Strategic Communications

Effective communication is an important attribute of success!

It is important for all companies to develop an integrated communications capability within their organization, so that every customer, investor, and employee will be left with a positive impression.

Engaging strategic communications will enhance your overall reputation and the important value of your brand. Strategic communications takes structured planning and alignment around a defined set of specific goals and desired outcomes.

Three major areas of focus:

1. Establishing a Strong Strategic Foundation

Communications should be viewed as a strategic imperative for all high performance organizations. Senior leadership need to set the stage for the importance of communications with a clear mission, a statement of purpose, and objectives that convey the benefits that an integrated communications capability will bring to the organization.

Managing communications in an integrated way will require a new set of behaviors at all levels of the organization - behaviors that embrace a process and apply set standards for all communications efforts. This requires a strong foundation with executive-level alignment and endorsement to get where you hope to go.

2. Having The Right Plan

The next step is to develop a detailed plan that guides the creative efforts of your internal team and their external partners, using a What/How/Who model.

What Planning - This captures decisions about the nature of different corporate and product messages. Simply put, reasons why a consumer should buy your product, or information about your company.

How Planning - Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of alternative channels for delivering your message. Traditional media, social media, blogs, audio, video, etc.

Who Planning – Identify the target audience you want to reach. This identifies specific objectives and strategies for a particular group — investors, users, employees, etc. It will allow you to plan and measure explicitly for them, while simultaneously ensuring integration with other audience initiatives.

Calendars - Create a communication-planning calendar to view the frequency and scope of your messaging. This is a tool that will be used by the entire leadership team to align behind key messages and deliverables.

Standards - A strict set of standards, processes and guidelines are important for achieving creative excellence for all team members, regardless of location or function, and regardless of whether they have responsibility for internal or external communication.

3. The Communications Team

Assembling the right team with the knowledge and passion to do the job in an exemplary way is imperative. They must be experienced in strategic communications, either through their education or their professional background.

Start by appointing a person who can bring this type of leadership, who has the heart to understand the essence of the company, and who can mentor and motivate employees. Give them an executive-level position to signal the importance of this role to the organization.

Recruit new players and external partners who can bring you the newest strategies, methods, and technologies, and who have the zeal to create communications that will make your company proud and help you achieve your goals.

Six Steps For Towards Developing a Communications Plan

  1. Define and write down the communication plan objectives. For the public relations and media plan to be successful, it is critical to first determine and clearly define the objective.

  2. Define short and long-term goals in achieving the objectives. The goals must be SMART - specific, measurable, results-oriented and time-bound.

  3. Determine the target audience - employees, users, stock holders, etc.. Understand who is it that you want to reach with the campaign What do you want your key message to be?

  4. Develop a schedule for the PR communication campaigns. Create synergy by coinciding the plan with other marketing and business efforts.

  5. Develop the plan of attack. What communication vehicles to use to get the message out to the public?

    [ Media releases  |   Story pitches   |   Interviews   |   Rapid response to breaking news   |   Editorial calendars   |   Blogs   |   Contributed articles   |   Speaking engagements   |   Events   |   Customer Success Stories  |   Letters to the Editor  |   Press Conferences or Media Tours  |   Seminars or Speaking Engagements ]

  6. Put measures in place to track the results of the public relations campaign. After each campaign sit down and review the results. Did you achieve the defined objectives and goals of this campaign? Should you consider modifying your original plan? If so, how and why?