A communication strategy really does serve a purpose, it isn’t just something you read once and set on a shelf. It should be your roadmap to meeting your business goals, whether it is awareness, generating leads or recruiting talent.
Still not convinced? Here are 10 signs you need a communication strategy.
- Elevator pitch. You don’t have one or if you do it has never been communicated to your employees, investors or customers. Do a quick poll, ask a few of your employees how they describe the company to customers, friends or family. Then take note and put the process in place to fix it.
- Purpose. If you have a strategic plan or have overall goals set for the business, how are your communication efforts supporting that? Do you even know what you are doing in terms of marketing? Who is managing it? A plan gives you purpose as a company, it is your guid
- IT. If your IT department is managing your email marketing, social media accounts and website, you are WAY overdue for a marketing strategy/overhaul. IT stands for information technology, they are talented individuals that ensure computers, software, programs, etc. run properly. Most of the time, these employees don’t interact with your customers…so why the hell would you put them in charge of your communication? Have you ever held more than a 15 minute conversation with your IT help desk?
- Assets. Do you know what exists in print or the digital space that has your company name on it? Do you know how many Facebook pages or Twitter accounts you have? What about LinkedIn? Are you employees starting ones under the company? If so, how are they representing you? If you have no idea what is out there, how can you properly utilize all of your channels?
- Stock photography. If you are using pictures of random people sitting around a board room table all holding hands or using computers from the early 2000s…you might need a communication strategy. Every piece of material that is seen by the public should be uniform, with approved imagery, font, logo and messaging. Please, for all that is good and holy, invest in a photographer and create your own image library. If you want customers to relate to you, they do need to know you are not a 30 year old white man that employs only other 30 year old white men.
- Brand. Do you have a brand guide? Maybe it’s just me, but I am pretty Type A. I want to lay eyes on anything that 834 produces as it relates to the company brand. Our creative director put together a brand guide that illustrates proper usage, font, colors and also shows what not to do. Every single employee should lay eyes on your brand or style guide so they know what is expected.
- Messaging. This is similar to your elevator pitch. It is a little like the telephone game (totally just aged myself), if your messaging is muddled to begin with then by the time it reaches the 10th or 100th person, it isn’t even close to representing your company. A strategy maps out all your channels and how your brand is communicated through them. What is your brand personality? Promise?
- Vision. Is your entire company on board with the company vision? Do they know what it is? Every single employee should understand company goals, from customer service to front desk to sales to operations to the custodian – every one. Your reputation will only grow as each employee buys in and feels like they are contributing to achieving the company vision.
- Sales is siloed. Your sales team should not be creating their own material, presentations, emails or other customer communication. This is where the sweet stock photography comes in, don’t even get me started on copyright infringement – this alone is reason to invest in a marketing strategy or better yet, an agency. It is your job to provide your sales team with the tools they need to land business, if they are spending half their time writing copy, creating a brochure, setting up networking events…then they sure as hell aren’t selling.
- Measure. Part of crafting a communications strategy is measuring success. If you have no idea what marketing efforts are successful then you can’t replicate that success. Measuring how your customers hear about you, interact with you and perceive you are what allows companies to continue to grow and prosper.
A written strategy is just the first step in defining your communications planning, some would say it is the easiest with the hardest being the implementation. The strategy determines your purpose, defines your audience and maps out your tools and tactics. If you don’t have a strategy you are just throwing shit against the wall and hoping something will stick..and once it does you will have no idea how to replicate it.