As I have been doing for several years now, I had to evaluate last week the work of 30 students for their finals, in the class “Interactive Communications of Companies” led by Claude Malaison at the University of Montreal. Their mandate was to boost a rather traditional communication plan of a Canadian company working in the B2B market, with a communication strategy mainly focused on online tactics and tools.
I invite you to read the blog article I wrote on this experience and the results obtained in 2013 in the same course.
The 7 essential points of a communication plan
Just like when an agency works to elaborate an effective communication plan for a client, each of the six teams were to structure their work according to 7 specific elements.
Here is a short description of these elements and the strong points which made it possible for certain teams to stand out.
1. The context
To begin, we evaluate the current situation by analyzing information that has been collected on the business fundamentals.
One team presented the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company (SWOT) to better define corporate issues. This has an added value.
2. Challenges and objectives
Now that the diagnosis is made, one must determine the issues and especially, the goals. To be able to evaluate the success of our strategies and tactics, it is important to set realistic, specific and measurable goals.
Only one team set a measurable goal to increase site visits by 50% over a period of 12 months, with all target audiences. This is unfortunate!
3. Target groups
Now, it is very important to understand who we address in order to adjust the message and writing style according to age, gender, habits, behavior, education, etc.. An interesting technique is the use of persona. It consists of creating fictitious people who resemble your target audiences in order to design more efficient digital tools.
One team considered one of the target groups, who were aged 55 years and older, and kept some traditional tools for them. In addition, they planned a gradual migration to online channels, backed by training in the form of video clips. Very strategic on their part!
4. Communication and messages
This is the tendon of war. This is the central goal of communication, which results from the messages used to convince your audience. An interesting element to consider in achieving this exercise is to put together a strategic positioning exercise.
Neither team proposed a form of communication and, only one had thought of and written a message. In their work, there was no strategy of communication to develop either. But with this process, one knows with whom one wants to speak to and what one wants to say to them, it thus remains to determine how, by the strategy of communication and consequently, the suitable means and tools.
In the second part of this article, we will see the 3 other elements to be considered in a plan of communication, that is to say, the means and tools and the tendencies in 2014, planning or schedule (budget) and evaluation methods.
See you soon!