Communication strategy: what, when, why and how?

30 September 2020

If your organisation hasn’t worked with a communication strategy before, this article is for you.

Read on to find out what a communication strategy is, when and why you might use one and why your staff, community and stakeholders play a role in shaping it.

You can read this case study as an example of one client’s challenge, how we approached the communication strategy and the results achieved.

What is a communication strategy?

A communication strategy is an individually-tailored guide for how an organisation will use communication to help achieve its business vision and objectives.

A strategy makes sure that when you communicate, you use consistent messages, designed and tailored for your various stakeholders, in language that is easily understood.

Your stakeholders are those people who are interested in or affected by what your organisation does; staff, partners, customers, community interest groups and individuals.

Organisations and businesses of all sizes use communication every day, so it’s powerful when done well. Read more about the benefits and importance of a communication strategy.

When and why do you use a communication strategy?

Organisations use a strategy because they want their stakeholders to know what they do, why, how and with whom. This gives clarity to your team and your community.

Often, we are called in to assist when an organisation wants to highlight its achievements, a project or program with social benefits or when there will be, or has been, significant change.

In the case study example, our client wanted to engage the local community about a major change.

How is a communication strategy formed?

We will conduct a level of research to inform the strategy. We work out who the people are that are close to your business, what they want to know and how they want to hear from you. We will identify these stakeholders and consult them.

Auditing your existing communications will gives us information about what’s working well and areas for improvement or change.

Once we have all this information, we work with you to develop objectives for the communication strategy, key messages, success measures and an action plan.

The research may indicate that there is strong brand awareness and that your stakeholders are very engaged in the benefits you bring to the community. It may reveal a need for clearer communication. Any such findings are then reflected in the action plan, which you can implement, or we can roll-out for you.

In the case study example, we needed to understand how the community viewed the organisation, what the community thought our client did and what people wanted the future to look like. We spoke to the staff, surveyed the community and held a focus group to get our answers.

It was clear the organisation’s brand needed to be modernised, as did the website, to cater for the needs of its users. We also recommended and established a Community Reference Group to provide two-way discussion about the future plans. This was an important part of the plan because the community had valuable information to contribute and it built relationships, interest and understanding.

You can read this case study for all the details and the results achieved.
Get in touch if you have any questions about communication strategies?