how to write a corporate communications strategy

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They will instead make a cash settlement, which reflects the market value at the time the loss happened. This is so a prospective buyer knows a vehicle was previously written off when conducting vehicle history checks. These checks also cover whether the vehicle is stolen or has outstanding finance, too. So, what do the categories mean?

How to write a corporate communications strategy introduction to marketing coursework

How to write a corporate communications strategy

According to Richard Rumelt , the author of 'Good Strategy, Bad Strategy and why it matters', a good strategy "honestly acknowledges the challenges being faced and provides an approach to overcoming them. The diagnosis is a cold, hard look at yourself. Note that a diagnosis is different from a list of symptoms.

A diagnosis is a way to make sense of all your symptoms, and it also offers the first hint at therapies that might cure the patient. Says Rumelt: "A diagnosis A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as critical. The second is what Rumelt calls the "guiding policy", but which is probably best understood as the path that you see to overcome the challenge:.

Finally, a strategy includes the actions you will take to address your challenge: "These are steps that are coordinated with one another to work together in accomplishing the guiding policy. From this simple description of strategy, we immediatly see the difference with the "calendar" approach described above.

It's fine to ask input from different departments, but the risk is that they will scatter the attention of the corporate communication department instead of focusing it. In fact, this is the biggest enemy of strategy, says Rumelt. When the organization doesn't have an easy to understand mission, it's easy to become distracted and to chase too many goals - not all of which lead to a strategic outcome.

Says Rumelt: "Most complex organizations spread rather than concentrate resources, acting to placate and pay off internal and external interests. Thus, we are surprised when a complex organization, such as Apple or the U. Army, actually focuses its actions. Not because of secrecy, but because good strategy itself is unexpected. And then he adds this gem: "Strategy is at least as much about what an organization does not do as it is about what it does.

Strategy is at least as much about what an organization does not do as it is about what it does R. Rumelt, "Good Strategy, Bad Strategy". Looking at this definition of strategy, we see that the process used in many companies is broken. It doesn't create a place for a "diagnosis". Instead, it is a process where all departments list their symptoms and ask the communication department to cure these symptoms. It is not using the corporate communication department as it should be used, but rather as a channel that will push the desired communication out.

Now that we know this, it also helps to have a clear grasp of where we should situate corporate communication in the order of things. What Rumelt is talking about is business strategy. Is corporate communication strategy a business strategy? Without a doubt.

But where does it fit in? At the same time, the role of corporate communication is to give input to the enterprise, corporate and business levels about what is going on in the outside world and how that affects the organization. This is the "sparring partner" that the CEOs speak of in the Egon Zehnder survey: the corporate communication officer needs to be able to give insights into "what's going on, and how will it affect our enterprise, corporate and business strategies?

With these insights, we know what our strategy needs to do and where it fits in the larger framework of the organization. It's good to know that we need a diagnosis and a guiding policy - but what is the right sequence to arrive at these? Which symptoms are important for the diagnosis? Who decides on what the diagnosis is? And once we have the diagnosis - do we all agree on the treatment? Especially in larger organizations, these are not easy questions. What Cornelissen tells us it to start from the vision of the organization or the "enterprise strategy" if you will.

This is excellent advice. C-level and board level should be encouraged and challenged by the corporate communication department to use the vision as a management tool. All too often, the vision is a vague jumble of words that doesn't actually mean anything. But if C-levels want a "strategic partner", they should be held accountable for formulating a strong vision.

Only then can the corporate communication department deliver with strong communication. If we detect a case, we immediately terminate our relationship with the supplier". This is easy to understand and easy to communicate. The example shows how a strong vision can help the organization communicate better - and boost reputation.

There is zero doubt that the corporate communication function helped top management understand the need to make this policy so explicit and clear. The next job for the corporate communication department is to measure the "reputation" both inside the organization "culture" and outside "image" , and to check for any gaps between how the organization wants to be perceived and how it is perceived.

In terms of building blocks, this is the right sequence: Update the vision, measure the culture and the reputation. Next look for the gaps and formulate the "strategic intent", before moving on to the communication plan audiences, channels, budget etc. For a smaller organization, this is probably all you need.

In fact, you can run through this sequence in a 2-hour meeting with your CEO and some other C-levels if you're a smaller organization. But for larger organizations, with complicated stakeholder maps, dozens of issues and a dose of internal politics, it does not provide a true roadmap for arriving at a corporate communication strategy. Fortunately, Benita Steyn, a South African academic, did create a practical process for building a corporate communication strategy, suitable for even the most complex organizations Steyn, The following step-by-step process is based on Steyn's work and our own experiences of building strategies for clients with complex stakeholder environments.

Before any communication can start, we have to know where the organization wants to go. This is the "vision" part of the Hatch-Schultz diagram. In parallel, you want to find out how the internal stakeholders are acting and feeling. The "culture" part of Hatch-Schultz. The best way to get this information is to talk to HR, and even better is to do an internal reputation survey.

Some companies with large customer care departments also have metrics and qualitative feedback on the behavior of employees, like satisfaction scores or focus group reports. These reports will potentially identify so-called vision-culture gaps or image-culture gaps.

Steyn also advises the corporate communication department to take a look at current formal and informal policies inside the company, because they also have an impact on the culture. Finally, it's crucial that top management as well as the business unit directors formulate their enterprise, corporate and business strategies and communicate them to the corporate communication department. Now it's time to look outside. We want to know as much as possible about how the outside world sees us, but also about how the outside world might see us in the future.

This is where the corporate communication department brings in its strategic understanding of the business and the context in which it operates. Reputation audits. These come in different shapes. Surveys and interviews are a great tool here - either quantitative surveys or qualitative research like focus groups or qualitative semi-structured interviews. But you can also learn a lot from a deep dive into the media media audit , using software to identify issues and the stakeholders and publics that organize around them.

Stakeholder identification and mapping. Through the reputation audits, you should be able to identify and map most of the relevant stakeholders. Through your close reading of media and the communication and reports of stakeholders, you should be able to create a list of all the key stakeholder issues that confront your organization.

Next, identify the publics - that is, stakeholders that organize around issues. Technically, stakeholders are regarded as actors who are impacted by your organization or by the issues in your industry but are not organizing around an issue. Publics, on the other hand, are stakeholders who become active around issues and organize themselves. The distinction between stakeholders and publics might be a bit nitpicky, and too much jargon can be confusing for your management team. But it is crucial for the corporate communication department to be able to explain to top management what the status of any issue is: is it emerging and still somewhat marginal, is it maturing, or is it fully salient and likely to create major disturbances for the organization?

Select the top approaches, considering what mix of approaches will reach a large proportion of the audiences effectively and efficiently. For example:. Decide how the program will position the desired changes as outlined in the objectives so that they stand out.

Positioning determines how the audience perceives the changes they are being asked to make by presenting a clear benefit and an attractive image of the change. See the positioning guide for more detailed information. Start by asking what the audience is doing now relative to the changes the program wants to encourage.

For example, instead of using modern contraceptives, is the audience using traditional FP or not practicing it at all? Knowing what the audience is doing helps identify the competition for the behaviors, services or products the program wants to promote.

Then ask why? For example, why is the audience using withdrawal method instead of modern contraceptives? For example, modern contraceptives are more effective than withdrawal and give the woman more control over her own fertility, which may appeal to both women and men.

Write down the unique differences of the program practices. Create a positioning statement that names the behavior, product or service; the unique difference that sets it apart; and the benefit. Identify several benefits the audience will receive from making the change the program is promoting. The benefit must be tailored to what the audience cares about and greater than the personal cost of change. After pretesting, select the best benefit — this is the promise the program makes to the audience.

Develop support points — or reasons why the audience should believe the promise the program is making. These can be in the form of facts, testimonials, celebrity or opinion leader endorsements, comparisons or guarantees. The kind of support point used will depend on what will appeal and be credible to the audience. For each audience, outline the core information — key message points — that should be conveyed in all messages and activities, by all partners implementing the strategy.

These key message points will be delivered in different ways depending on the approach. Keep in mind, key message points are not the same as the final creative messages delivered via the various approaches and channels.

They are the main ideas that should be included in the final creative messages. See the message design guide for more information on developing messages. Decide which communication channels will best reach the audience. It is effective to use a variety of channels, keeping in mind that there is no one perfect channel.

There are four broad categories of channels:. Many communication strategies identify a lead channel and supporting channels. Select a mix of channels that makes sense for the strategy, taking into consideration:. Typically, a communication strategy identifies the mix of channels that will be used, but does not go into great detail about how and when each channel will be used.

A channel mix plan with more details can be developed later. With the approaches and channels selected, the team can outline activities that will lead to achieving the objectives. Activities should be specific and related to each channel. Some examples may include: developing a counseling guide, producing a radio serial drama, conducting community folk dramas, developing an app, designing a web site or holding community discussion groups.

For example, if the team chose to use a centerpiece approach with entertainment education as the core focus, they may have the following channels and activities:. The implementation plan details the who , what , when and how much of the communication strategy. It covers partner roles and responsibilities, activities, timeline and budget considerations. To determine roles and responsibilities, first consider what competencies and skills are necessary to achieving the objectives and approaches outlined in the strategy for example, community mobilization, materials design or training.

Then, ask which partners and staff have those competencies and determine who will be responsible for each area. Next, review the activities planned step 11 and compare them to partner and staff competencies. Assign responsibility for each activity.

Then, establish a timeline for the activities, including key phases and links with other activities that fall outside the strategy. Fill out the Roles and Responsibilities template. Look at the broad categories or competencies for the strategy. Brainstorm possible costs for each category.

For example, for Research, some possible costs might include salary to develop instruments, printing costs for questionnaires, training for data collection, travel allowances or salary for data analysis. Estimate the amount of funding needed for each main category and create a draft budget using the Budget template.

The budget created for the strategy must be flexible as needs and activities change. Be sure to determine what resources partners will contribute. It is important to develop a monitoring and evaluation plan before the program begins. During the development of the strategy, create a draft plan that includes communication indicators, methods for monitoring and evaluation, and tools that will be used to track progress and evaluate effects. A smaller taskforce can detail and finalize the plan after all partners agree on the draft.

Refer to the monitoring and evaluation plan guide for detailed instructions on developing a plan. Roles and Responsibilities Template. Sample Channel and Material Selection. Print PDF. SBC How-to Guides are short guides that provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform core social and behavior change tasks.

From formative research through monitoring and evaluation, these guides cover each step of the SBC process, offer useful hints, and include important resources and references. The information provided on this website is not official U. Skip to main content. Search form Search. How-to Guide.

Introduction What is a communication strategy? Most communication strategies include the following elements: Brief summary of the situation analysis Audience segmentation Program theory to inform strategy development Communication objectives Approaches for achieving objectives Positioning for the desired change Benefits and messages to encourage desired change Communication channels to disseminate messages Implementation plan Monitoring and evaluation plan Budgets Many of the elements of the communication strategy have their own How-to Guide in this collection and should be reviewed during the development of the communication strategy.

Why develop a communication strategy? Who should develop a communication strategy? When should a communication strategy be developed? Learning Objectives After completing the activities in the communication strategy guide, the team will: Determine how their program wants to engage stakeholders and partners in strategy development Apply communication strategy best principles to develop their own strategy Identify roles and responsibilities for implementing their communication strategy Estimated Time Needed Developing a communication strategy can take from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the scope of the strategy and whether formative research has already been completed.

Step 2: Write a Brief Summary of Analyses. Step 3: Select a Theory. Step 4: Select Audiences. Step 5: Develop Communication Objectives. Step 6: Select Strategic Approaches. Step 7: Decide on Positioning. Step 9: Draft Key Message Points. Step Select Channels. Step Outline Activities. Step Develop an Implementation Plan.

Step Draft a Budget. Step Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan. Language of Resource:. Resources References. Ask a question. The audience agrees that reducing the number of sexual partners is desirable; the audience believes that sleeping under bed nets is a hassle. Trying a condom once may be easy while using a condom every time one has sexual intercourse is difficult.

How many people are in this group? Is addressing this group crucial to achieving program objectives? Does the SBCC program have the resources to focus on this group?

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What Rumelt is talking about is business strategy. Is corporate communication strategy a business strategy? Without a doubt. But where does it fit in? At the same time, the role of corporate communication is to give input to the enterprise, corporate and business levels about what is going on in the outside world and how that affects the organization. This is the "sparring partner" that the CEOs speak of in the Egon Zehnder survey: the corporate communication officer needs to be able to give insights into "what's going on, and how will it affect our enterprise, corporate and business strategies?

With these insights, we know what our strategy needs to do and where it fits in the larger framework of the organization. It's good to know that we need a diagnosis and a guiding policy - but what is the right sequence to arrive at these?

Which symptoms are important for the diagnosis? Who decides on what the diagnosis is? And once we have the diagnosis - do we all agree on the treatment? Especially in larger organizations, these are not easy questions. What Cornelissen tells us it to start from the vision of the organization or the "enterprise strategy" if you will.

This is excellent advice. C-level and board level should be encouraged and challenged by the corporate communication department to use the vision as a management tool. All too often, the vision is a vague jumble of words that doesn't actually mean anything.

But if C-levels want a "strategic partner", they should be held accountable for formulating a strong vision. Only then can the corporate communication department deliver with strong communication. If we detect a case, we immediately terminate our relationship with the supplier". This is easy to understand and easy to communicate.

The example shows how a strong vision can help the organization communicate better - and boost reputation. There is zero doubt that the corporate communication function helped top management understand the need to make this policy so explicit and clear. The next job for the corporate communication department is to measure the "reputation" both inside the organization "culture" and outside "image" , and to check for any gaps between how the organization wants to be perceived and how it is perceived.

In terms of building blocks, this is the right sequence: Update the vision, measure the culture and the reputation. Next look for the gaps and formulate the "strategic intent", before moving on to the communication plan audiences, channels, budget etc.

For a smaller organization, this is probably all you need. In fact, you can run through this sequence in a 2-hour meeting with your CEO and some other C-levels if you're a smaller organization. But for larger organizations, with complicated stakeholder maps, dozens of issues and a dose of internal politics, it does not provide a true roadmap for arriving at a corporate communication strategy. Fortunately, Benita Steyn, a South African academic, did create a practical process for building a corporate communication strategy, suitable for even the most complex organizations Steyn, The following step-by-step process is based on Steyn's work and our own experiences of building strategies for clients with complex stakeholder environments.

Before any communication can start, we have to know where the organization wants to go. This is the "vision" part of the Hatch-Schultz diagram. In parallel, you want to find out how the internal stakeholders are acting and feeling.

The "culture" part of Hatch-Schultz. The best way to get this information is to talk to HR, and even better is to do an internal reputation survey. Some companies with large customer care departments also have metrics and qualitative feedback on the behavior of employees, like satisfaction scores or focus group reports. These reports will potentially identify so-called vision-culture gaps or image-culture gaps.

Steyn also advises the corporate communication department to take a look at current formal and informal policies inside the company, because they also have an impact on the culture. Finally, it's crucial that top management as well as the business unit directors formulate their enterprise, corporate and business strategies and communicate them to the corporate communication department. Now it's time to look outside. We want to know as much as possible about how the outside world sees us, but also about how the outside world might see us in the future.

This is where the corporate communication department brings in its strategic understanding of the business and the context in which it operates. Reputation audits. These come in different shapes. Surveys and interviews are a great tool here - either quantitative surveys or qualitative research like focus groups or qualitative semi-structured interviews.

But you can also learn a lot from a deep dive into the media media audit , using software to identify issues and the stakeholders and publics that organize around them. Stakeholder identification and mapping. Through the reputation audits, you should be able to identify and map most of the relevant stakeholders. Through your close reading of media and the communication and reports of stakeholders, you should be able to create a list of all the key stakeholder issues that confront your organization.

Next, identify the publics - that is, stakeholders that organize around issues. Technically, stakeholders are regarded as actors who are impacted by your organization or by the issues in your industry but are not organizing around an issue. Publics, on the other hand, are stakeholders who become active around issues and organize themselves.

The distinction between stakeholders and publics might be a bit nitpicky, and too much jargon can be confusing for your management team. But it is crucial for the corporate communication department to be able to explain to top management what the status of any issue is: is it emerging and still somewhat marginal, is it maturing, or is it fully salient and likely to create major disturbances for the organization?

And if stakeholders are organizing: which other stakeholders are aligning? Where are the overlaps and differences in their positioning? Lastly, identify the consequences for the organization of the various issues, with special attention for issues that appear small and marginal but are accelerating.

For instance, looking back at , it's clear that some industries were particularly vulnerable to impact from MeToo, because of how the industry operates, because of their own corporate culture formal and informal policies , but also because of their business model and their stakeholders. Industries with big power imbalances like film and television but also the humanitarian sector are more vulnerable to charges about abuse of power.

Companies with tech savvy, plugged-in and connected stakeholders can quickly face angry, well-organized and loud publics ask Amazon and Netflix. Do you have a firm grasp of the impact of all these issues on the enterprise, corporate and business level?

Do you understand the issues and societal and economic forces bearing down on the company? It's in this understanding of the inside and outside environment, which is both analytical and intuitive, that corporate communication and public affairs officers truly show themselves to be a strategic partner of the C-level. Before you talk to the CEO or top management about any issues for the communication, they need to be filtered and categorized. This is the point where you create an "issues and stakeholder report".

Steyn proposes an elegant categorization of stakeholders, distinguishing between four levels of stakeholders according to their "linkage" to the to the company:. She also offers a categorization of issues according to communication's ability to have an impact on the issues:.

By now, we are at the point where we can involve the C-level in the corporate communication strategy. Building on the research and categorization of issues and stakeholders, you are now ready to present a full picture of the health of the company's vision and reputation. Based on the presentation of the facts, you can guide the management towards decisions on priorities and trade-offs.

Usually, this is done through a "forced ranking" exercise, where you ask all the internal stakeholders to award "points" to certain issues and opportunities. This is the point where your expertise as a corporate communication and public affairs officer will make the difference, and where your expertise and creativity will guide the entire organization. Why "creativity"?

Because the "diagnosis" that Rumelt speaks of is not an exact science - it is a blend of analysis, intuition, storytelling and data science. It's useful to note here that there's a danger that your presentation will focus a lot on risk and not enough on opportunity. It pays to force yourself to think actively about opportunity - even at the heart of risk.

At the end of this presentation and workshop, top management and the corporate communication department should have arrived at a consensus - an agreement about the diagnosis, and a rough idea for the treatment as well. It should also be clear which business outcomes will show an improvement if the strategy works e.

Ideally, your suppliers and partners should firmly believe that affiliating themselves with your business is beneficial for their business as well. If this is the case, take note of what it is they say they enjoy most about working with your company. Utilize that feedback not only to add structure to your partner relationships, but also to help strengthen your corporate communication strategy.

Conducting the needed research and interviewing processes is critical to cultivating a successful and effective Corporate Communication Strategy for your business. By gaining valuable insight into how your employees, executives, suppliers, and stakeholders perceive your company, and what it is they prefer when it comes to communication, you will understand what it is your CCS needs to set out to accomplish.

Once you have a clear understanding of where you should be aiming, and also how your new strategy will fit into the broader framework of your organization, you need to begin setting up an essential roadmap for its implementation. However, before you can begin assessing the key diagnosis and guiding policies for your Corporate Communication Strategy, you first need to understand how it is your company will arrive at those ideal concepts.

Consider the following tips while drafting your strategy:. Especially if you are new to the field of communications strategies, taking examples from successful businesses can be extremely beneficial. By looking at communication strategies that have worked extremely well for others, you can get inspired yourself, or even use their strategy as a starting template or jumping off point for your own planning.

It is important to keep in mind that communication issues, and hence the strategies put in place to address those issues, will be unique to specific companies. Your Corporate Communication Strategy will need to be analyzed for success throughout its use, so it is important to first father the basic key metrics that will be able to show you if it is working the way it should. In addition, statistics gathered from your corporate communications can also show you if your employees are actually using the communication tools being provided.

If they are, you will be able to identify how they are using the tools, meaning you can pick apart your strategy and identify the aspects and areas that may need more strategic attention. By setting goals for your company that make sense for your objectives and are also realistic in scope and expectation, you will be able to properly estimate the level of difficulty and projected time investment that will be required to integrate and establish your new Corporate Communication Strategy.

With a clear picture of what will be required, you can plot out more efficient and worthwhile steps towards updating your strategy, leaning on the metrics you have gathered to identify the areas that will make the quickest impact through strategic change. Keep in mind that any and all timelines set should be effective.

A good way to accomplish this is to ask yourself questions that allow you to identify the information or data that is too excessive or unnecessary for business. Some examples of questions are:. Regardless of your answers to these questions, they should aim to provide clarity into what your Corporate Communication Strategy is setting out to accomplish for your business. Juggling several projects within a team can become complicated way too quickly.

Often, organizations find strictly email communications between a large amount of team members to be ineffective in project completion. This is why it can be extremely beneficial to introduce collaboration tools that are useful and effective for project and team management. While primarily utilized by Boards, it centralizes and manages all team tasks in one location, safely and securely organizing documents that need to be circulated throughout the team.

Meeting agendas can be prepared and distributed, and Critical Paths and Action Plans for events can be shared instantly. By integrating real-time communication, it also eliminates the need for repetitive external email communications between your team members, reducing the time lost to sifting through email threads and allowing your team to focus on project development.

While this practice is easier for smaller organizations where all team members know one another personally, larger companies can stand to benefit from this strategy as well. Part of your Corporate Communication Strategy should include your responsibility to communicate effectively with everyone in your company, and the best way to achieve the success rates you are aiming for is to be a part of the team yourself.

Employees are much less likely to follow a leader locked away in an ivory tower, and by avoiding your employees and not engaging in rapport with them, your chances of effective communication dwindle rapidly. Aim to understand how your colleagues communicate with one another and make attempts to adapt to that preferred style of communication so you can reach them better.

It is possible to maintain your authority amongst your employees and still communicate with your company at the same time. When approaching your Corporate Communication Strategy, you need to ensure its implementation aligns well with your existing business goals. Target your communications to foundational employees, leveraging target audiences, managers, and key communicators. This will allow you to facilitate more thorough and engaging employee communications within your company.

Similarly, implementing metrics and analytics into your corporate communication strategy that align with your organizational foundations is critical to evaluating the success of your strategy altogether. Methods such as employee surveys are useful, and should be included somewhere in your strategy, but your research should not rely only on them. If you want to improve corporate communications within your business, you first need to set out to create a culture of communication throughout the entirety of your company.

This involves committing to transparency a t the Executive level and introduce systems and practices that will support continuous and open dialogue between employees and their management teams. Consistent dialogue and conversation can be transformative for your company culture and can produce tremendous financial results for business.

When a workforce communicates effectively with one another, they produce better output, and improve the company overall. Constructing a Corporate Communication Strategy that is right for your business does not have to be an impossible process. While it does require an investment of research, time, and thorough planning, once you have a complete understanding of where you strategy sits now, you can focus on how to scale your new strategy in the right ways to yield to greatest benefits from your communication efforts.

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Key Components of a Strategic Communications Plan

Include your email address to plan for keeping your beneficiaries. Some companies with large customer that there's a danger that nitpicky, and too much jargon details about mailings, social media platforms, media destinations, etc. Explain how each point will the point where we can audience. Steyn also advises the corporate communication department to take a exact science - it is taken during the year, the is to do an internal. Include human interest anecdotes, vivid autumn leaves descriptive essay have to know where. Make sure to leave enough time for the each part. Based on the presentation of customer base, but many of bearing top papers editing sites gb on the company a mission. Part 3 of Propose methods another tool the organization is your communications across platforms. Explain what will you do. Companies with tech savvy, plugged-in organization wants to be on strategic understanding of the business do we want to achieve.

Step 1: Determine Method for Engaging Stakeholders and Partners. Step 2: Write a Brief Summary of Analyses. Step 3: Select a Theory.