Building trust in the Red Cross Red Crescent brand: The case for investing in Movement communications

May 2022

ICRC & IFRC communication teams

Almost every day, somewhere in the world, the Movement – or one of its components – comes under attack in the digital space. When fake news goes viral on social media, it can quickly spread across borders, posing a reputational risk to the whole Movement. This communications workshop is focused on scaling up the Movement’s communications capacity-building work, helping to build stronger National Societies and, consequently, a stronger Movement that is able to build trust with communities, donors and partners, governments, the media and the public.

The workshop will focus on the importance of communications in protecting and strengthening our local and global positioning and our fundraising efforts. It will also explore how improving our communications capacity enables us to anticipate, mitigate and respond to any reputational risk.

Participants will discuss recent experience from the Ukraine crisis, which has seen Movement components targeted by misinformation campaigns and hate speech. Workshop attendees will also hear from international journalists, who will share their perceptions of the Movement and the Red Cross and Red Crescent brand, offering insights into how the Movement can deliver more effective and agile communications in an increasingly polarized world.

Strengthening communications capacities has been widely acknowledged as a development priority among National Societies taking part in the IFRC-led self-assessment process – the Organizational Capacity Assessment and Certification process or OCAC. Many National Societies have identified external communications and reputational risk management as systemic weaknesses. The workshop will include interactive sessions on how to collectively and sustainably approach these issues and how to develop communications capacities across the Movement, with examples from under-resourced National Societies where strong leadership, a clear vision and an acknowledgement of the value of strong communications have transformed their development.

The findings of a recent self-assessment exercise conducted by the IFRC and the ICRC will also be shared at the workshop, providing a snapshot of communications strengths and weaknesses across the Movement. Using a maturity model, several National Societies from each geographical region mapped and assessed their communications capacities across three areas: people, processes and technology. The results highlight the development divide that exists between National Societies and demonstrate that the task of building and safeguarding the Red Cross Red Crescent brand and image will remain a struggle for many unless there is the right investment in staff, skills, strategy and equipment.

Our Movement has immense untapped potential to be the leading voice for people affected by disasters, conflict and other humanitarian crises. This workshop provides an opportunity to explore how we can collectively level up and scale up communications capacities across the Movement, and it will conclude with a discussion about the development of a Movement communications hub. This new initiative is being proposed in order to capitalize on the skills, expertise and resources we have at our disposal within the Movement. The hub would serve as a global communications resource centre, bringing greater cooperation and coherence to capacity-building efforts, while enabling learning and the sharing of knowledge and best practice among Movement communicators.

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