Communications and Media

Overview 

UN-Habitat’s Communications and Media Section provides support for all aspects of communication and outreach across the organization. The Section aims to raise public awareness of urban issues, solutions and best practices, demonstrate the impact of UN-Habitat’s work and its role as a centre of excellence, support partnerships for policy change and resource mobilization and strategically plan and organize UN-Habitat’s major events. 

The Communication and Media Section covers three main areas. 

  1. Public information and media engagement: this includes written and multimedia content for digital platforms such as the corporate website and social media, providing content for a wide range of promotional material, working closely with the media to promote UN-Habitat’s impact and liasing on communication issues with UN agencies, UNHQ and partners.  

  1. Content productionthis covers publications, organizing editing, graphic design, layout and publishing, branding, developing, designing and running the corporate and other websites.  

  1. Outreach and event managementthis involves planning, preparation, appraisal of venue, creation of the conference programme, event management, logistics, operations, online and onsite registration for a well carried out event with the provision of the best logistical and operational framework.  Major events include World Habitat Day and World Cities Day in Urban October; the Executive Board meetings, the World Urban Forum and the UN-Habitat Assembly. 

Key components 

  1. Public information and media engagement 

Written and multimedia content for digital platforms 

This involves commissioning, writing, editing and curating timely, accurate and interesting stories, photographs and videos about UN-Habitat’s impact and beneficiaries for the corporate website (www.unhabitat.org) and supporting other platforms such as WUF and ensuring quality, properly captioned material is uploaded on the youtube and flickr accounts. It includes the production of material for the corporate social media (facebook, twitter, linkedin and instagram) and supporting the accounts of the Executive Director, World Urban Forum and others.  

Content for a wide range of materials 

The Section also ensures maximum visibility for events, projects, reports and campaigns using its platforms, producing press releases, key messages and infographics and planning trello boards for social media. The section supports the agency, particularly Office of the Executive Director with writing and editing as required, producing Executive Director’s messages and videoing them, organizing communications focal points and works closely with advocacy and campaigns and donor relations for donor visibility. The section organizes photo and video coverage when resources permit and provides advice. 

Working with the media 

The Section works closely with the media both in Kenya and globally, maintains a list of contacts and disseminates press releases. It also organizes coverage of impact projects and writes, edits and disseminates Op Eds on behalf of the Ed and others. It organizes interviews with the ED and others and drafts talking points, Q&A’s etc. 

Communication liasion 

It works with the Department of Global Communications at UNHQ, UN Information Centres, country offices as well as other UN agencies and key partners such as United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) for joint opinion pieces and press releases. 

  1. Content production 

Publications 

This involves developing strategies to improve the quality and impact of publications and other knowledge products. The section develops policies and guidelines for key publications and implements internal and external publishing activities including production, distribution, promotion, launch and impact analysis. The section also supports the Publications Committee oversight with follow-up on annual publications plans, organizing Committee meetings and reporting.  

Graphic design, layout and publishing 

The section provides creative design, layout and publishing services for publications and other communications materials including printed, digital and online products, as well as animated graphics. Designing and packaging the content makes it attractive and compelling for the audience. 

Editing 

Professional editors check facts and quotations, address rights issues, make sure that bibliographical references are correct, complete, and in the right order; verify that country names are used according to UN policy and terminology and ensure the use of gender inclusive language. The section manages a roster of consultant editors who can be contracted on short notice to edit manuscripts.   

Branding 

A strong, consistent and recognizable brand builds trust in UN-Habitat ability to deliver evidence-based solutions and strong results in countries. The section develops and enforces brand guidelines, tools and protocol to ensure consistent application on all communication products and platforms. The section also creates branding concepts for key events, campaigns and multi-partner initiatives.  

Corporate and other websites 

Developing, designing and running the websites involves creating, maintaining and developing intuitive, user-friendly and technically efficient web pages. The section works closely with branches and offices to develop design new sections, integrate new features and promote content to a wider audience. The section is implementing a digital strategy to consolidate other UN-Habitat websites under the corporate website to increase the impact of our content. The section promotes web content through social media and targeted email lists.  

3.Outreach and event management 

Planning 

Preparing a detailed brief of the proposed event is the first and most important element in organizing any event. The brief should set out: aims and objectives of the event, available funding, likely size and target audience, key elements of a marketing and promotions strategy. It should also inform about the level of attendance from UN-Habitat, partners and guests in order to plan for protocol support and any other extra facilities. Issues for special consideration are location of the venue, security requirements, the number of days and events required for the event. The brief should outline the purpose of the event and confirm the person responsible for the planning process and coordination of the event on the day. 

Logistics 

This involves various steps of preparation for the event. Starting with the appraisal of the venue, technical requirements, local staff support, transport, accommodation, security with risk management, arrival area of participants and onsite registration requirements with overall setting of the venue i.e. main event room, meeting rooms and offices. Support is also provided for identification on setting the event dates (to avoid clashes), times and the format or the programme, seating of speakers, online forms, information note for participants, liaison with local staff and volunteers, sending invitations, catering, etc. The ‘look’ of the venue is a very important component and guidance for strategic positioning of branding, backdrop or banners will be provided.  

Programme creation 

A programme should be ‘participant friendly’ with enough time for registration in the morning, consideration of spacing between sessions for example if live links are planned and need to be systematically structured. Guidance is provided on the order of high-level speakers, seating and design suggestions of the programme to look professionally structured. 

Registration 

Registration is often the first experience attendees have with you as the host of the event. Professional expertise from the Section is provided for online and onsite registration. The registration process begins with online registration which involves creating a registration form on a branded web page which is tailor made and professionally presented through the developed event management system. The onsite registration is crucial for setting the ‘mood’ of the participant for the event. It involves managing real time registrants and badging of accredited participants in the shortest time possible. Guidance on requirement of a photo badge or another format will be provided, as it depends on the level of attendance and location of the event.  

Publicity 

One should think in terms of Communication – is there a special UN Day, or anniversary that would make a good ‘news peg’ for the event. Publicity can be provided via email in  the form of Newsletters, with banners on various social media platforms, webpage and Information materials. At the location there needs to be branding of strategic places in the city and outside the venue, as well as inside. The design and dissemination of event resources such as programmes, invitations and promotional materials are very important to the professionalism and credibility of the event. In some cases a conference bag with a notebook and pen can be seen as an additional promotion tool. 

Event management  

This is the management of running the logistics and operations behind the scenes so that the participant/guest/speaker or moderator can feel well taken care of if everything is running smooth. The best logistical and operational framework towards the success of the substantive aspect of the event will be provided for the positive presentation and positioning of UN-Habitat towards the partners and guest in attendance. 

Key process 

The Communication and Media Section is always available to discuss processes.  

  1. Public Information and media 

For the website, stories can be submitted directly or the Section can be contacted first to discuss the story. Guidelines are available - generally the stories should focus on impact and how they have benefitted beneficiaries, should mention numbers and other key data and the donor and include quotes from beneficiaries, UN-Habitat and donor where possible. They should include properly captioned, credited photos and if possible suggested social media. Plans for press releases, articles, opinion pieces (known as Op Eds), press releases, Executive Director statements etc should be discussed in advance, suggestions for media coverage are always welcome as are articles or social media mentioning UN-Habitat. 

  1. Content Production 

When planning a publication, project, event, or any initiative that requires visibility with stakeholders and the general public, contact the Production and Publishing team for guidance and support.  

  1. Outreach and event management 

If you are planning an event/workshop/conference where UN-Habitat is the host or co-host which will attract a broader audience of stakeholders, or is high-level, you are encouraged to get in touch with the Events & Outreach team for further guidance and support.  unhabitat-events@un.org 

Important issues

Public Information and media 

It is important to read the Communication guidance documents including the style guide before submitting any stories, forewords, press releases to ensure pieces are correctly written and avoid delays. Longer reports should always have an outside editor factored into the budget as the Section has very limited editing capacity.  

Please contact the Section before speaking to the media for advice and support. 

Outreach and management 

The Section supports the work of branches and offices throughout the year, experiencing peak periods during major events and at the end of each year due to reporting deadlines. It is important to involve it at the start stage of projects to ensure proper planning, coordination and delivery.  

It is important to reach out as soon as you plan for the event. Each event has different challenges, i.e. location, number of attendees, time available for planning and implementing and possible cost. A workplan will be worked out once all information has been provided by the requesting office to see where and how we can support, but if information about the event is provided too late it might be that there is no capacity to assist comprehensively due to other commitments such as Urban October or WUF.  

Key documents: 

UN-Habitat Brand Manual 

Donor Visibility Guidelines 

UN-Habitat Short Style Guide 

UN-Habitat Guidelines on submitting human interest stories 

UN-Habitat Guide on submitting photographs 

UN-Habitat Social Media Guidelines 

  

September 2020 

Focal Points