WHEN SHOULD YOU ADOPT A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY AND WHAT SHOULD IT INCLUDE?

In deciding when your business or organisation is ready for a communication strategy the simple answer is; there’s no time like right now!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sole trader or a large business, you have a story to tell, clients or customers to talk to and a community of like-minded individuals to foster.

A communication strategy used to be put into action for a specific project, maybe to boost sales or deal with a crisis but businesses that operate this way have been left behind by competitors who have committed to developing and implementing an ongoing communication strategy.

Out there the marketplace is crowded, competitive and noisy. The fight for people’s attention is fierce. In order to survive and grow as a business you need to stand out from the crowd.

A compelling communication strategy is a ‘must have’ for every business and it needs to take into account your sales strategy, consumer research, competitor analysis and market insights. Its focus should not just be on external communication, it should also include internal communication as well. If your business has employees your communication strategy should also empower them to share good news about your company.

There are many different approaches to developing a communication strategy but the basic principles are the same. The following seven points outline things you need to consider before your business can develop a strategy.

1. Define your objective

  • What do you want to say and how do you want to say it?
  • How can communications help you achieve your objectives as a business? Your communications objectives must be rooted in the commercial aspirations of your business.

2. Determine your targets

  • Who do you want to say it to?
  • Building the profile of your target audience will help you to determine more clearly the direction of your communications strategy. Put simply, you need to get inside the head of your target audiences.

3. Define your story

  • Your ‘story’ should include your key messages and the essential points that you are trying to communicate.
  • Think about how your audience might respond to your messages. We have seen over many years how consumers of all types respond more positively to stories that deliver emotional connections.

4. Choose your channels

  • The media via which you communicate is the essential mechanism in your communication strategy. While there may be a temptation to try and cover every type of media channel e.g. print, online, broadcast, social media all at once, it is important to consider the relevance of each media channel for your specific communication objectives.

5. Ensure your budget matches your ambitions

  • Budgets and resources are always front and centre so make sure you match your communication strategy to your budget. The bigger the strategy, the bigger the budget you’ll need.
  • Set aside a budget that reflects:
    • Your priorities in terms of who you want to target and what you want their response to be
    • The resources you have at your disposal
    • The potential revenue that could be generated through successful communication

6. Resources and timescales

  • The key rule to observe is always to deliver what you promise and never over promise.
  • Use your resources and timescales to set realistic expectations and develop a case for more dedicated resources once the campaign is under way. 

7. Measure the outcomes

  • It’s often difficult to measure the total impact of a campaign as there can be intangible and other long-term benefits that may be difficult to calculate. There are always social media analytics to start with, but prior to starting your campaign look at how you will measure its success.

The advent of social media and other digital technologies has resulted in an explosion of communication channels. These channels are very dynamic and the speed of change and the amount of content they require to function effectively on behalf of a business can be overwhelming. That’s when businesses turn to Elevate to help develop a communication strategy, and ensure it’s executed effectively. We’d love to talk to you about a communication strategy for your business - no doubt reading this post will have given you a few things to think about before you talk to us!

 
Mel-Deacon

About the Author - Mel Deacon

Mel is the founder and CEO of Elevate Communication. She started the company in 2007 and has built it into one of the most successful, independent communication agencies in Australia.

In a career spanning more than 20 years, Mel has worked...


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