The agency model

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  • 1. The Agency Model: The Case for Strategists vs. Tacticians
    Lisa Albert
    TCU Director of Communication
  • 2. The higher education world is full of clutter and noise
    All telling you why they’re the best:
    Friendly
    Smart students
    Attractive campus
    Successful professors
    Personalized attention
    Big time athletics
    Alumni have lucrative careers
    Research opportunities
  • 3. How do you stand out?
  • 4.
  • 5. Tactics
    An action you take to execute the strategy
    We all have training, education and experience that help us execute the tactics
    But are they effective?
  • 6. How effective are your tactics?
    Do you take orders for brochures/news releases?
    Do your departments speak to one another?
    Are your efforts integrated?
    Do your constituents know who you are?
    Do they remember anything about you?
    Do you know who you are? (what’s your elevator speech?)
  • 7. Tired of spinning your wheels?
  • 8. Then you muststrategize
    A strategy is an idea… A conceptualization of how the goal could be achieved.
  • 9. Components of good strategy
    Thorough understanding of the brand.
    A realistic assessment of the institution’s strengths & weaknesses. (market research, SWOT)
    A clear picture of the competition and your place in the market.
    Intimate knowledge of the consumer and the market.
    A grasp of the big-picture.
  • 10. A great strategy does not depend on brilliant
    tactics for success. If the idea is strong enough,
    you can get by with mediocre tactical execution.
    However, even the best tactics can’t compensate
    for a lousy strategy.
  • 11. How to develop a good strategy
    See the big picture
    Research (establish baseline and problem)
    Set goals/know where you’re headed – What problem are you trying to solve?
    Plan how to move the needle/affect change
    Coordinate tactical efforts
    Figure out how you will measure effectiveness
  • 12. The path
    Strategy
    End Goal
  • 13. A suggestion
    To act strategically, set up your team like an internal ad agency
  • 14. TCU’s Marketing & Communication Division
    Editorial Services
    Events & Community Projects
    Office of Communications
    Website Management
    Admission Marketing
    Publications
    Advancement Communication
    Church Relations
  • 15. Before you begin…Know your brand
    To be effective, you must have a clear picture of who your institution is
    Research to establish a baseline and develop a method to measure if results
    Can’t be all things to all people
    What sets you apart?
    Have a branding platform – this is your roadmap
  • 16. Position your team as consultants with expertise
    Identify your team members’ strengths and talents and allow those people to serve as your experts on that subject
  • 17. Develop “beats”
    Account Executives divide campus areas into “beats” to ensure all areas get adequate attention
  • 18. AE vs Modified AE model
    Typical AE – serves on “front lines” meeting with clients to establish needs, then hands project off to design team, etc.
    Modified AE – serves on “front lines” meeting with clients to establish needs, but stays with the project through each piece to ensure all strategy and branding is followed and well-integrated
  • 19. Account Executives meet with areas to determine needs
    Is this information reputation-defining?
    How does this align TCU’s brand? The college’s brand?
    Who are you trying to reach?
    What do you want them to know? What are the key messages?
    What is your end goal?
    What is your time frame?
    What is your budget?
  • 20. Gather your team to discuss needs
    After a brief assessment of needs, pull together team members needed to offer expertise
    Ex. You know they desire a leave behind piece. Talk to your publications team to determine what it should look like – brochure, rack card, etc.
  • 21. Develop an integrated and strategic communication plan
    Outline goals/objectives
    Messages – What is reputation-defining?
    Tools/tactics
    Timing
    Budget/cost estimates
  • 22. Create a work order
    Paper or electronic
    Should outline all details of the project for the designer/developer
    Creative brief is helpful to understand direction/purpose
  • 23. Assign deadlines and responsibilities
    Project management software (TCU uses Basecamp)
    Help beats know which pieces they are responsible for and keeps them on track
    System can easily update all milestones if one gets pushed back to see bottom line
  • 24.
  • 25. Gather content
    Usually falls to the beat area, but others on the team may help
    Need to gather:
    Design – text and images
    Copy – who, what, when, where, why, how
    Web – site map
    Social media – guidelines checklist
    Event - who, what, when, where
  • 26. As you gather content…
    Keep your end goal in mind
    What stories/images are reputation-defining?
    Never let design drive strategy
  • 27. Execute tactics in plan
    All team members execute the tactics outlined in plan
    AEs Coordinate timing of plan
    Typical AE vs. Modified AE - the AE works with the designer/developer as it moves through their area of expertise to ensure messaging and brand stay on point strategically
    Be careful not to pigeon hole a designer as an “ad maker”. They can visually bring your message to life. (same for copywriters/web developers/etc)
  • 28. Evaluate
    Review your baseline.
    Did you reach your goal?
    Did you move the needle?
    Do your messages now resonate with your intended audience?
  • 29. Why go to the trouble?
    You will prove more effective and valuable to your administration if you are able to affect change.
    By touting the expertise of your team on campus, you will be seen as valuable and they will seek your help more on projects.
    You will advance the brand of your institution effectively and will be known for who you are
  • 30. Questions?
    Lisa Albert
    TCU Director of Communication
    817-257-5063
    l.albert@tcu.edu
    www.mkc.tcu.edu