Every company – regardless of industry – creates its message daily to customers, potential customers, business partners, employees, community members and other stakeholders. Some entities often conduct these activities ad hoc (without a properly developed and thought-out strategy), which fails to achieve the expected results.
Communication plan – table of contents:
Here, the best possible solution involves creating a communication plan based on various types of analysis, followed by its implementation and regular updating. Below we explain in detail what a communication plan is and what benefits it can bring to the company.
What is a communication plan?
A company’s communication plan is a detailed document that is an integral part of the implemented marketing strategy. It describes how the company will create its message externally (and sometimes internally to employees – depending on the size and operation of the organization, for example) across all the channels it runs (website, social media, thematic groups, newsletters, offline venues, etc.).
Its use is aimed at ensuring consistent and effective communication of information to various stakeholder groups. In this way, it helps, among other things, to build a brand, reach and build relationships with an audience, and achieve set business goals.
9 essential elements of the communication plan
How exactly creating a communication plan takes place will depend on the individual needs of the organization. However, you’ll find these common elements in most:
- Analysis of the current situation – including a presentation of how the message to the outside world has been constructed so far and what results it has produced, as well as identification of key challenges and opportunities in the area indicated.
- Objectives – the results the company wants to achieve,
- Brand strategy – outlining the brand’s mission, vision, personality, tone, values and other issues that influence how the brand wants to build its message.
- Competitor analysis – how other players in the industry run their channels.
- Target audience with outreach channels – a description indicating who the company is targeting with its message and where it will be present to reach its customers.
- Anti-crisis strategy – defining how to act in crises (i.e., the appearance of a data leak from the company), under which it is necessary to take a public stance.
- Schedule of activities – an indication of what activities and when they will be undertaken (which includes, among other things, campaigns implemented, posts published on social media, partnerships established, etc.).
- Budget – the amount of money to break down and allocate for the implementation of the written activities.
- Means of evaluation – to determine how the effectiveness of implemented activities will be measured.
Benefits of creating a communication plan
The lack of a proper outreach strategy can result in chaotic and sometimes also contradictory messages, which ultimately weaken the company’s image while affecting the trust of customers and business partners. Below we point out the most important benefits that its development provides to companies operating in various industries:
- Ensuring consistency of message – helps build the right (consistent with values, mission, vision, personality, etc.) corporate image at all levels and through diverse channels,
- Increasing awareness – allows you to reach different target groups more effectively, resulting in greater brand awareness and increased message reach,
- Tailoring the message to the target audience – thanks to proper analysis, it is possible to know the needs and expectations of consumers and, consequently, tailor your message to them (offering them value), which increases recognition and builds customer trust in the brand,
- Crisis preparedness – a properly drafted communications plan includes a crisis management strategy that allows for a quick and effective response to unforeseen situations, minimizing potential negative consequences,
- Saving resources – the plan makes communication activities more organized and efficient, saving staff time and other necessary resources.
- Increased sales – consequently, all of the above benefits lead to the fact that (thanks to a better message to customers) the company can sell more.
Creating a communication plan that’s customized, implementing it, then developing and updating undoubtedly require a lot of time and effort. However, you have to treat it as an investment that may bring many benefits (especially in terms of building relationships with key audiences) and boost the success of the company in an increasingly competitive business environment.
Keep in mind that creating a communication plan takes place more than once as it’s a tool that requires regular updating (e.g., once a year), especially in the area of goals and whether the needs and expectations of the target audience (as well as the market situation) change. It is also important whether the implemented activities achieved the expected results – so don’t forget to run the plan’s evaluation and draw both positive and negative conclusions from it.