According to Professor Michael Porter, Harvard Business School, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
With a dizzying array of promotional channels available in today’s competitive business world, it’s all too easy to jump straight in and put out content. There’s pressure on communications teams to fill a space. Why not have a Facebook page? Have you thought about video? Are we advertising on google?
Just because you can set up a Facebook page, doesn’t mean you should. Above all, it’s valuable to understand how it’s helping you achieve your goals. Be sure to invest precious resources and energies in areas that deliver maximum return on investment. Take time to deliver communications that reflect well on your brand and service offering.
Cluttered communications mean wasted time, energy and confusion with not enough thought given to integrating activities and carefully considering the plan of attack.
Sun Tzu, the sixth century Chinese military strategist, general and philosopher famously said: “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
Without a clear communications strategy, activities risk being piecemeal and are unlikely to deliver. As strategic communications consultants we often review existing activity and prepare up new strategies followed by promotional schedules for clients.
We always make a point of clarifying the importance of researching and developing insights and strategy prior to devising tactical schedules. This is because it provides a map to focus efforts on critical communications factors and areas of focus which contribute most to delivering successful outcomes.
The following are key elements to developing a strategic communications approach:
ASSESS YOUR SITUATION
- Start by studying your environment – think about current trends, behaviours and influencing factors.
- Think carefully about your target audience, the different segments and what their needs are (not yours).
SET CLEAR GOALS
- Bring the leadership in to think carefully about outcomes and be clear about what success looks like from the start. Make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely). Clarify objectives.
- Harness and define insights – desktop, team, customers, stakeholders, competitors.
- Craft concise messages that really speak to your audience’s trigger points and weave these in to what your service or communications project delivers.
- Develop routes to take.
DEVELOP A CLEAR ROADMAP
- Outline methods and delivery tactics ONLY once you know the above.
- Develop communications materials to ensure they are consistent, clear and engaging.
- Think realistically about what you can truly deliver and define budget– do fewer things well.
- Think about how you integrate your activities to maximise bang for buck and harness existing resources including service team.
- Put in place a schedule of activity – engage relevant team members and agree timings, roles and responsibilities.
MEASURE THE RESULTS AND IMPROVE, REFINE, IMPROVE
- Measure activity on an ongoing basis. Review against key performance indicators and consider what’s working and what’s not working so well.
- Refine activity based on what’s working and scale back what isn’t working.
And if you want communications to be strategic and support the leadership in delivering organisational outcomes, then it’s important to give Communications Leads a seat at the table and access to key information – at the beginning of the process, not the end.
We know from experience that the projects and programs where we’ve been able to add most value are those where the leadership understands the role of effective communications and engages us in a clear process of planning and delivery.
Sigmund Freud said “Thought is action in rehearsal.”
If you wish to evaluate the effectiveness of your communications strategies from 2019 and set your sights on new goals and objectives for the year ahead, why not employ Edmonds Marketing to facilitate a strategic planning exercise?
For further information on how we can assist your organisation to deliver effective strategic marketing and communications, contact Sophy on email@example.com or call us on 07 3175 9905.