Communication is the key function of External Communications Department (ECD) and, for this purpose, the department uses various channels to keep its external stakeholders abreast of the developments taking place at the central bank. This communication process contributes towards achieving the overall objectives of transparency, credibility and accountability of the SBP.
Doing so has never been a stagnant activity and the department always keeps pace with emerging trends by timely improvising its channels of communication. Accordingly, it has reviewed and improved key communication functions, bolstered its working relationship with print and electronic media for the common good of the public, and made cautious expansion to social media after ensuring that necessary mechanisms are in place. ECD is also improving its reach to the general public through its website and an array of digital media platforms. The advent into these new avenues also necessitates the conceptualization and production of new forms of content.
ECD has also played its part towards national objectives and executed various awareness campaigns on financial literacy and global remittance marketing. For this purpose, social media audience was directly accessed by using customized advertising tools. Moreover, heading towards more transparency and data dissemination, mobile versions of publications were launched for the convenience of readers.
To increase its outreach to the public, the ECD is taking a number of steps to accelerate the use of Urdu as an official language in the wake of Supreme Court’s decision by completing the Urdu version of its website while also ensuring that selected publications remain available in the Urdu language along with English-language versions.
ECD is also entrusted with the responsibility of complete administration of the bank’s internal and external websites. Accordingly, the organizational structure of the department was changed to manage the websites’ operations.
Issuing press releases in English and Urdu, negotiating with external agencies and the media fraternity for the timely publication of advertisements and execution of media campaigns, translating SBP’s Annual and Quarterly reports, other flagship publications and circulars in Urdu, overseeing the printing and distribution of all publications and conducting media awareness workshops are some of the operations the department regularly performs.
Moreover, the department also communicates with employees and gains their engagement by releasing monthly State Bank News. Employees’ contribution in terms of articles to the monthly journal improved immensely after its revamping in May 2016.
Lately, the department has started providing media coverage on days of public importance like Independence Day, Pakistan Day, and birth anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam. In addition, coverage of special events like unveiling of coin and other initiatives is carried out in coordination with other departments and print /electronic media.
A rising proportion of the population are now reliant on digital platforms for news, updates and information. The ECD is cognizant of this shift in audience preferences and behavior and is ramping up its online presence accordingly. It is regularly conceptualizing and publishing videos on popular platforms to raise awareness about various SBP policies and campaigns. One notable project in this realm, is the SBP Podcast series which features in-depth discussions with various bank officials regarding issues of public interest.
The ECD is also ensuring the fast dissemination of key announcements and decisions through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. To this end, clear and concise communiques suitable for each platform are devised regularly. This practice is providing the bank with direct access to the general public in contrast to dissemination through conventional media which is reliant on external stakeholders.