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Category: Strategic Communications Planning

Messaging, the Unsung Hero of Communications

Organizations tend to invest relatively significant amounts of time, effort and money on communication vehicles (such as websites, brochures, and annual reports) with relatively little focus on the core product of those vehicles – messages. This leads to rather unsatisfying messages, most often seen as a laundry list of “Key Messages” that a spokesperson may…

Measurement Matters

If you’re operating in an organizational culture that’s highly focused on measurement, think about what gets measured and how that information is valued. It usually makes sense to follow the existing language and structure when shaping your evaluation work. For example, if your organization currently uses a dashboard to capture data from its operations group,…

Employee Communications and Engagement 2.0

Today’s digital tools provide us with unparalleled opportunities to connect and engage with employees in creative and meaningful ways. We now have the potential and opportunity to drive organizational performance by providing relevant content and establishing a one-to-one communication experience – even in large, multinational organizations. This is crucial since engagement is an individual experience…

Outside-in Thinking

Top-flight strategic communicators bring what I call ‘outside-in’ thinking to their organizations. That is, the ability and instinct to see how an issue, initiative or activity will play out among audiences and stakeholders. To bring outside-in thinking to your organization, become the advocate for your audience by using the following: Prime your insight by reading…

The Change Agent’s Dilemma: Planning in a World that Keeps Changing

For the last dozen years, I’ve devoted my career to strategic communications planning, having developed and applied the Results Map methodology in the field. I’ve had the opportunity to work on hundreds of strategic plans – large and small, for the public and private sectors, all focused on aligning internal and external communications to organizational…

What does it mean to think strategically?

Thinking strategically takes discipline, clarity and quite frankly, guts. It may stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Often, it requires challenging the familiar status quo by driving conversations beyond a tactical level toward broader outcomes and results. The trick to thinking strategically is to cultivate the habit of having a laser like focus on outcomes…

Asking the Right Questions

Here are the questions I recommend as arsenal for every strategic communicator heading into a tough meeting or assignment: What does success look like? Why this, why now? What are the project or corporate objectives? What are the communications objectives? How can effective communications help advance the project objective? What are the main risks/opportunities? Thinking…

Stakeholder Mapping: Understanding Your Audiences’ Natural Habitat

One of the most powerful shifts you can make to sharpen the focus and impact of your communications activities is in how you think about audiences. Traditionally, in a communications plan, you’ll see a list of audiences presented in a linear fashion. Very often, it looks like a massive laundry list of everyone we might…

The Internal Communications Formula

Authenticity + Faces = Trust To be credible and useful, messaging of an internal communications strategy must be authentic. Leaders need to speak in their own voice; be transparent even when the news is difficult; and most importantly, demonstrate that the organization encourages employees to speak truth to power. A second vital point to remember…

Are you painting by numbers, or connecting the dots?

One of the most powerful ways in which communicators can contribute unique, strategic value is by connecting the dots in our organizations. Connecting the dots is about cultivating the habit of seeing the inter-connections between issues, information and trends which may otherwise seem unrelated on the surface. This ability to connect the dots is what…