A story is told of a farmer who wanted to teach his young son a lesson on communication campaign or strategy. So, this farmer stood afar and watched his son as he struggled to lift a heavy bag of rice unto an aboboyaa. He drew nearer to the boy to urge him on to give his best. Finally, when the boy had given up in despair, the farmer asked, “Son, are you sure you have used all the strength you have?”
His exhausted son replied, “I think I have used it all”.
His father gently replied, “I don’t think so. You haven’t asked your dad to help you lift it.”
The story above summarises how many organizations struggle with campaign planning, execution and measurement. You might be wondering: what is a communications strategy that always works, even without a budget? Well, I’ve got good news for you.
For starters, a communications campaign is a strategy used by a company or individual to reach its target market through various types of communication. How you go about the campaign will depend a lot on your experience, industry, and budget. And there is no better way to do this than by following these basic PR ideas.
Communication Campaign Planning
The success of a communication campaign depends on how well it is planned. An effective campaign must highlight the unstoppable momentum of “real time” in communication; it must possess a heart-wrenching emotional communication that deeply connects with consumers. Whether you are launching a new logo, new product, etc., getting thumbs up from your client/employer depends on how well you plan.
So, the planning process starts with identifying a measurable communication goal. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time says Zig Ziglar. It’s hard to know if you’ve succeeded without a goal. But it is disastrous to set unrealistic vision for a campaign.
It is necessary to have a firm understanding of the interests and concerns of each of the many stakeholders. Whether the brand is already well known or not, it can be difficult to get the approval of your target audience; your efforts may be flawed though your communication campaign has been meticulously planned. There is a need to research to understand your audience and get the best approach to achieve a desired result.
- What needs do most of your customers have in common?
- Why are they buying your products or services?
These consumer insights are crucial for creating highly targeted marketing messages that you personally can truly relate to.
Your Unique Selling Preposition (USP) is the foundation of your communications plan. The USP should be reflected in every message your brand sends out across all communication channels; whether it’s for PR, sales or content marketing. A clear USP will ensure that your brands messaging is clear, consistent and recognizable. It will also help you in crafting compelling media pitches.
Survey your existing customers about their purchase intention. Understand the rationale behind the decision-making process of your typical consumer to tell a good story that is rooted in just as much emotion as it is data. Ask the below:
- Why will a consumer choose you over a competitor company?
- Where do you fall short of your competition?
Determine your Marketing Communications Mix
The marketing communications mix is the combination of channels you use to reach out to both existing and potential customers. Your mix could include:
- online advertising on AdWords, Facebook, etc.,
- offline advertising on print media, billboards or TV,
- direct marketing,
- personal selling,
- content marketing,
- sales promotion.
Based on your organizational strength or team size, you would have to choose only two or three of these marketing strategies as part of the communication process.
Defining Campaign Success Metrics
Once you have decided on your promotional mix for your integrated marketing communications plan, you also need to plan the right set of success metrics for all communication channels.
For instance, your success in Public Relations can be measured by a range of outcomes from brand awareness to sales. Here are a few metrics:
- the number of mentions/website visits/signups on different outlets and blogs,
- website visits from social media shares,
- the number of leads or sales that can be attributed to Public Relations
Communication Campaign Execution
Once your plan is ready, you execute it, measure your success and modify your approach as necessary.
Just go out there and execute it!
Be authentic and genuine as possible in your campaign execution and just focus on people. Note also that the most budget-friendly channel drives the maximum results is Public Relations.
Post by Paa Kwesi Forson
Head of Public Relations at Global Media Alliance
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