Communicating Your Message: Engaging the Media & Building Strategy

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Communicating Your Message: Engaging the Media & Building Strategy. Canadian Fair Trade Network January 11, 2014 Karin Basaraba, ABC. Agenda. Session overview Introductions Purpose of a communications plan Elements of an communication plan Developing your communication plan. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Communicating Your Message:Engaging the Media & Building Strategy

Canadian Fair Trade NetworkJanuary 11, 2014Karin Basaraba, ABC

1AgendaSession overviewIntroductionsPurpose of a communications planElements of an communication planDeveloping your communication planWhat is communications?The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. Oxford Dictionary

Communication is strategic when it is completely consistent with a corporations mission, vision, values and is able to enhance the strategic positioning and competitiveness of the organization. Financial Times Lexicon

There are many definitions of communications. At its very basic, communications can be defined as:

The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.

But strategic communications, when you talk about it from a business sense, is a little different. I like this definition:

Communication is strategic when it is completely consistent with a corporations mission, vision, values and is able to enhance the strategic positioning and competitiveness of the organization.

The point to stress is that good business communications needs to tie back to the business. The first question to ask is not, what type of communications do I want to use?, but, what business problem am I trying to solve?3

What is a communications plan?Its a like a road map to help you plan your route from where you are now to where you want to be from a communications perspective.

It identifies some key factors: what youre trying to achieve who you need to communicate with what your going to say to them how youre going to reach them how youll determine if you achieved your goal

It can be general (meaning its an overall plan to raise awareness about your business) or could be developed for a special event.

A communication plan takes into consideration many different approaches to achieve your goals. It doesnt have to be complicated or long. And it will change over time.4Business Need & OpportunityAudience AnalysisGoals & ObjectivesSolution OverviewMeasurement & Evaluation

Business Need & Opportunity

Audience Analysis

Goals & Objectives

Solution Overview

Measurement & EvaluationElements of a communications planA communication plan is about developing an overall strategy for communicating something about your business. Sometimes it can fall out of a business plan.

There are key components of a communication plan:

Business need and opportunityAudience analysisGoals and objectivesSolution overviewMeasurement & Evaluation

Were now going to explore each of these.

As I go through each of the elements, Ill give you some examples of what these look like. Then Deena will help you draft each of these elements into your own template, so you should leave with a rough sketch of a communications plan for your business.

51. Business Need & Opportunity Sets the stage for the rest of the planBackground of your organization: who you arewhat you dowhen you beganwhere you operatewhy you exist (your purpose)All communications should help achieve a business goal, so this is where you describe what problem or challenge you are trying to address with communications.

Youll want to describe your business background, which includes:

who you arewhat you dowhen you beganwhere you operatewhy you exist (your purpose)

Adding these elements into the plan will help you focus the communications strategy specifically on your business.

61. Business Need & Opportunity cont.Explain the business and communications environment and specific challengesUse research to back up the business need and the direction of the communications planAlign the communications opportunity and the business need by explaining how the project will help the organizationMost important: what is the business problem that you are trying to solve, and what will happen if you dont do this communications project?

Things that youll want to include in your plan are:

Explain the business and communications environment and specific challenges

Talk about how your business is positioned, what are its strengths, its areas for improvement. What communications vehicles do you currently have set up?

Use research to back up the business need and the direction of the communications plan

If you have any research about your audience or your business, its good to include this as well. For example, if you know that a study was done on how people in your area like to buy things, include that research. It will help you determine how your business might fit in.

Align the communications opportunity and the business need by explaining how the project will help the organization

Its not enough to say: We need a website, or, We want to do an event. Why do you want to do this? Are your sales low? Would this project boost your employee morale? Save your companys reputation? Make people aware of your business?

Most important: what is the business problem that you are trying to solve, and what would happen if you didnt do this communications project?

7Business Need & Opportunity:EXAMPLEMothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada) is a charitable, grassroots organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims/survivors of this violent crime.

Each and every year, thousands of Canadians are killed or injured in impaired driving crashes. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a terrible crime that touches all our lives. It is an irresponsible, dangerous and intolerable act.

MADD Canada strives to offer support services to victims/survivors and their families and friends, heighten awareness about the dangers of alcohol and/or drug-impaired driving, and to save lives and prevent injuries on our roads.

The holiday season is fast approachinga busy time of year for MADD. While instances of drunk driving are down across the country, stats show that people still tend to drink and drive after holiday parties. MADD needs to continue to educate the public and change perception around drunk driving, so that people will make safer choices this holiday season after drinking.82. Audience AnalysisWho are you trying to reach?Things to consider:AgeGenderCommunications preferencesAttitudesEducationLanguage spokenDemographics (how much money do they make, where do they live, how do they like to buy things)Ideally backed by research

Effective communication doesnt happen until the audience receives and understands the message.

Its important to know who you are trying to reach because not everyone will respond to the same type of communication.

All of these factors should be taken into consideration when developing your tactics, which is the actions that you will take to carry out your plan.

92. Audience Analysis cont.Break your audiences into segmentsMales who are 18-25 years oldYoung mothersMale farmersAvoid the general publicTry not to list more than threeHow do these groups relate to your business goal?

Segments are the specific groups that you are trying to reach.

The general public is never an audience you can always be more specific.

Try not to list more than three audience segments. You will probably end up reaching more people than your target audiences, but its important to focus your communications on a few specific groups.

10Audience Analysis: EXAMPLEStatistics show that men between the ages of 45 and 65 are most likely to choose to drive drunk after a holiday party. These are men who grew up during a time where driving drunk was socially acceptable, and there were little legal consequences for doing so.

The Toronto chapter of MADD wanted to target white collar men who were coming home from office holiday parties. They knew that these men were well educated, and usually made more than $100,000 per year. They tended to live a more suburban lifestyle and relied heavily on their cars to get to and from work. They seldom took cabs.

MADD also wanted to focus on a secondary audience: their wives. MADD knew that if they could also have their message reach those who were likely to be with them at these parties, they would have a better success rate. These women were around the same age, and typically equally as educated.

113. Goals & ObjectivesWhy set goals and objectives?What is a goal?Long-term aim that you want to accomplishBig picture aims, general intentionsFor example: All products sold in our stores are Fair Trade.Goals cant be measured.

Setting meaningful goals and objectives that are relevant to the business need is critical to measure the success of the program.

It will help you learn and grow, and provide good research for your next communications program.

Goals generally describe what you want to accomplish in a broad sense.

Goals are big and cant really be measured or reached. It is aspirational, and something that you would strive towards.

123. Goals & Objectives cont.What is an objective?Should be S.M.A.R.T:SpecificMeasurableAchievableRelevantTime-boundObjectives clearly define the desired outcome, or what success will look like, and they are measurable and set targets.

They are realistic, meaningful, and believable; aligned with the needs of the business.

A good way to create a meaningful objective is to use the SMART formula:

Specific: describes a desired outcome.Measurable: needs to have a number.Achievable: challenging, but still possible.Relevant: contributes to the business goal in a meaningful way.Time-bound: inclu