Great communication plans reduce waste and increase returns.

When we teach kids how to properly cross the road, we tell them to look both ways first before crossing the street, right? Why? Perhaps because it simply pays greatly to invest in studying the scenario first and adequately prepare before crossing a risky path.

The same goes for business and organizations. To minimize risk and avert crisis, you have to start with proper analysis and planning.

Myth: Planning is costly and burdensome!
Fact: It doesn’t have to be, and I assure you that when done right, the returns are far greater.

Without a proper plan, a campaign and your entire operation will be pointless. Not having a strong plan could cost you far more losses and wastage than what you thought you just saved by skimping on planning.

Avoid mediocre bandaid solutions that are far more wasteful than if you just invested in a well-measured and tailored plan. What are examples of wastage in communication campaigns due to poor planning? Here are a just few cringe-worthy signs:

  • Brochures/flyers being thrown on the ground, crumpled in the trash, or left on the seats.
  • Newsletters being ignored and not getting any attention, or worse, giving your brand a bad image.
  • Generic material/messages that doesn’t strike a chord with anyone.
  • Tickets not being sold enough at the targeted volume, in turn, costing you a lot of empty seats, unused materials, and leftover food (in case of party events).
  • Ad spending is high, but sales are low.
  • High audience/customer complaints, costing you their loyalty.
  • Etc. I could go on forever, but that’d be boring. If you have more, do comment/rant below and let’s have fun sharing experiences about unexpected campaign outcomes!

Infuse these three (3) elements for a truly successful campaign

What makes a good communication plan? To sum it up, it should be: (1) strategic, (2) authentic, and (3) sustainable. Being strategic means not just knowing who your audience is/are, but also knowing their communication environment. If you launch an online development campaign for audiences who live in remote areas where connectivity is a virtual roadblock issue, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Products that do not match customer preferences or address their struggle points, but instead only address what you think their problems are, might not sell as well as you had hoped. A strong plan would have mechanisms in place to address all of these efficiently.

Authenticity is another key communication issue in both print and digital realms. When you make claims that your brand/product is the best, number one, most loved, better than the leading brand, delivers a certain result, etc., make sure that you can back it up and don’t make false claims. The scope of laws for advertising regulation vary from country to country, so best be sure that you cover all bases.

Especially in digital campaigns, make sure that you give your audience a safe and secure venue for storing their personal/private information. In the same tune, non-commercial or advocacy campaigns that employ scientific research and social marketing strategies should strictly adhere to proper ethical practices, such as:

  • Seek consent when recording/documenting/observing people;
  • Use data/statistics properly;
  • Cite sources to avoid plagiarizing;
  • Base statements on hard facts to not sound slanderous;
  • Consider the rights of minority groups and the disadvantaged — avoid cultural appropriation; and
  • Be mindful of social, legal, and technical regulation overall.

Another element is sustainability, which is really important and often overlooked in conventional marketing and communication campaigns. If you produce projects/campaigns and think that the end goal/purpose is just to launch the project and gather attendance/exposure, then you might be missing out on the deeper, more meaningful purposes of communication. To make a campaign sustainable, you need to ask:

  • What next and why are we doing this?
  • How will our efforts help people beyond merely announcing our existence?
  • How can we quantify or prove that we are really helping our audience/market and promoting our brand positively in the process?

Communication Strategy

For a campaign to be sustainable, plan for what happens even after the activities are carried out. Keep track of things and regularly check to see if everything is working towards achieving behavioral objectives. Monitor the campaign, trace how the audience is responding, and then build future plans from there.

The method to our madness

Our Stratmond team sees communication as an investment, not a luxury. An effective campaign fuses art (creative production) with science (analysis and precision) to get the best results with the available resources and genuinely help all stakeholders involved.

How about you, what instances can you think of where poor planning caused chaos and misfires in your respective fields? Comment below, share this article, and let’s continue the discussion to advocate for intelligent planning and authentic communication campaigns across industries.

May Gordoncillo Payabyab

May is a seasoned expert in communication science and development. She earned her Masters Degree in Communication Research from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Another significant training that she acquired was on Six Sigma's Product Design Sprint for Innovation. Her vast array of corporate to academic experiences in the field has finely sharpened her expertise in communication planning, brand management, stakeholder relations, marketing, new media development, and social scientific research. May now runs her own budding communication consulting firm in the Philippines that caters to clients here and abroad.

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