Why strategic communications? And just a few tips on how to go about it to better your business

Quick one. What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘communication strategy’? A grand master plan on bettering your business, professionals huddled around the boardroom pitching ideas and objectives on how to promote the business’s brand? Well, you aren’t so off course on the definition.

The term itself has been around for close to three decades now and we at Wit design Kenya could not stress enough the value of a well thought out communication strategy. So what exactly does it mean then? It means Infusing communications efforts with an agenda, objective and a master plan. See, not so far off.

So why all the fuss really? Well for any business to be great you need to be strategic on how best to communicate your message, through the right channels while measured against the company’s well thought out organizational and communications-specific goals. Believe it or not many Kenyan entrepreneurs do not know the difference between doing communications stuff, and doing the right communications stuff.

According to a recent article I read online, cranking out press releases and seeking media coverage can feel productive, help you dust off your shoulders, but without a master plan, there’s a huge risk of improperly allocated efforts. Below are a few tips we consider important when designing your communication strategy.

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1. Using communication channels that are aligned with your audience’s preferences
This a great opportunity to get your message heard by your would-be clients. We have all heard (while rolling our eyes) time and time again of how important communication is in our relationships, the same applies in our businesses. Using the right media vehicle, tactics and channels gives you the chance to influence your prospective clients’ behavior, opinion and understanding so as to choose you instead of your competition.

2. Seeing the Business through the eyes of your audience
‘Really? Why should I? After all, haven’t I focused on the business since its inception. Not going to bother with the audience!’ said an arrogant entrepreneur. Whether you like it or not, seeing what the audience sees, understanding why they think the way they do is life or death for your company/business. The audience has everything to do with your strategy and its execution. You need to align the business need with the audience’s analysis so as to inform your strategic communication.

3. Using research as an input to inform your work
Even though you may not have the budget to do the research there are other avenues available. Going with your gut feeling will make the research bias. You can conduct online research and assess your findings with other professionals in the field. More so, the data that you may need could already exist in-house. Knowing why a prospective client turned your service or product could help you better your service.

4. Being Authentic
Human beings tend to remember something if it drew an emotion out of them. That’s why I get all teary eyed every time I watch that safaricom ad. Where they’re all dressed in white and up on a hill just singing their hearts out! OK enough of promoting safaricom we all know how great they are. Why wouldn’t you want the same for your business? People don’t necessarily remember the message; they remember how it made them feel. Do not skip this important step of being creative, real to your brand. It is not only genius but it is such an important step in the strategic communication approach.

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5. Plan for changes or challenges
Having a back-up plan in case of obstacles doesn’t hurt. Preparing, doing your homework will save your business a lot of potential risk. Staff turnover, cuts on the budget, stubborn decision executives, tight deadlines, these can all be managed and met dead-on when you already have a plan put in place.

6. Set meaningful, measurable objectives
FYI, tactics such as writing or distributing a publication are not objectives. They are what you do or use to reinforce your objective. Objectives determine what success for the business will look like. They must be in sync with the business needs and must be achievable as outcomes or results.

7. Measure results
When you show the value of your work, prospective clients will definitely strain their necks, taking notice. After all the planning, implementation and development it will all pay off, when you measure your progress against the objectives. Show off that strategic communication is an essential business process.

We at Wit design Kenya understand the ins and outs of communications strategy. Analyzing your operating environment, looking at your strengths and weaknesses, identifying key audiences and ultimately, indicating which key methods you will use to take your product or service to the market. Give us a call or drop us an email to find out and learn more.