No matter how big your business, it will be communicating a message of some sort in some way. So how do you make sure you communicate the right things in the most appropriate and effective way?
As Communications Manager for the PGAs of Europe I am always looking to ensure our messaging is as effective as possible and to do so we often take a step back and ask ourselves some questions. Here are 6 questions that you can ask to help establish if you are on the right track…
1. What is your brand and what does it stand for?
Have you ever really looked at your brand in detail? Having a grasp on this is a real key to knowing how to communicate a message to your various stakeholders. It provides things like context, tone of voice, direction and clarity.
Take the time to assess what your brand is from an overall ‘visionary’ and strategic outlook, all the way down to the nuts and bolts of what it looks and feels like. This will help frame your comms and keep things consistent no matter the business’ size.
2. Who are you targeting?
Looking at your target audience broadly is sometimes overlooked, as it is often obvious to you who you are targeting. But is this true throughout the business and with each and every piece of messaging that is sent out?
Messages that seem clear to you may not actually be clear to the desired recipient so be sure to assess the clear reasons that a message is going to someone, whilst also making sure it can be understood from their end. This is where your research should come into play to help tailor information appropriately and fit in with your overall comms strategy.
3. Are you acting responsibly?
Corporate Responsibility has become more and more of a buzzword in recent years – it could be argued that in the past a business’ focus was quite often on the bottom line and very little else. Making money was seen to be the ultimate goal above all else.
But in a world of complete connectivity and increasing transparency, businesses have been forced [and rightly so] to look at the social impacts to their operations and work. Rather than pleasing the shareholders and few others, businesses now need to look at how what they do affects their customers, the environment, the community and employees.
Think about how each of your messages affects these groups not only financially but also socially.
4. How do you communicate internally?
Communicating to your internal stakeholders is just as important as communicating to the external ones. Your employees are the action and mouthpiece of a business and they should all be on board.
How do you pass your key messages to employees, your board, or your managers? Are they in the loop as much as they need to be and aware of what the overall organisational goals and strategy are?
Creating a corporate culture where sharing of information is central can lead to greater efficiency, shared understanding and ownership, and overall satisfaction.
5. How are you managing your Public Relations?
Are your messages getting to the right people? Do you have someone who is getting those messages to the right people at the right time?
The delivery of your message to the outside world in the most effective way is key to serving your business’ interests so you must ensure that whomever looks after your PR is getting the right message across to the right people, whilst also reflecting a broader corporate message about the business’ overall strategy and positioning, along with its value to its stakeholders.
6. What happens if there is a problem?
Your business should have guidelines in place for your brand – how it can and can’t be used by various stakeholders in various forms – but are there guidelines for how the business and its stakeholders should something happen involving your business?
Again with information being more readily available and transparent, corporate communications has become more frequently associated with dealing with issues that affect the business and its stakeholders. Make sure you have a plan (even if it is simply a checklist of actions to complete if something happens) should something happen that involves your business.