Being strategic is a state of mind – it’s about the discipline of taking a step back from the noise to consider how communications activities contribute to an organization’s desired end state. It’s also about finding creative solutions to help an organization maximize positive opportunity for profile or good will, while minimizing potential risk exposure.
Here are some avenues to explore in stepping up the value of your strategic contributions day-to-day:
Effective communications does not happen by accident. The key to effective communications is planning. Though communications often has an important function to play in being in a responsive or reactive posture, proactive communication generates more impact at less cost and less risk to the extent that it is planned.
Communications should be focused on results, rather than activity. Often, communicators are in the business of generating stuff – speeches, media releases and promotional materials. The communications function is much more effective when it is driven to generate results, such as increased rates of awareness, product sales, improved stakeholder relationships or strengthened internal alignment. The tactics are important, but they are fundamentally secondary to the primary alignment of the communications function toward solid outcomes.
Communications is a support function. It’s important not to communicate for the sake of communicating. To be strategic, communications must by definition be aligned to support and propel the organization’s mandate and objectives.
Plan communications from the inside out. Communications planning should always include consideration of employees as a key audience. Excluding them from communications activities can be erosive to internal engagement and trust. When planning communications, consider the concept of starting from the inside, then moving out to stakeholders, such as the Board of Directors and other key stakeholders as priority audiences, even if ultimately a communications activity is directed toward an external audience base.
See more here in our Best Practice Paper on Strategic Communications Planning.