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Category: Strategic Communications Planning

Clarity of Objectives: A Cautionary Tale

As you might have already gathered, I spend a lot of time delivering upbeat exhortations to clients about the importance of well-defined objectives in communications planning. While that’s indispensable, sometimes there’s no teacher like experience. And so I offer here a real-world example—from my own loss column, so it doesn’t have to turn up in…

It’s About Progress, not Perfection

It’s all too easy, when we’re thinking about how to be better strategic communicators, to shrink in dismay at the distance between where we and our organizations are now, on one hand, and where we should be, on the other. Throwing up our hands and adopting a “can’t get there from here” attitude of resignation…

Taking Credit Where Credit is Due

Do you feel that it’s difficult to explain—and take credit for—the contribution that your communications efforts make to the overall success of your organization? Sometimes it’s hard for communicators to take credit for big picture outcomes such as the number of new members recruited, rate of client satisfaction, revenue, or influence leading to a regulatory…

Be an Action Hero

So you’ve laid out a brilliant communications strategy, with clear goals, indices of success and messages—congratulations! Next, it’s time to move from the lofty levels of strategy down to the thickets of tactics. A tactical action plan is where the strategy all comes together, since it lays out the implementation schedule that will make your…

Evaluating Outcomes – Focus on the What, not the How

In this blog I usually try not to get overly technical and scare people—but sometimes we all have to brace ourselves and embrace the technical. So here goes! Imagine that you’re off to see your GP for an annual physical. Think about how she might assess your overall health. Obviously, many indicators would be relevant—your…

Get up in that crow’s nest and scan

If you’re giving communications advice that always keeps in mind your organization’s major goals, you’re doing well. And if you’re giving that advice against the context of what’s going on outside your office walls, you’re doing much, much better. Developing skills in public environment analysis, and building knowledge of your own organization’s issue environment, can enhance…

Communications Begins at Home

It often amazes me to see that amid the oceans of material written about strategic communications planning, virtually nothing is said about how communications advisors operate on their ‘home turf’, in relation to senior management and colleagues in program or policy shops. It’s a peculiar omission, because the way in which you approach internal client…

Strategic is a State of Mind

You’ve almost certainly received dozens of flyers or emails selling you on books, workshops and webinars on ‘How to Be Strategic’. The word is used so often that we’ve lost track of what it means. You might think it’s nothing but another bit of corporate-speak tossed around to make things sound fancier. But something real…

At a Loss for Words

It’s not often that I’m at a loss for words. But that’s precisely what happened recently during a workshop I was hosting on best practices in strategic communications planning. The theme of my presentation was that as communicators we are being asked to do more with less and that there has never been a more…

Message Architecture

Messaging is the unsung hero of communications. I am struck that with few exceptions, organizations tend to invest relatively significant amounts of time, effort and money on communication vehicles (such as websites, brochures, annual reports and speeches) with relatively little focus on the core product of those vehicles – messages. That strikes me as a…