and establish best practices for content.
• Develop website guidelines that describe writing, graphic and file/document posting procedures and
best practices.
• Implement a regular system of website reporting in order to identify high-use content, searched content
gaps, and user behaviour, and optimize content and site features in response.
• Strengthen the network of department content experts who would be responsible for ensuring their
website content is up-to-date.
• Use live text instead of a PDF document for commonly downloaded items such as aquatic centre
admission fees.

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Social media: Revelstoke uses Facebook (@City-of-Revelstoke-BC-177864465607607/) with 1,646 likes and 1,686
followers, Twitter (@Revelstoke_BC) with 922 followers, and Instagram (@cityofrevelstoke) with 989 followers.
The Corporate Administration department updates content and responds to comments. There is an average of nine
(9) Faebook posts per week, over the course of the review period.

Most posts exist as organic posts. There has been limited use of boosted and/or sponsored posts (enhance visibility
in follower feeds or to a specific demographic for a fee).

Revelstoke Parks and Rec manage a Facebook (@cityofrevelstokeprc) page with 773 likes and 785 followers. An
Instagram account (@revelstokeparksandrec), with 422 followers, has not been updated since 2017.

Revelstoke Fire and Rescue manage a Facebook page (@revelstokefirerescue) with 542 likes. A Twitter account
(@RevelstokeFire) with 841 followers has a display name of Chief Rob Girard and has not been updated since July
2017.

In addition to corporate channels, a number of community channels and groups exist where residents, businesses
and visitors gather to share news, concerns and voice opinions. Staff are aware of these channels and occasionally
monitor content for issues, however there is no official procedure for actioning misinformation or rumours that
arise. Some of these channels include:
• The Stoke List (http://list.thestoke.ca)
• Revelstoke Community (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1120852981321854)
• Concerned Citizens of Revelstoke (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1798404887119554)
• Revelstoke Buy and Sell (https://www.facebook.com/groups/710886542391332)

It is important to note that social channels and groups are constantly evolving. Part of the role of social media
monitoring includes scanning for new and emerging platforms, channels and groups.

“Facebook is well used in Revelstoke and content posted there is good.”
“We need to do more videos!”
“Twitter is poor – things are cross-posted on all channels but content not optimized for each channel.”

Recommendations:
• Continue to provide regular updates on social channels.
• Utilize a shared communication calendar to develop social post schedule.
• Create guidelines for social channel establishment, use and maintenance by other departments.
• Establish guidelines and procedures for addressing issues and misinformation presented on community
social channels.
• Regularly measure and review channel analytics in order to optimize post timing, frequency, type, and
target demographic.
• Ensure passwords for all channels are maintained by the communications function.
• Investigate increasing use of boosted or sponsored posts to maximize reach for important campaigns.

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E-news: The City of Revelstoke publishes a quarterly e-newsletter that covers a variety of topics, seasonal
information and events. Campaigner.com is used to compile the newsletter and the final version is uploaded to the
website.

Research of other B.C. municipalities shows newsletters are usually produced more frequently (often weekly) and
include a shorter list of topics. A good newsletter includes clear, timely messaging and a single call to action per
news items (for example: attend an open house, take a survey, mark your calendar to attend an event).

“Need more consistent communications, more newsletter editions, perhaps monthly.”
“Newsletter is quarterly, so not very timely.”

Recommendations:
• Increase frequency of newsletter to ensure content is timely (at least monthly, and possibly
weekly).
• Utilize the communications calendar to ensure the timeliest topics are communicated.
• Provide a call to action on each news story.
• Measure and evaluate newsletter analytics, and use this information to adjust future editions.

Alerts and App: ‘NotifyMe’ sign up system for 25 different alerts including emergencies, job postings, updated
web content, etc. is available through the website. The link is easily accessed via the website homepage and users
can control the topics and method of receiving alerts (either as an email or text message).

Alerts arrive as an unbranded email from “Alerts” (with no reference to City of Revelstoke) and the subject line
that includes the date and a brief description of the topic.



A typical NotifyMe alert email (top), and how the alerts appear in an email inbox (bottom) showing “From” as “Alerts”

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The SeeClickFix app is used as a way for citizens to report issues such as potholes, streetlights or bylaw infractions.
Recent social media discussions allude that issues reported here are sometimes not actioned.

RecycleCoach is used to provide garbage and recycling schedules and a ‘what goes where’ function.

Recommendations:
• Optimize NotifyMe settings to brand “from” field in emails.
• Review ‘back-end’ app settings to ensure standard reply emails, forwarding to correct department, and
follow up on unresolved issues is accurate.
• Investigate usage data on alert topics and look to optimize/reduce/add topics as necessary
• Include NotifyMe, SeeClickFix and RecycleCoach messaging and alert capabilities as part of
communication and crisis plans.


Paid advertising
Revelstoke purchases statutory and informational advertising in a number of publications and outlets in print and
digital formats in local media outlets including Revelstoke Review, Revelstoke Mountaineer, radio station 106.3 EZ
ROCK, as well as a handful of specialty publications (economic development, planning).

Recommendations:
• Develop a standardized and branded template for print and digital ads
• Use a cross-organizational communication calendar to optimize statutory advertising (such as tax
sales, property tax notices, etc.)
• Coordinate advertising through a centralized communication function to ensure brand compliance,
consistent writing and branding, coordinated messaging on other channels (eg social media, website,
newsletter), and budgetary control.

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Appendix A

3. RESOURCES
City communication procedures are for the most part funneled through the Corporate Administration department,
who advise on and implement strategy, channel selection and content. Individual departments are able to produce
print materials, host public open houses, purchase advertising and update web content for topics or issues under
their jurisdiction.

Communications activities are spread through Corporate Administration staff primarily utilizing a “side-of-the-
desk” style.

An excellent foundation of practices, relationships and resources is set for a robust communications program. The
communications function needs to be formalized to guide work within the organization, develop the necessary
strategies and plans, provide best practice advice on communications, implement tactics, regularly review and
evaluate activity, and oversee operational and budgetary resources.

Just as important as internal relationships are external partnerships. This includes agencies, stakeholder, special
interest group and others located within Revelstoke, in the region, and across the province (and beyond). Many of
these organizations have a communications function and cooperation between the City of Revelstoke and external
stakeholder groups can maximize reach, broaden efforts, and facilitate a greater level of cooperation and
collaboration.

In addition to a dedicated communications position, actions to consider include:
• Identify internal resources for tactical support (such as social media & website posts, content creation, etc.)
• Identify external resources (such as engagement consultants, graphic design, video/photography, etc.)
• Consolidate existing resources used for communications.
• Allocate a percentage of project budgets to communications and engagement.

“Revelstoke has not caught up to what other cities are doing.”




Corporate Administration controls and vets the
majority of the communication outputs. Other
departments oversee some aspects of
communications relevant to their area.













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Appendix A

Recommendations:
• Create a staff position that is fully responsible for the communications function.
• Ensure this position has responsibility for strategic functions (policies, plans, strategies).
• Enhance and strengthen community communications through partnerships and relationships both
within the City of Revelstoke (inter-departmental) and externally (other government agencies, tourism
stakeholders and organizations, community groups, business groups, etc.)
• Provide a budget for communications with each project, program and issue, and call communications to
the table early in the process to ensure communication planning is adequately timed and planned.

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Appendix A

Appendix: Recommendations

1. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
Policies, plans and strategies
• Develop a communications strategy that charts a future course, manpower and any operational needs
• Develop an annual communications plan to coordinate communications and engagement policies,
procedures and practices, and ensure best practices are utilized.
o Engage external audiences and stakeholders as part of the development of a plan in order to best
determine communication needs
• Review existing policies, guidelines and procedures for needed amendments that consider communication
strategy and plans, and ensure best use of resources.
• Develop an internal communications plan to identify, coordinate and optimize internal communications to
ensure all staff receive timely updates.
• Develop communication and/or engagement plans for all major projects.
• Include ‘Communications and Engagement Considerations’ as part of council reports to ensure
communications is considered as part of proposed recommendations, and level of public participation is
identified (as per IAP2 guidelines).
• Formalize an organization-wide planning calendar to schedule communications and engagement for
campaigns, activities and events, and to coordinate messaging.
• As part of all communication plans, set measureable goals and establish standard mechanisms to measure
and evaluate communications and engagement efforts in order to demonstrate success.
• Ensure engagement plans include feedback loops for participants to learn of project updates, as
recommended by IAP2 best practices.
• Develop a crisis communication plan that identifies potential crises/high-risk events, standard key
messaging, and procedures.

Visual identity
• Embark on a brand vision process to determine Revelstoke’s story, what the community has to offer and
ensure the vision conveys that story
• Establish a brand identity (images, messages) that represent that story
• Develop standard templates for office documents, advertisements, posters, using the brand identity
• Implement the brand identity on all corporate and marketing channels including websites, social media, as
well as gateway signage, way-finding systems, and street banners.
• Establish plain writing and style guidelines, in particular for external writing purposes (website, brochures,
social media, correspondence with the general public).

2. COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
• Create and document procedures (how, when, what) for standard communication activities and tools such
as news releases, social media posts, website updates, brochures.
• Optimize review and approval processes for communication activities.
• Use plain language for all public facing content, and try to keep the reading level to Grade 6-8.

Media Relations (earned media / publicity)
• Consider combining media releases and public notices into one product under a consistent visual identity.
• Review processes and approvals for media releases in order to ensure they remain timely.
• Provide briefing notes to senior staff and Council on top topics, issues, and for new projects.
• Use plain language for written news products, and try to keep the reading level to Grade 6-8.

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Appendix A

• Post information on relevant webpages, in addition to the news section on the website.
• Include a short overview of Mayor’s Report audio clips that highlight topics discussed on the website.
• Provide media training to senior staff and elected officials.
• Consider a condensed version of media and/or customer service training to front-line staff to better equip
them to respond to enquiries from media and general public.

Print & Promotional
• Ensure brochure content, and not necessarily the formatted PDF, is available on the website.
• Edit brochure copy to ensure easy readability.
• Ensue visual identify is consistent through the use of brand guidelines and templates.

In Person/Engagement
• Implement a public participation program that ensures consistency around engagement activities and
opportunities.
• Leverage the Public Engagement Handbook and ensure staff understand the principles of engagement.
o Consider public engagement training for senior staff and Council.
• Investigate hosting a less formal monthly open house at varying locations as an opportunity for citizens to
meet Council and/or senior staff and share issues, concerns and ask questions.

Electronic: Website
• Conduct a website content and performance review to identify content gaps, opportunities to enhance
optimization and performance, and establish best practices for content.
• Develop website guidelines that describe writing, graphic and file/document posting procedures and best
practices.
• Implement a regular system of website reporting in order to identify high-use content, searched content
gaps, and user behaviour, and optimize content and site features in response.
• Strengthen the network of department content experts who would be responsible for ensuring their
website content is up-to-date.
• Use live text instead of a PDF document for commonly downloaded items such as aquatic centre admission
fees.

Electronic: Social Media
• Continue to provide regular updates on social channels.
• Utilize a shared communication calendar to develop social post schedule.
• Create guidelines for social channel establishment, use and maintenance by other departments.
• Establish guidelines and procedures for addressing issues and misinformation presented on community
social channels.
• Regularly measure and review channel analytics in order to optimize post timing, frequency, type, and
target demographic.
• Ensure passwords for all channels are maintained by the communications function.
• Investigate increasing use of boosted or sponsored posts to maximize reach for important campaigns.

Electronic: E-News
• Increase frequency of newsletter to ensure content is timely (at least monthly, and possibly weekly).
• Utilize the communications calendar to ensure the timeliest topics are communicated.
• Provide a call to action on each news story.
• Measure and evaluate newsletter analytics, and use this information to adjust future editions.

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Appendix A

Electronic: Alerts and App


• Optimize NotifyMe settings to brand “from” field in emails.
• Review ‘back-end’ app settings to ensure standard reply emails, forwarding to correct department, and
follow up on unresolved issues is accurate.
• Investigate usage data on alert topics and look to optimize/reduce/add topics as necessary.
• Include NotifyMe, SeeClickFix and RecycleCoach messaging and alert capabilities as part of
communication and crisis plans.

Paid advertising
• Develop a standardized and branded template for print and digital ads
• Use a cross-organizational communication calendar to optimize statutory advertising (such as tax sales,
property tax notices, etc.)
• Coordinate advertising through a centralized communication function to ensure brand compliance,
consistent writing and branding, coordinated messaging on other channels (social media, website,
newsletter), and budgetary control.

3. RESOURCES
• Create a staff position that is fully responsible for the communications function.
• Ensure this position has responsibility for strategic functions (policies, plans, strategies).
• Enhance and strengthen community communications through partnerships and relationships both within
the City of Revelstoke (inter-departmental) and externally (other government agencies, tourism
stakeholders and organizations, community groups, business groups, etc.)
• Provide a budget for communications with each project, program and issue, and call communications to
the table early in the process to ensure communication planning is adequately timed and planned.


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Appendix A

Appendix: Communications Inventory



Policies and Guidelines
The City of Revelstoke has a number of policies and guidelines in place that pertain to communications activities.
These include:

Policy Name Date (latest) General content Comments
Communications March 9, 2010 Provides objectives, purpose and Emergency communications
(C-18) guidelines for external, internal is outlined in the Emergency
communications, spokesperson Response and Recovery Plan
responsibilities, methods, Public Participation is
correcting erroneous information, outlined in its own policy
approvals, disclosure
Public Participation January 26, Outlines public participation Framework and guidelines
(A-23) 2016 guidelines and framework adapted from IAP2 materials
The policy applies to any
A Public Participation Handbook department that should
was published in 2016. undertake a public
participation process.
City of Revelstoke February 23, Outlines permitted use of the City There are no guidelines for
Logo (A-6) 1998 logo by third-party organizations internal use of the logo (such
as brand guidelines)
Advertising on City November 27, Outlines process and guidelines for References Fees and Charges
Structures (A-3) 2012 external advertising on transit Bylaw for applicable fee
shelters and other City-owned structure
structures
Standard of Conduct September 29, Standard of conduct for all City
(P-1) 2015 employees.
Includes statement on sharing of
confidential information, conduct
on social media, media
relations/official spokespersons
Major Tourist April 14, 2008 Establishes process for tourism Policy references only
Attraction directional signage within the road Provincial highway sign
Directional Signage right-of-way standards.
(S-11)
Proclamations June 22, 1998 Resolution outlining that
(A-10) Revelstoke discontinue the
practice of providing
proclamations.


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Appendix A

Communication Channels: Media Relations


Media releases are issued for important news, issues and other information. Public notices are issued for
operational updates.

Media releases and public notices are sent to local media, posted to the News section of the website, and often
shared with web link on social media. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) occur primarily as radio spots on
programs and services.

Tactic or Details Audiences Responsibility Comments
Channel
Media Releases, (Oct 2017-Oct 2018) Primary: Local media Corporate Admin • Inconsistent use of media

Public Notices Secondary: Residents, releases (some key issues or
15 media releases businesses, other news not communicated)
11 public notices stakeholders (via • Overlap between media
website, news stories, releases and public notices
social media cross- • Grade 11-12 writing level
posts) • Content runs as sent to
media on other channels
• Review and approvals are
time-consuming and delay
release of news

PSAs Communicate services General public Corp Admin • Good use of local radio PSA
and programs spots
• Used for program news
such as wood stove
exchange
• PSA subjects not connected
to other channels (such as
social media, website) in
order to maximize reach,
assist

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Appendix A

Communication Channels: Print & Promotional


Topic-specific brochures, handouts and reports are available at front counters, and as a PDF on the website.

Item Details Audiences Comments
Brochures • Pesticide Use Primary: • Most at Grade 10-12 writing level
• Bear Aware Residents, • Bear Aware at Grade 7.8, Pets 8.6
• Anti-idling businesses • Some content available as stand-
• Backyard Chickens alone text on website
• Snow Tips • All available as PDF on website
• Pets
• Water Conservation
• Inter-community
Business Licence
Annual Report • 64 page report Council, • Per June 12, 2018 Report to
• departmental residents, Council: “… the 2017 Annual
highlights and businesses, Report was viewed by over 2,300
strategic milestones Provincial viewers. General comments
• financial reports government included an improved
understanding of City priorities and
successes…”
• Good overview of municipal
activity in previous year






Communication Channels: In Person
Revelstoke hosts a number of face-to-face opportunities for engagement. Some are statutory, such as Council
meetings and public hearings, and others are scheduled for engagement purposes, specific programs or other
events.

2017 Public Participation Opportunities Number
City Council meetings 22
Special Council meetings 3
Committee of the Whole meetings 14
Public Hearings 20
Select Committee and Commission meetings 66
Open Houses and User Group Consultations 7
Mayor’s ‘open door Monday’ 20
School Visits (RCMP and Fire Rescue) 71
Community Events (RCMP and Fire Rescue) 5
Miscellaneous engagements/events 21



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Appendix A

Communication Channels: Electronic



Website
The City of Revelstoke website (revelstoke.ca) is a repository of information on programs, services, contact
information. A parallel site (civicweb.net) hosts meeting agendas, minutes, calendars and documents, as well as
meeting live-streaming.

Browser Type

Device type

Social network referrals



Downloaded files, Top 6
# of
URL Document name downloads
www.cityofrevelstoke.com/DocumentCenter/Document/View/2959 Aquatics admission prices 3,152
www.cityofrevelstoke.com/DocumentCenter/Document/View/198 Zoning map (full) 1,124
bc-revelstoke2.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Document/View/2856 City map 914
revelstoke.ca/DocumentCenter/Document/View/3772 Zoning map 768
bc-revelstoke2.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Document/View/2114 City View, Jan 2016 801
bc-revelstoke2.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Document/View/384 Community Profile 2015 691

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Appendix A

Site Search Keywords (grouped by general subject)


(Top 50 search keywords)
Page visitors (in Search Avg. time Bounce % Search
Label Searches views seconds) Exits Results pages on page Rate Exits
jobs 119 146 7592 31 1.2 52 0% 26%
employment 64 66 1453 11 1 22 0% 17%
careers 58 69 4926 15 1.2 71 0% 26%
job postings 47 72 2642 8 1.5 37 0% 17%
career 21 24 475 1 1.1 20 0% 5%
job 18 23 1436 5 1.3 62 0% 28%
TOTAL JOBS 327
bylaws 62 69 5161 27 1.1 75 0% 44%
cannabis 43 60 4831 16 1.4 81 0% 37%
see click fix 35 40 962 1 1.1 24 0% 3%
bylaw 25 29 2016 10 1.2 70 0% 40%
property taxes 24 33 912 4 1.4 28 0% 17%
fire ban 23 27 1169 14 1.2 43 0% 61%
hours 23 24 447 8 1 19 0% 35%
business licenses 21 22 518 1 24 0% 0%
tender 16 16 848 6 1 53 0% 38%
election 16 18 2179 2 1.1 121 0% 13%
tenders 15 18 327 5 1.2 18 0% 33%
TOTAL OTHER SERVICE 303
zoning 53 73 5209 13 1.4 71 0% 25%
map 45 69 5552 10 1.5 80 0% 22%
zoning bylaw 33 47 3746 6 1.4 80 0% 18%
maps 31 46 3022 6 1.5 66 0% 19%
zoning map 28 37 4196 11 1.3 113 0% 39%
dcc 23 46 3290 10 2 72 0% 43%
building permit 20 22 1157 10 1.1 53 0% 50%
ocp 19 38 9031 6 2 238 0% 32%
official community plan 15 19 863 2 1.3 45 0% 13%
TOTAL ZONING 267
aquatic centre 68 75 3579 15 1.1 48 0% 22%
pool 42 47 2329 18 1.1 50 0% 43%
arena 35 37 1402 12 1.1 38 0% 34%
gym 27 33 2394 6 1.2 73 0% 22%
fitness 24 26 1498 6 1.1 58 0% 25%
leisure guide 20 30 1826 5 1.5 61 0% 25%
fitness centre 17 19 902 1.1 47 0% 0%
public skating 17 19 1688 5 1.1 89 0% 29%
public skate 16 19 1910 9 1.2 101 0% 56%
TOTAL RECREATION 266
canada day 33 40 1216 21 1.2 30 0% 64%
hotels 31 36 704 16 1.2 20 0% 52%
vacation rentals 20 31 5863 6 1.6 189 0% 30%
what is the population of
revelstoke? 17 21 1425 9 1.2 68 0% 53%
snowfall chart 16 25 1368 6 1.6 55 0% 38%
snow load 14 19 794 4 1.4 42 0% 29%
weather 14 15 142 9 1.1 9 0% 64%
bed and breakfast 13 17 1913 5 1.3 113 0% 38%
canada day poster 2018 13 15 329 8 1.2 22 0% 62%
hotel 13 16 893 9 1.2 56 0% 69%
camping 12 12 88 7 1 7 0% 58%
TOTAL VISITOR 196

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Appendix A

Social Media
The City of Revelstoke Corporate Administration, as well as other departments, utilizes social media channels.

(Details current as of October 2018)
Channel Details Responsibility Comments
Facebook: 1,464 likes Corporate Admin • Average of 9 posts per week
City of Revelstoke 1,686 followers • Variety of topics (statutory,
informative, community, human
interest)
Twitter: 922 followers Corp Admin •
City of Revelstoke
Instagram: 989 followers Corp Admin •
City of Revelstoke
Facebook: 733 likes Parks & Rec •
Parks & Recreation 785 followers
Instagram: 422 followers Parks & Rec • Not actively updated
Parks & Recreation
Facebook: 542 likes Fire •
Fire & Rescue
Twitter: 841 followers Fire • Not actively updated
Fire & Rescue

A cursory Facebook page comparison with a municipality of similar characteristics (Resort Municipality of
Kimberley, population 7,425) shows Revelstoke utilizes its channel page well, and receives comparatively good
interaction on organic (unpaid) posts.



City of Revelstoke City of Kimberley

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