Doesn’t matter, if it’s about difficult or blooming time, you must always have a profound strategy – both business and communication strategies. They are must-have docs before launching any type of businesses. How to write a business strategy is not my department, but how to build a communication strategy is mine. Therefore I have collected those 8 components, which you should definitely take into consideration and include into your comm strategy. From time to time revising those points is also useful to be able to adapt yourself to economy, market, customer demand related or any other changes.
I do believe, giving you a big picture, listing all of them and deep-diving into most of them will be helpful, since I often experience that one or more steps are missing from business comm plans.
Before jumping into the details there is one more thing: please be noted that this article doesn’t contain brand positioning and brand identity building steps. In my framework it is a separate part.
Ok, so everything is clear, let’s start the comm strategy development! 😉
Sounds boring and unnecessary in a smallbiz? No! Firstly you need to know, where you are going to launch your business, so you need to discover economic, social and technological environment, furthermore industry trends and competitors. Then putting together a profound SWOT analyze is the next step.
Check it not only at your target country/region level, but also at global level. Doesn’t matter, if it is prosperity or crisis, you must see the big picture.
Due to gender, age etc. differences product/service demands are diverse. You need to know it (again) at your target market level and also at international level.
Technological environment & Industry trends
Amongst others this research shows you where you are launching from technical perspective, what types of advantages/disadvantages you have, what are your customer demands, what are their overall expectations on products / services and deep-diving into your closer environment may give you new ideas to your business and communication developments.
If you have competitors, it is a good sign, it means, there is a need for your product. Watch your competitors’ communications and business models, you can learn a lot from them. But remember: you need to distinguish yourself, therefore already at this stage think about what is your USP (unique selling proposition), what you can highlight in your communication.
An in some cases also legal and environmental perspectives are necessary to have a bigger focus.
Then put together a profound SWOT analyze – It is very important, it is a summary of your research, a real picture of and an objective feedback on your actual business. It helps you see clearly, on what strengths you can build on, what weaknesses you should compensate, what opportunities you can take the advantage of and also helps you prepare for all potential threats.
From communication’s perspective it is very important to know what strengths you can highlight in your comms materials. And it is crucial to see what weaknesses or threats you have, because later based on them you can prepare your crisis comm plan, reactive statements, FAQs or whatever you need. I always emphasize it so much, because I have seen examples, when weaknesses and threats were ignored, and then an unexpected recession destroyed all good plans.
2. SEGMENTATION & TARGET GROUPS
Targeting the right people allows your business to thrive. If you know exactly, who your target audience is, you can make the right product offers to them and formulate the most catchy and engaging messages to them. And that is needed, if you want them to buy your product or service.
So it is very important to do a segmentation and exactly define who are your potential customers. Then your whole communication have to depend on who you want to reach: your chosen communication channels (online or offline platforms, TikTok or LinkedIn social media channels etc.) your applied communication tools (educative blog article or entertaining video snippet etc.) have to be adjusted to your potential customers and all your messages have to resonate with them.
It is crucial to clarify who are your target groups, if B2B or B2C sales you want to do, because your whole communication (comm channels, tools, messages, style) will be different accordingly.
When you define your B2C target groups (primary and secondary ones as well), detail them amongst others based on their demography (age, gender, status, salary etc.), geography, characteristics, interests (hobbies, loved brands, liked pages etc.), behaviors (product usage, purchase etc.), purchase habits etc. And highlight their pain points with needs, desires and your offered solutions with products.
As for B2B communication, business interests should be one of your main approaches. Of course industry, geography, business size and phase etc., too, and their pain points with your offered solutions are essential here, too.
Well done, if you have defined your specific target groups. But is it sure that people in your head will be indeed your customers? Every time validate your target groups not just directly prior to your business launch, but earlier, before finalizing your product components, prototype and/or your service. What does it mean? Check if they have indeed those problems, needs and desires what you think and in what you help them with your product/service. Check if they are indeed interested in your solution and resonate with your messages. And check if they have indeed those characteristics what you have described beforehand.
Later separately I will write more about validation, but till then I cannot emphasize too often, how much it is important to target the right people with the right messages on the right comm channels and for this you need to make sure everything and know those people in very detailed.
3. BUSINESS GOALS & KPIs
Communication goals have to be always aligned to your business goals. What are your business goals? What are your business KPIs? What is your timing? What are your milestones? … and so on …
All communication goals like brand awareness building or lead generation have to be adjusted to those business goals, and all comm channels, tools & contents have to be applied according to them, so definitely include those business goals into your comm strategy.
Sometimes you have to make some marketing or PR related shifts in order to properly support your sales & overall business goals, but it’s ok, accept all challenges and make the best of every situation.
And don’t forget about your key performance indicators (KPIs)! Having measurable targets and successes are very useful and strongly recommended so that you can see what is behind the certain big picture, how your marketing & PR work contributed to the sales and the overall business results and what are the fruits of your hard communication efforts. The rule the same also here: adjust your comm KPIs to the business ones.
Some examples on annual comms KPIs:
- Total number of newsletter subscribers
- Avg. number of daily website visitors
- Total number of social media followers
- Avg. social media reach (organic)
- Social media engagement rate
- Total annual press reach
- Total reach by online/offline events
- Total number of leads
4. STRATEGIES & TACTICS
5. BUDGET & ROI
6. RISK ANALYZE
7. COMMUNICATION PLAN
8. ACTION PLAN
How does your communication strategy look like? What is included into it? Have you put it together?