Does your brand have a plan? How will your brand communicate with its audience? Who is its audience? What message do you want to deliver? A strategic brand communications plan is an integral part of any branding effort. Integrating a strategic plan into your marketing efforts assures that you are reaching the right audience at the right time to drive results for your brand. It’s an analytical approach to creative efforts. Like any good strategy, a strategic brand communications plan should begin with research. While you might be able to guess the general audience for your products or services, you may be surprised to find additional market segments to tap into. Once you’ve completed research, it’s time to get down to the strategy. The following five components are the backbone of a brand communications strategy, and will inform the rest of your plan.
Identify the Audience: To WHOM do we need to communicate?
What is the audience for your products or services? Perhaps there are multiple audiences. Identifying your audience is the first step in your strategy.
Determine Goals and Objectives: WHY communicate? WHAT do we want to achieve?
Too often, brands communicate for the sake of communicating. Your communication efforts should always be in support of a larger organizational goal. If you own a burger stand, your goal might be to increase sales by 20 percent. Never lose sight of the goal when communicating.
Develop Key Messages: WHAT do we need to communicate?
Develop clear and concise messaging that communicates to your audience what you do and how you do it in simple, easily digestible copy.
Develop Tactical Plan: HOW will we communicate, to whom and when?
The tactical plan is the blueprint for your communications plan. A tactical plan should include a linear strategy for reaching your goals. Strategies and ground level tactics support goals. Creating an outline that shows how tactics support strategies, and strategies support goals, is a best practice for strategic brand communications planning.
Identify Measures of Evaluation: HOW will we know if we are successful?
Metrics are important. Whether or not you’ve reached your organizational goal should be fairly easy to determine (did sales increase by 20 percent?), but applying metrics to determine if your communications tactics and strategies were ultimately successful – and what role they played in reaching (or not reaching) your organizational goals can be more difficult. There are, however, various options for capturing these data, especially in digital communications. Whenever possible, apply outcome metrics instead of output metrics.
Think about these five basic components of a strategic brand communications plan and apply them to your organization. Are you communicating effectively? We can help! Fill out the form to the right to reach out.