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Inclusive communication as a neighbourhood organisation

From the beginning of the project in 1999, Byline n Maks focused on word of mouth advertising, working with key people in the neighbourhood and distributing posters and flyers in local shops and neighbourhood organisations. We also went out on the streets and talked to local residents. The Cureghem neighbourhood is our home and that is what we are going for. Spread the word.
Inclusive communication is first and foremost accessible and pertinent to every target group. This is why Maks vzw, over the years, has developed a separate strategy of communication in which personal contact plays a central role. A large proportion of our customers from Molenbeek and Cureghem are not going to be reached through Linkedin or Facebook alone. You have to seek out hard-to-reach target groups yourself. Thanks to our years of experience and our proximity, we have developed a tailor-made approach for each of our target groups. Here it is important to know that at Maks one target group can also consist of several communities. This is something we also need to take into account in an adapted and inclusive communication strategy.

In practice
If, for example, a communication about a training course has to take place, the project manager ensures, together with the graphic agency, that the right material is available. We create posters, brochures and flyers with a message adapted to the target group. We provide target photos by inviting former clients for a photo session. They like to give something back after successfully completing training. Those who see their neighbour on a leaflet become more interested in the message behind it. We keep the linguistic barrier at its lowest level by only adding the necessary text to the images; in short sentences and using simple language. At the same time the contact details are clearly stated. The latter is often what brings them here. Our graphic agency specialises in designing communication for people of all literacy levels and foreign-language target groups.

The whole neighbourhood communicates
To get the information about this training to the actual customer, we go for word of mouth. With the help of these paper information media, we thus get out of our cubicle. In this regard, our main channels are: the customers and their communities, the local middle class, our staff and local neighbourhood organisations. Our customers will not hesitate to go out into their communities with our leaflets. A great example of this is our Roma operation. Every new customer came to us through an acquaintance or family member within that community. We don’t hesitate to walk through the neighbourhood ourselves. This is necessary if you want to be able to reach several communities. Our consultants have contacts with local shopkeepers and neighbourhood organisations. You therefore regularly see our publicity at the local grocery shop or other non-profit organisations such as Medikuregem. As icing on the cake, you will also regularly find our teams at local markets and events. This extremely personal approach has already convinced many customers to follow a training course and also provides a lot of visibility. Staying in touch with local residents is an essential pillar of our communication strategy.

We like to use photos of our customers on our printed material to increase recognition among our target audience.