Strategy is a word that can be over-used to the point of triteness, but it remains a key differentiator between successful and unsuccessful communications programs. Communications strategy is captured in a discrete plan, but it should be thought of as an overarching process that guides a communications program at every point in its lifecycle. From setting and vetting communication goals, to ensuring the strategy is targeted by audience, message, and channel, to measuring the ultimate impact, strategy is a continuous process and the backdrop against which your communications should be conducted.
The goal of communications is persuasive impact, and as such, communications should be focused, measurable, and tightly aligned to business goals. Aligning to business goals provides the “hard” benefit of business results and the “soft” benefit of clarity and unity of corporate purpose. Communications goals should be focused and targeted to avoid diluting your potential effect. Finally, communications’ impact can be difficult to quantify but measurement is critical to ensure you are getting a return on your investment of time and effort. Kimber White Communications consultants guide you through the process of setting and vetting your communications goals to ensure you will get the maximum impact.
All effective communications are audience-centric. Too often we see communications that are speaker-centric and relatively audience-agnostic, which virtually guarantees lower communications impact. The most important thing to remember about communications is that it isn’t about you. Yes, you have messages that you want to deliver, but your approach should always be focused on your audience’s cognitive, emotional, and social context and how it influences their ability to hear, understand, and respond to your messages. Kimber White Communications consultants offer extensive experience with audience mapping and building targeted communications programs.
Your messages need to be clear, compelling, and coherent. The more your messages have these three characteristics, the more likely they are to be understood, remembered, and acted upon. Messages need to be reiterated and consistent over time, so message development should be thoughtfully considered and appropriately labored over. In addition, communicators must pay attention to the “negative space” around their messages; the sub-messages they are inadvertently delivering with their intended messages. Kimber White Communications consultants ensure the messages you deliver are the right ones and only the right ones.
Communications should be approached from a systemic perspective, meaning that the full complexity of its domain is acknowledged and leveraged. An effective communications program considers all of its audiences, potential channels, and executions to ensure cohesion, coherence, and ultimately, continuous improvement. An effective program does not consist of a couple speeches here and a few articles there. It considers all the ways to develop and deliver messaging and creates the structure necessary to optimally achieve communication goals. Kimber White Communications consultants have decades of experience developing and executing communications programs that deliver maximum impact for you.
Within a communications program, there will often be multiple discrete campaigns. These campaigns target a specific message or audience for focused attention. From corporate events (e.g., M&A), to calendar events (e.g., end-of year), to external events (e.g., competitive or geopolitical developments), Kimber White Communications consultants help you punctuate and accelerate your larger communications program with campaigns your audience will remember.
While measuring communication impact is difficult, it is a worthwhile exercise to ensure we are getting a return on our investment of time and effort. Communications metrics should go beyond traditional measurements of the quantity and quality of “hits” by using analytics platforms to measure actual audience action and business impact through, for example, website visits and surveys. Kimber White Communications consultants will work with you to develop the metrics and measurement approach that works best for you and your needs.