A Refreshing Approach to Strategic Communication Planning by Robin Russell McCasland Dallas TX

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* step-by-step through a modern, uncomplicated planning process;
* gather data to ensure measurable impact in audience actions & behaviors;
* use social media tools to promote and persuade

by Robin Russell McCasland, Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication, Dallas TX

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A Refreshing Approach to Strategic Communication Planning by Robin Russell McCasland Dallas TX

  1. 1. Strategic Communication Planning Refreshing Approach; Multiple Applications IABC Houston Workshop July 22, 2010
  2. 2. What We’ll Cover Today y • The strategic process itself, with less “ick” factor – Why it matters; what it’s worth • Ways to use the process for – General planning – Talent management – Employee/audience engagement – Branding • Examples of social (media) and cultural communication to support your strategies – Easy, effective ways to incorporate social media y, y p 2 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Why Plan Strategically? • Helps an organization determine what they need and h d d how t get th to t there • Identifies how the organization will define success • Provides a road map with specific directions/steps on how attain p that success • Keeps everyone headed in the same di ti direction There is no perfect formula for developing a plan; do what makes sense for your gro p or your client hat o r group o r client. 3 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. How Planning May Be Used g y • Aligning and supporting an organization’s goals/priorities – Ensuring channels are used most effectively to keep employees informed and engaged; influencing behavior • S Supporting the priorities of a group within the i h i ii f i hi h organization – Example: A communication strategy for HR to improve employee engagement, to build an employer brand, to increase participation in a particular benefit program – Launching a new process, benefit, product, etc. • A stand-alone strategy for the communication department – Ensuring consistent communication processes – Maximizing your resources and channels 4 – Providing resources and counsel to All rights reserved. need support © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. groups that
  5. 5. Strategic vs. Tactical Messaging • Tactical messaging – Provides information – Doesn’t necessarily drive action or behavior change • Basic reminders announcements information reminders, announcements, • May be a one-time event • Strategic messaging – Targeted to various audiences – Causes people to take action, affects change, modifies b li f difi beliefs • Monitored and adjusted regularly • Never “done;” updated and redefined over time 5 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Traditional Strategic Planning g g • Agree upon why you’re planning (begin with the end in mind) • Strategic analysis – Stakeholders – Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) • Strategy planning – Goals and objectives – Mission, vision and values statements (sometimes these come before the strategic analysis) g y ) • Action planning – Budget, tactics, responsibilities, timing, measurement and evaluation 6 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Refreshed Approach pp • Easier to follow – N i k t diti No icky traditional planning l l l i language – We all have attention deficit, anyway (Look! There’s a squirrel!) There s • Gets you to the same result • Can be used in a variety of ways – Feed multiple initiatives with strategic communication that builds on complementary messages • Potential for the same (or better) results 7 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. What You’re Up Against (Good luck)
  9. 9. Employees Focus On… p y • Their jobs (we hope) • Their next pay raise e e t a se • Why their benefits stink • Why their boss sucks • Why their coworkers are freaks • Getting a pedicure • The idiot who rear-ended the new car • Bevo the Bulldog s preference to pee on the sofa or Bulldog’s bedspread • Their favorite pro or college game • Having to buy groceries after work • Going to the parent-teacher conference • Enrolling child in military academy after parent-teacher conference 9 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Employees Think About… Ab t • Their jobs (we hope) • Their next pay raise e e t a se • Why their benefits stink • Why their boss sucks • Why their coworkers are freaks • Getting a pedicure • The idiot who rear-ended the new car • Bevo the Bulldog s preference to pee on the sofa or Bulldog’s bedspread • Their favorite pro or college game • Having to buy groceries after work • Going to the parent-teacher conference • Enrolling child in military academy after parent-teacher conference 10 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. It s It’s Not About You • When it comes to strategizing communication – It is not about you i t b t – It is about your audience(s) – One message rarely fits everyone • When communication is planned strategically and carried out appropriately… pp p y – It reflects nicely on many stakeholders It is very difficult to overcome a bad first impression. 11 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Why Should Anyone Change? y y g • Employees are focused on themselves – Unless you give them good reason to take action – Explain what happens if action doesn’t take place – Provide a competitive scenario • When communicating a change within an organization, people are thinking – What matters to ME? – Have you considered ME? – My boss/HR/company leaders don’t care about ME! 12 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. A Refreshed Planning Approach pp
  14. 14. Keys To Your Plan • Why do you need a plan? • Who are the stakeholders? • How large is the scope? • What’s the hard-dollar cost tied to what you’re trying What s hard dollar you re to achieve (or the problem you’re solving)? • How will this strategy benefit the stakeholders? gy • How does this strategy align with the larger organizational strategy (if appropriate)? • Do you have leadership support, or can you get it? 14 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. The Heart Of The Matter • What is your budget? • What will employees and other audience care about most? • Which subgroups, if any, need different messaging, and what are those messages? h h ? • What topics will need plain-English translation? • Which parts of the strategy or messaging need to be provided in languages other than English? • Which existing communication channels will provide y g you with the greatest impact? • Which new ones should you consider? 15 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Potential Dealbreakers • What other distractions might prevent employees (or other audiences) from paying attention to the messages? • Wh t other b i What th barriers might prevent success? i ht t ? • Do you have adequate time to initiate and complete the strategy? • Do you have sufficient resources, or can you get them? • Who may dislike the messages you are delivering? – Can you craft the messages to help overcome their objections? 16 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Success…Or Success Or Consequences? • Wh t will define success for each stakeholder? What ill d fi f h t k h ld ? • What measures will you use to ensure your strategy is working? • What are the potential consequences if your messages aren’t effective? • What are the potential consequences if you don’t don t have a communication strategy at all? 17 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Analyze, Analyze Then Act • Highlight the “ah-ha” insights • A Agree upon k messages th t address th standout key that dd the t d t comments/messages • Choose three to five on which to focus within one time period • Formulate prioritized actions – Choose the message methods (including the addition of social media, if appropriate) – Assign responsibilities – Assign deadlines • Develop and maintain a timeline 18 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Measure, Evaluate, • Communicate Establish measurement metrics – If what you are doing i t l strategic, th ’ a good way t h t d i is truly t t i there’s d to measure it – Connect directly to a bottom-line business cost or other bottom line business-relevant statistic • Share your progress and accomplishments regularly y p g p g y – Measure your progress routinely – Demonstrate how communication is helping shape success – Show how you’ve changed your direction, if needed, given the interim feedback you’re getting 19 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Timing And Feedback Are Crucial C i l • A significant initiative should be supported with a longer communication timeline – At least six months in advance for a major initiative • G buy-in f Get b i from top leaders l d • Senior managers • Rank-and-file human resources • The “cynics” group (we’ll talk about this in a moment) • Then, employees – L Less complex projects; f l j t four t six-month ti li to i th timeline – Simple projects; two to three-month timeline 20 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. Convene The Cynics y • Whiners can be very helpful • Get their input before you launch communication • Ignore the “blah, blah, blah” • Listen for the “gems” that could improve your work • Thank them for the feedback – Tell them how you used their feedback – You might gain some converts, but if you don’t… • Q it worrying about th Quit i b t them – Focus instead on the people who matter most 21 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. Communicating Culturally, Socially and Strategically “I’m in the checkout line at Randall’s. Someone comments on the T-shirt I’m wearing from the company blood drive. So I respond…”
  23. 23. Making Your Strategy “Engaging” Engaging • In a challenging economy (at any time, really) employee engagement is necessary for successful g talent management – No longer confined to certain industries • Consistent messages and actions are key – Because change and ambiguity are the norm for many 23 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. Social Media Impacts Engagement g g …therefore, your communication strategy • S i l media d Social di does not change the need f employee h h d for l engagement • It DOES impact the way you approach your strategies – Instant and viral; anyone can do it • Without appropriate social media policies it can be tough policies, to combat negative online communication 24 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. What Engages Employees? • They want to be valued – Let them know what they are doing well – Differentiate their pay, benefits and perks – Reassure them if and when you can • They want to inspire ( (and be inspired) p ) – Help employees see that it is how the company impacts the world that makes a difference 25 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. What Matters To Employees? • Inform them of problems before they read or hear about them in the media – Even if you don’t have all the answers, tell them when to expect more information • Give them opportunities to ask questions and tell you what they think – If you don’t, they will make things up – Do something meaningful with the input employees provide, and then let them know how you used the feedback 26 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  27. 27. Social Media Impacts Engagement E t • Companies use social media routinely as part of ongoing communication strategies i i ti t t i • Social media can impact workplace culture significantly if… – Leadership is on board – You choose the tools wisely • Be in it and be consistent for the long haul – O Once you jump in, b consistent j i be i t t – Manage your outlets; don’t abandon them 27 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  28. 28. Perception Is Reality • Internal and external communication are merging g g – How do you want employees to feel about working at your company? – H How d you want th do t them representing th “ ti the “promise” of your i ” f organization’s brand externally? • They represent you virtually and in reality – How do you want your CEO and other leaders to be perceived internally and externally? • Their presence (or lack of one) in social media can communicate as effectively as anything else y do y y g you 28 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. Cultural and Social Considerations For Your Communication Strategy
  30. 30. Additional Planning Questions • How do you wish to be perceived externally? • How do you wish to be perceived internally? • What’s the current external brand? – Does it align with the perception you want? • What’s the current internal brand? – Does it align with how you want employees to behave and how they represent your organization? • What distinguishes you from your competitors? – Do those attributes make your company more desirable to a job candidate? Why? 30 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  31. 31. How Do You Know For Sure? • How often do you get candid employee feedback? • How often do you get candid feedback from vendors and customers? – Do you use a third party to help ensure the information received is unbiased? • How does your leadership define and perceive the organizational culture? g – Which questions should you ask? 31 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  32. 32. Questions To Ask Each Group • How should we operate? • What do we value? • What traditions do we uphold? • How are we expected to treat others? • What do we expect of employees? • What should employees expect of us? • What behaviors should we demonstrate with our customers, partners and vendors? • Do any of these groups perceive issues with the company culture, or with talent management? 32 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  33. 33. How would the answers to these questions be digested by the public if they were published in a social media outlet? 33 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  34. 34. The Container Store: What We Stand For 34
  35. 35. Foundation Principles 35
  36. 36. Showin’ Employees Some Love 36
  37. 37. Values Its Partners 37
  38. 38. USAA: Commentary Travels Quickly • Canceled an policy due to a bad experience – Tweeted my experience; posted to Facebook • Friends who have USAA coverage responded • A few days later, the claim was paid – Supervisor said a mistake had been made • I reinstated my policy; added more coverage • Tweeted my experience; posted to Facebook • Looked at TweetDeck a month later and…are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a decompressor 38
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  40. 40. Creative Cultural Communication 40
  41. 41. Tools To Measure Social Site Media it does What Howsociable.com Measures mentions, related info from many of the most common social media f th t i l di outlets Geekchart.com Input information and get a calculation (in a pie chart) of where your presence is strongest Addictomatic.com Shows where your brand/identity appears in various social media outlets pp and where you may be lacking a presence Radian6 A comprehensive tool for tracking and measuring social media, engagement, listening; and Alterian SM2 For PR/marketing professionals: Tracks positive/negative brand segment, iti / ti b d t conversations about your company, and competitors
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  51. 51. Summary y • There is no “perfect” strategic planning formula; develop a system that works for you • Strategic is ongoing, changes over time, may never be completed p • Strategic can influence, change behaviors • Strategic can be measured; direct bottom-line impact g ; p • Social media impacts your communication, your culture, employee engagement • Don’t be afraid of social media; don’t ignore it; use it wisely 51 © 2010 Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. All rights reserved.
  52. 52. Robin McCasland Robin@brainbiscuits.biz Robin@brainbiscuits biz 214-277-9778 Twitter: @robinrox @brainbiscuits …everything else is just gray matter.SM

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