Comms without strategy: an expensive stroll to nowhere

Did you ever hear that old line about all publicity being good publicity?

Granted, some mitigating context might have been lost in the sands of time, but taken at face value, whoever said that either possessed all the strategic acumen of a potato or cared more about pith than prowess.

You can probably already think of some examples of bad publicity, but there’s an even bigger problem of neutral, tepid, lukewarm, and quite frankly beige publicity. And unless you have truly unlimited time and budget, that’s a problem, because it squanders resources that could be spent more profitably. It’s a slow road to nowhere in particular.

Anyone with a fat enough wallet can gain attention. Pay someone to tattoo your brand name on their back and streak outside Buckingham Palace if that’s all you care about. Attention for its own sake is the credo of the toddler.

Strategy is about doing it smarter, and sweating every pound, dollar and euro for every drop of value it can offer.

Strategy is about matching the right message to the right audience so that they can be influenced in line with your business goals, before going onto establish the right formats and channels to reach them by.

Strategy is the foundation on which all communications materials and campaigns should be built. It keeps everything on the right path, minimising or eliminating false-steps or wasted energies (and budgets).

It may sound obvious in theory, but it is easy to overlook in practice. There are so many ways it can happen:

Too many cooks

Multiple stakeholders with slightly different viewpoints and agendas feed in, and without a strong guiding hand the end-result pulls ineffectively in several directions rather than effectively in one.

Lazy assumptions

For most businesses, there isn’t time to get to know every potential customer personally, so some degree of grouping is unavoidable. But it’s about balance. Not all money managers play golf; not all pensioners settle down with a tea and biscuit to listen to the Archers. Dig a little deeper.

Half-baked messaging

Are you the category leader at the bleeding edge of innovation in your sector? Yeah well, you and everyone else. To cut through and gain any manner of leadership, this is a process that needs a little more rigour.

A gap between business goals and communications goals

A typical business goal might be to increase sales, a typical communications goal might be to grow the Twitter follower account. Okay – but why? How do the two fit together? Sure, you could retrofit a general explanation for how greater followers means greater brand awareness, which means a greater addressable audience to sell to – but if you were to start from the business goal and work outwards to communications goals, would that be the one you arrived at? Maybe, but make sure the gap is bridged – and with more than rickety post-hoc rationalisations.

That’s where we come in. As communications experts embedded in your industry, we’re in the unique position of being able to both stand in your shoes and give an outside perspective. We can help you strengthen the foundations of your communications with sound strategy, refining your messaging, finessing your audience personas and fine-tuning your choice of tactics. Any less and you risk spending your budget on treading water.

Good communications that deliver a return to your business require the right message to go to the right audience in the right way. And Aspectus just might be the right partner to make that happen.

By Chris Bowman

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