No two communications strategies are alike—partly because every organization that needs to promote its message should take advantage of its unique strengths, but also because the very concept of “promoting your message” also means standing out and doing something new.
At Interplay Creative Media, we work closely with our clients to develop communications strategies, because we know that you know your organization best; our task is to identify the gaps in your organization’s knowledge, research the communications challenge at hand, ensure that you’re taking all the essential variables into account, and create an environment where creative and effective approaches to communications can come to the fore.
This approach follows six essential steps.
1. Analyze the current situation
We start by determining what the communications strategy should address. Our research usually involves a document review, interviews with key informants, and an analysis of your organization’s communications strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and weaknesses.
2. Investigate audiences
Essential to your communications strategy is an understanding of the people and groups whose actions and attitudes can help you reach your business goals: Who are they? How do they communicate? What information do they need about you, and how should they obtain it?
We may recommend a variety of investigative tools to answer these questions—ranging from interviews to opinion surveys and focus groups—with the ultimate goal of establishing targets for what you want each of your primary audiences to know, feel, and do over the course of the communications program. Where possible, we also develop targets for secondary audiences.
3. Develop messages
For each primary audience, we develop key messages that convey information and effect change in knowledge, attitude, or behaviour. With a strong emphasis on message content, audience-appropriate language, messengers, formats, and delivery mechanisms, we establish a clearly differentiated position, and provide the explanations and supporting evidence that help audiences to understand and support your products or ideas.
Where budgets and deadlines allow, we will test these messages with the audiences through focus groups arranged through our client’s preferred market-research agency.
4. Define options and provide recommendations
Our strategic development process aims to address the best mix of audiences, messages and communication methods—and takes into account the roles of face-to-face communications, controlled media (such as websites, videos, posters, promotional items, and newsletters), and relationships with influencers (such as broadcasters, bloggers, and print journalists).
Interplay’s proposed communications campaign will also include a brief description of planned advertising, public relations, events, and strategies targeting people from specific population groups; other options include details of complementary communications activity to be undertaken by stakeholder groups and, if needed, an issues-management strategy.
We review these options with our clients, allowing you to select an approach that matches your management preferences and financial resources.
5. Plan communications
With the general elements of the strategy in place, we can establish action plans that include assignment of responsibilities, allocation of budgets and the setting up of control mechanisms. We also provide a project-management plan that indicates when the program should start and finish, and any specific dates that must be accommodated, such as conferences and stakeholder events.
6. Monitor and evaluate
Finally, we define methods for monitoring the communications program through routine tracking and reporting of progress against indicators that can be periodically compared to a baseline.
We also put forward an evaluation approach that allows you to determine the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of your communications, leading to informed decisions about future resource allocations.
Would this approach help your organization? Contact us today for a no-fee consultation.