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Communication Strategy: Where to Start?

A communication strategy enables you to oversee your communications activities by directing and coordinating them. It is the blueprint for how your communication will be shared. The strategy helps you reach your goals in efficient and agile ways.

Defining a communication strategy also means defining the company's positioning vis-à-vis its customers, employees and competitors. You can achieve this by starting with these 3 fundamental activities:

  • Assess your current strategy

What communications have brought the highest return on investment? What activity should have been successful in theory but in practice, was not? The answers to such questions will help you measure the success of your current strategy.

Think of the SWOT matrix - which consists of analyzing your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - as well as the PESTEL (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, environmental and legal) analysis of external factors. These methods will guide you into making a complete and thorough evaluation and are pertinent across all lines of business.

  • Set company goals

Now that you have a clear understanding of your company's current state, you can establish your goals. You should have short, medium as well as long term SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. These 5 elements allow you to come up with the most adequate strategy for your business. If one of these is missing, consider reviewing your goal or thinking outside the box to be able to aim for realistic and valuable targets.

For smaller companies or startups, goal setting will ultimately lead to prioritizing for the biggest impact.

  • Study your audiences

All communications will not be the same. A message will not be delivered internally the same way that it will be shared externally. A company should study their different audiences to understand what resonates more with them.

Targeting the audience is the first step. Learning about their spending habits, profession, social media use etc., is the second and decisive step.

Being granular is the key. From your usual audiences (customers, stakeholders, employees) you might have sub-audiences ( new customers, tenured employees...) to focus on.

The most appropriate communication channel, approach and tone should be identified for each audience and sub-audience.

After going through these 3 steps, you can start mapping out your strategy.

Your communication strategy is not be done and put aside. It should be referred to continuously as it is an evolving and ongoing process.

It is done upstream of the communication plan, which formally lists each communication to be delivered, to whom, how and why.

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