We’ve developed communication strategies for a number of businesses over the years across government, consumer brands, large corporates and small business – both internal and external communication strategies to customers, employees, community and stakeholders.
Most of the brands we’ve worked on involved developing a communications strategy at one point in time.
In many cases, we were briefed on communications strategy, yet during our initial briefing and discovery sessions, uncovered that the business needed to start with a brand and marketing strategy.
Why? To understand and define target audience, positioning and key messages, personality and tone of voice; and to define and quantify objectives, customer goals and the role of communication in the brand (vs product, service, price, people, distribution etc).
Creative strategy may be needed at a brand level for the brand identity, or the brand creative idea. Or it might be needed at campaign level to help communicate the specific requirements of the campaign. Or you might need elements of all three.
You’ll need to understand questions 1-8 in order to develop the creative brief. When it comes to creative and media/touch-points, they’re best briefed together so both creative and media/touch-points inform and are informed by each other, to develop great creative and complete 9-10 of the questions to ask.
Another consideration is your budget. How much do you invest in the creative strategy, communications strategy and its execution thereof? Looking at the category, competitors and your own company and brand, consider the investment you need to make in order to achieve your objectives.
The key to successful communication strategies is understanding what are your objectives, who you are talking to and what you’ll talk to them about that will convince them to do or say what you want to achieve those objectives.
Then it’s making sure whatever you promise in your communications, you can and do deliver against. This is where aligning people across the business, brands, communications and experiences is critical to building trust and long-term valuable relationships.
A large part of setting communication strategies up for success is establishing long- and short-term KPIS to measure performance against objectives and provide a mechanism to evolve tactics first, then review strategies, whilst also revisiting the objectives you set in the first place to understand if they were realistic given all the variables. Did you invest enough? Was the creative and media/touch-points effective?
If your communication strategy is related to the brand e.g. you want to increase relevant brand awareness, that will have entirely different objectives, strategy and activities to a campaign such as convincing people to stop smoking, or advising the local community about the long term benefits and short term challenges of infrastructure changes, or immersing employees in the company strategy and helping them apply it to their everyday jobs.
However the key elements or questions to ask are the same.
Depending on your business needs and objectives, the deliverable could be a strategic overview of the communications strategy, an annual communications plan or a content strategy, it could involve creative and media/touch-points or simply provide a messaging matrix.