Build more effective internal communications plans with the Know-Feel-Do framework

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The Know-Feel-Do framework will help you identify your target audiences and define your communications objectives

One of the most critical and foundational elements to successful strategic communications is reaching the right audiences with the right information. This is called audience segmentation and, although it sounds simple, it can be challenging – especially during times of rapid or large-scale change.

That’s where the Know-Feel-Do framework comes in. Know-Feel-Do is an outcome-based framework that can help you build more effective communications and influence your target audiences. In short, this useful framework prioritizes the needs of those who are receiving the communications by considering three simple questions: 

  • What do we want them to know? 
  • What do we want them to feel?
  • What do we want them to do?

How to use Know-Feel-Do

After you’ve defined the overall objectives for your communications plan and identified your target audiences, take a moment to ask these three questions for each of the target audiences. The answers to these questions can (and should!) look different for each group.

1 ) What do we want them to know?

In one sentence, define what your target audiences need to know in order to make your communications plan successful. 

For example, if you are launching a new IT service desk, all employees might need to know that a new platform is launching, how they can access it and what will happen to existing support tools. The IT team, on the other hand, might need to know what the new platform is, why it’s launching, how to use it, how it will impact their day-to-day work and how to communicate with internal clients about the change. One way you could address the different information needs is through the frequency and channels that you use to reach your audiences. All employees might be better informed through written communications with linked resources, while the IT team might benefit from more frequent communications including live training sessions, executive messaging and manager resources.

2 ) What do we want them to feel?

Next, consider how you want each audience to feel after receiving your communications. This step is especially important in change communications, where you want to bring employees along on a transformation and you need their buy-in. This question sets the stage for being able to influence and inspire action in your target audiences. 

For example, if you’re building a communications plan for a merger or acquisition, you likely want all employees to feel excited, informed and supported throughout the transition. For key support functions like HR and IT, you might also want them to feel like they are an integral part of the transition and prepared to support it. For senior leaders and executives, you might want them to feel energized and equipped to communicate about the vision for the future of the company. As you build your communications plan, you’ll want to keep these perspectives in mind to ensure that you’re conveying the right messages to each audience.

3) What do we want them to do?

Lastly, think about what actions employees need to take in order to achieve your objectives. Focus only on the top priorities for each group and avoid getting too specific. The goal of this question is to ensure that your communications articulate a clear call to action. 

For example, if you are rolling out a new employee engagement survey, you likely want all employees to take the survey. But, when it comes to people managers, you might want them to share communications to their team to encourage participation. Because these audiences have different calls to action, you’ll likely need to create separate communications for them, and this should be reflected in your communications plan.

Why Know-Feel-Do works

The Know-Feel-Do framework offers a simple way to avoid blindspots, segment your audiences and identify more specific target outcomes for each of them. I often think of these target outcomes as the building blocks to achieving overall communications and business objectives and, ultimately, driving program success.

Have an internal communications or change effort that needs to win the hearts and minds of every employee in order to succeed? Book a call with our experts.

About the Author

Abby AlvarezCommunications Consultant

Abby is a collaborative, strategic and innovative internal communications expert with a passion for creating connection, building alignment and driving change. Abby specializes in translating business priorities into effective communications strategies to reach the right stakeholders and achieve results. Her areas of expertise include employee engagement initiatives, culture transformations, mergers and acquisitions, crisis communications, and HR and IT transformations.

Connect with Abby Alvarez on LinkedIn →

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