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Task Force Guides KICA Communication Enhancements; Initial Results Show Increased Engagement

The Communication Strategies Task Force was established in June 2023 to review current association communication strategies in order to identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement. The task force was comprised of two board member co-chairs: Alex Fernandez and Jerry McGee, two members of the community: Beth Thomae and Dawn McGreevey, and one staff member: director of Communications, Leah Burris.

The task force’s initiation coincided with the release of the 2023 KICA Member Survey results, a powerful tool to guide the task force’s focus and priorities. As the task force dove into examining current strategies, survey feedback clarified areas for improvement. (View the survey feedback pertaining to Communications.)

The task force’s charter outlined a comprehensive review of all of KICA’s communication channels, including the website, social media, digital signs and more. For each channel, the group identified what was working, and what was not, making recommendations for a path forward. (View the Communications overview and recommendations.)

The recommendations include key projects like the development of a KICA app in 2024 and the implementation of a new annual survey of community priorities. The app will allow members to execute the most common KICA interactions like paying bills, requesting guest gate passes, reporting issues and updating contact information. The annual survey of community priorities will provide the board of directors with fresh data for decision-making. Currently, the community association conducts a major survey biennially, with smaller surveys as needed in between. By planning for a survey each year, it ensures that members have a minimum of one survey opportunity to share feedback on the island’s biggest issues or initiatives.

 A significant portion of the task force’s early conversation reflected on KICA’s most valuable communication tool, the weekly email newsletter. Initial survey results showed 96% satisfaction with the newsletter, and 97% of members surveyed reported it as their preferred communication channel. With so much dependence on the channel, the task force took time to share personal feedback which aligned with themes that emerged in comments from the 4% of members surveyed who were dissatisfied with the newsletter: too long, too much fluff, important info isn’t prominent enough, and distrust of information due to public board conflict. 

These observations and a deep analysis of member survey feedback led to a redesign of the email newsletter and refinement of content strategy, which was implemented near the end of June 2023. The former “fluffy” introduction was removed, content became more concise and each section now contains varied topics, so there’s something of interest in each section for everyone. It’s easy for members to scan through and choose what they want to dive deeper into through article links.

In Q3 2023, the first quarter of the new design and strategy refinement, engagement with the email newsletter jumped an unprecedented 88%. This signifies that the newsletter contains more meaningful content and that members are better able to find the information they value. KICA’s average click rate (the individuals who click one or multiple links divided by the number of emails sent) for email newsletters in Q3 2023 was 17%, up from 9% in the same quarter in 2022. The industry standard click rate is 2%. The sustained average click rate proved the strategy and design were prompting the increased engagement, not just a few significant news events.

The enhancements also garnered positive remarks from members. “​​Thank you for this newsletter. I always find it to be very informative and easy to navigate. Your hard work is much appreciated. We are part-time residents on the island and depend on this communication to keep us informed,” remarked a member. The newsletter’s success prompted the task force to prioritize the development of an official content strategy for the weekly email newsletter, so that the successful tactics can be consistently applied and refined over time.

Other important identified projects include website optimization and the expanded use of video and text message communications. All recommended projects have been put into a prioritized list and slated for execution. 

Every association task force is established to carry out a specific task and once accomplished, the group dissolves. This encourages focus and efficient execution. The work of the Communication Strategies Task Force was rapid, but thoughtful, and it is now complete. With a road map in hand, KICA’s Communications team of three: director Leah Burris, senior communications specialist Emily Jenkins and communications assistant Julia Federman, will execute the meaningful improvements outlined in the task force’s plan. As major projects are finalized or rolled out, the community will be notified.