What makes a good communication strategy and how it should be implemented?

Strategia kuvituskuva

Paavo Kytölä

Mission, Vision and Communications

A good communication strategy implements an organization’s main objectives. Before planning a communication strategy, the organization’s main strategy should be accepted since the communication strategy should be derived from the main strategy. Also, the organization’s mission and vision should guide and support the communication strategy’s planning operations.

Why the mission and vision should make the basis for communication strategy? 

Mission justifies your organization’s existence and at the same time, it also gives a fundamental reason for competing for your customers’ attention.  Every objective in communication strategy should take your organization’s long-term objectives further. If the communication strategy is separated from the main strategy, they might dilute each other’s objectives and make the focus areas blurred. To simplify, start with the main strategy and then proceed to the communication strategy.

In the ideal situation, the communication strategy also supports the organization’s main strategy and its objectives. They should share the same values, target audience and top-level objectives. Also, the main challenges and the operating environment of the organization should be considered. When these factors have been taken into account and analyzed, the organization can make strategic choices:

  • Which entireties do we want our target audience to acknowledge?
  • What kind of communicating do we carry out?
  • What are the preferred communication tools and channels?
  • What is the minimum requirement for communication between units/departments/teams/people?
  • Should we utilize some communication aspects from outside of our organization?

Once the communication strategy is written to text format, make sure that it is visible and editable for people responsible for the organization’s communication.

Metrics from up to down

Compared to the main strategy, the communication strategy should also provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s current situation and aiming points. Also, risks should be identified and assessed similarly to the main strategy.

After this, KPI metrics can be chosen to evaluate and monitor the objective’s success. Like other strategies, the communication strategy should be distinct and easily understandable. In communication, you can use adjectives, such as bold, different, caring and equal to clarify and enliven your message.

Measure monthly, quarterly and annually where and how your organization’s main messages have been rooted, what is the tone of your social media appearance, and how much does this appearance gain new visitors to your organization’s website. You will get useful data that can be compared to the initial values. Go through the selected KPIs in commonly agreed time-cycles and allocate resources to the sections that need to be developed. If your organization’s strategic objective is to gain more market share abroad, the management should actively involve the communication department to contribute their substance to the objective.

From blueprint to action

Good communication is always reactive and in addition to the communication strategy, you will need a plan (usually weekly or monthly) to execute your communication strategy. Like the main strategy, communication strategy also needs to be implemented and cascaded.

One good way of executing the communication strategy is to divide the monitored actions under three main topics since these are managed and measured a bit differently:

  1. Outsourced communication and media attention. Your organization needs to have a budget for this, and the selected operating models should be as effective as possible.
  2. In-house communication and media attention. These actions are executed internally by utilizing in-house expertise. The cost structure of these operations consists of employees’ time resources and optional chargeable communication system. The approachability and effectiveness of a message can be noticeable when high-quality communication is seen as an ongoing routine. Also, challenge your older colleagues to share their expertise in social media.
  3. Accomplished media attention. Aim to a situation where third-party players do the communicating for you. Thus, your organization will be acknowledged by people without you having to allocate any human or financial resources. Try to push your communication and the main messages outside of your organization and if necessary, enrich It with comments, interviews and extra material. Hard work pays off!

Finally, agree who is responsible for which action and create a schedule for each action. Who will communicate internally end externally in the case of a crisis? How are the organization’s other units involved? Are there any upcoming press releases or events? When you have named responsible people for each action, involve these persons to the planning table. Agree on common rules, schedule and budget. Most of all, rejoice and communicate your success internally and externally!

Find out how LATO Strategy Tool can support your organization’s communication strategy by testing it for free here!

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