Link Messages to Materials

Once key information and key messages have been identified they need to be linked to communication channels and materials. The SBCC strategy should outline clearly the communication channels that will be used and how the messages will be conveyed. This is discussed in Unit 7, where the “pros and cons” of different communication channels are highlighted as well as how they can best be used during an emergency. Messages can be disseminated in a variety of ways, including:

  • Orally, through interpersonal communication and radio
  • Visually, through print media and mass media, including billboards, posters and television
  • In written form, through channels such as bulletins, flyers, newsletters, articles and press releases

When key messages and materials are combined, they must reflect seven important characteristics that increase their effectiveness. These are known as the “7 Cs” of Communication:

C ommand attentionAttract and capture the audience’s attention. Make it memorable!
C larify the messageEnsure the message is clear and easily understood.
C ommunicate the benefitState the advantages (key benefit) of adopting the desired behavior.
C onsistency countsRepeat the same message consistently and across communication channels to avoid confusion and enhance the impact of the message.
C reate trustEnsure you use factual information and credible channels. Credibility of the message is essential, as without it, the message will go unheeded.
C ater to the heart and headPeople are persuaded by both facts and emotions. Use both to maximize the appeal and persuasiveness of the message.
C all to actionInclude a clear call to action stating exactly what the audience should do.


It is recommended that you review key benefit messages against the 7 Cs of communication before pretesting them, and Worksheet 8.3 on the following page is intended to help you do that.