What is the OASIS Framework?

The UK’s Government Communications Service (GCS) originally developed the OASIS framework to plan and execute strategic communications campaigns based on five components: objectives, audience insight, strategy/idea, implementation, and scoring/evaluation.

Understanding the OASIS framework

The OASIS framework is used to bring clarity and order to communications campaign planning. 

Whilst the definition of a communications campaign will vary from one industry to the next, the GCS defined it as:

a planned sequence of communications and interactions that uses a compelling narrative over time to deliver a defined and measurable outcome.” 

It is worth noting that the OASIS framework was conceived so that the cost of communications campaigns could be justified to ministers looking to reduce public expenditure.

For this reason, the framework advocates that such campaigns have a measurable impact.

Despite being rooted in civil service, the OASIS framework is also used by marketing and communications professionals from private companies and universities.

OASIS is a versatile approach that is useful in everything from relatively simple press releases to more complex and expensive social change initiatives.

The five components of the OASIS framework

Five components comprise the OASIS framework and acronym:

Objectives (O)

What does the communication activity need to achieve? What channels or activities will be utilized?

Objectives should be SMART with a focus on outcomes instead of outputs. In the public sector, the metrics that comprise objectives should be numerical wherever possible.

Audience insight (A)

The OASIS framework considers detailed knowledge of the audience to be paramount.

Who is the audience and how will they reach a desired outcome? Is there an attitude or behavior they need to change?

Strategy/idea (S)

The third component of the OASIS framework represents the planning stage. It considers how objectives will be met and the channels that will be used to reach the audience.

Practitioners also develop a campaign narrative at this point to move individuals toward the desired outcome or behavior. 

Implementation (I)

The plan should then be refined to detail tactics, resource allocation, and delivery timelines.

Influencers and other partners are involved to increase impact. Government bodies may choose lower-cost options such as partnerships. 

Scoring/evaluation (S)

Where outcomes are monitored and evaluated for effectiveness.

To link this component with the first, outcomes are measured against key objectives and their metrics.

If the results are sub-par, practitioners may choose to run through the framework once again by incorporating new results or insights.

Key takeaways:

  • The OASIS framework is used to bring clarity and order to communications campaign planning. It was initially conceived by the UK government to justify the cost of such campaigns to ministers who were looking to cut costs.
  • Despite having its origins in civil service, the OASIS framework is also used by marketing and communications professionals from private companies and universities.
  • The OASIS framework is comprised of five components: objectives, audience insight, strategy/idea, implementation, and scoring/evaluation. Objectives and their KPIs must be measured according to the outcomes that result from the fifth component to tie the framework together. 

Key Highlights

  • Definition: The OASIS framework was developed by the UK’s Government Communications Service (GCS) to facilitate the planning and execution of strategic communications campaigns. Comprising five essential components—Objectives, Audience insight, Strategy/idea, Implementation, and Scoring/evaluation—the framework aims to bring clarity and structure to campaign planning.
  • Understanding the OASIS Framework:
    • The OASIS framework was designed by the GCS to justify the costs of communications campaigns to government officials seeking budget reductions.
    • It defines a communications campaign as a planned sequence of interactions that employ a compelling narrative over time to achieve a measurable outcome.
    • The OASIS framework is versatile, used by both public and private sector professionals for various types of campaigns, from press releases to complex social change initiatives.
  • The Five Components of the OASIS Framework:
    1. Objectives (O):
      • Determine what the communication activity aims to achieve and identify the channels or activities to be employed.
      • Objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) and focus on outcomes rather than outputs.
      • In the public sector, objectives should incorporate numerical metrics wherever possible.
    2. Audience insight (A):
      • Detailed knowledge of the audience is critical in the OASIS framework.
      • Understand the audience’s identity and how they can achieve the desired outcome.
      • Identify any required attitude or behavior changes within the audience.
    3. Strategy/idea (S):
      • The planning phase where the strategy is developed to meet objectives and engage the audience.
      • Determine the channels to reach the audience and craft a compelling campaign narrative.
      • The narrative guides individuals towards the desired outcome or behavior change.
    4. Implementation (I):
      • Refine the plan with specific tactics, allocate resources, and establish delivery timelines.
      • Engage influencers and partners to enhance the campaign’s impact.
      • Government bodies might opt for lower-cost options like partnerships to optimize resources.
    5. Scoring/evaluation (S):
      • Monitor and evaluate campaign outcomes for effectiveness.
      • Measure outcomes against key objectives and their metrics.
      • If results fall short, practitioners can revisit the framework, incorporating new insights or outcomes.
  • Key Characteristics:
    • The OASIS framework provides structure for communications campaign planning and was developed by the GCS to justify campaign costs to officials.
    • The framework is adaptable and used by both government and private sector professionals for various campaigns.
    • The OASIS framework consists of five components: Objectives, Audience insight, Strategy/idea, Implementation, and Scoring/evaluation. The measurement of outcomes ties back to objectives to complete the cycle.

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