A communications plan is a tool that cannot be implemented in all organizations in the same way, but rather requires a personalized understanding of the level of maturity and audiences of each business. This will make it possible to identify the needs and solutions that adequately respond to the structure of each company.
Planning communication is essential to connect the corporate strategy with the different stakeholders and identify opportunities for improvement within the company. Currently, many communications areas work in a reactive way, focusing on the day to day, working from an operational dimension and leaving strategy aside.
In this line, making a diagnosis becomes an important task in the planning process, which allows taking the company to the next level and having a solid base for the creation of communication initiatives that mark the north of the organization. For this reason, we share seven key points for the development and implementation of an effective communications plan:
- Analysis of the company’s needs: Each company is different and is in a particular state of maturity, for this reason it is important to analyze structures and processes to identify the improvement opportunities and needs of each business.
This will also allow you to understand the organization in depth and to know its purpose, why and who it works for. This is how the communications area will be able to add value and be that strategic companion that management needs.
- Definition of objectives: Knowing the context of the company, it will be easier to mark the way forward and in this line, it is essential to connect the platform and strategic planning of the organization with its objectives and action plan. These objectives must point to the core of the business and must be lowered to each of the teams, so that everyone will be part of the fulfillment of the organizational purpose.
Finally, the construction and understanding of the objectives must be a joint effort by the management and the communications area, based on the expectations of the facilitating areas to guarantee compliance.
- Identify your audiences and channels: Any company has a variety of audiences and not everyone is addressed in the same way. The tone and style must be adapted to each one, identifying how we want or expect them to respond. This is how an audience map becomes a relevant tool to identify those who should be informed, connected, kept interested or in continuous interaction with the brand.
Channels are also essential and for this, technology has allowed us to access multiple tools that segment audiences and information media by understanding needs, habits and experiences, to arrive at the right time with the appropriate message and call to action.
- Define the message we want to convey: By connecting channels and audiences, messages take on the responsibility of transmitting coherence. In other words, communication, from its different dimensions (internal and external), and despite the fact that it is addressed to different audiences, must maintain the same line that transfers the experience and the promise of value to each one of the clients, which has repercussions directly on the reputation and intangible assets of the brand.
- Action plan schedule: The next step for an effective communications plan is to capture the strategy through a schedule that allows the key moments of contact with the audience to be identified and visualized. This can be done through phases that give us a roadmap with evaluation and monitoring points.
This schedule must be flexible and adaptable to what arises in the market or in the organization. A clear example of this is the Covid-19 pandemic, which led us to rethink processes and initiatives, since reality changed completely.
- Definition of KPIS analysis of results: An essential step in the communications plan is to measure the scope and know if the implemented actions are working correctly. For this, KPIS must be established in line with the objectives of the organization, attainable and not thought from vanity but from the impact they can generate.
The analysis of these metrics allows us to take action in time and rethink the strategy through alarm indicators.
- Contrast the results: Although obtaining and analyzing results is essential for an organization, if it is done from a purely internal perspective, it could bias the real impact obtained.
For this reason, it is important to have periodic audits of the communications plan through external agencies such as Imaginario, an expert in carrying out this type of accompaniment to enhance processes within organizations and generate a constant evolution of communication initiatives.
Understanding that communication planning is a relevant issue that must be given in organizations, allows to have a north for the fulfillment of objectives and opens the way to move from an operational work to carry out more strategic initiatives in communication. It is important then, to understand that not all organizations have the same maturity and it is from there that a specific plan is developed for each type of business.