January 24, 2022
Four ways to improve your strategic communication
A successful company will not be successful without good communication – and good communication will not be achieved without a strong communication strategy. In other words, strategic communication is the foundation for everything you do when it comes to communication and branding.
It is also much easier said than done to actually put a strong communication strategy in place. Because what exactly is strategic communication? And why is it absolutely essential for your business?
In this post, you'll get answers to the basic questions about strategic communication. You'll also find an overall review of how to create an effective communication strategy for your business.
What is strategic communication?
In short, strategic communication is a business strategy regarding advancing the overall goals you have already set for your business through communication and branding. It is a strategy that serves as a guide and guideline for your overall communication and branding work.
Strategic communication is also a tool that can help you bridge the gap between what your company wants to achieve and what your company says. It helps to create a clear identity for your brand and business and to eliminate the gap between vision and action.
Why is communication important to your business?
Good strategic communication makes it possible to build greater brand awareness and a strong reputation for your business. All core ingredients in a successful company.
"Brand awareness" is a term in communication and marketing that refers to how aware customers and consumers are of your brand. This makes brand awareness – and branding – one of the most important elements of marketing. And strategic communication can support brand awareness.
Your company's reputation is one of the most important things when it comes to attracting new customers and businesses as well as future employees. It creates trust and paves the way for change in the company and it ensures that your employees, business partners, and customers are proud to be connected to your business.
All of the above mentioned benefits of good communication are priceless when it comes to realizing your business strategy – and therefore strategic communication is one of the most important kinds of business strategies you can work with.
How to set up an effective communication strategy
When you need to make an effective communication strategy for your business, there are several points to consider. From your PR efforts and newsletters to your social media posts, your planned strategy must ensure that a common thread runs through your entire company's communication efforts.
Below you will find 4 elements that should be included in your plan when you lay out your communication strategy.
1. Start from your company's goals
Before you embark on the communication strategy, it's important that you master your company's goals. Your strategic communication should pave the way for your company to achieve these goals.
Therefore, strategic communication goes hand in hand with a clear and comprehensive understanding of your company's goals and visions. At the same time, your communication strategy gives clear indications about the direction in which your business is moving.
Hence, if you use your company's goals and visions, you are in the best position to create a communication strategy that both supports and strengthens the company's development.
2. Make your communication strategy concrete
Once you've mapped your business goals, divide them into two categories:
- The objectives that can be supported directly or indirectly through communication
- The objectives that cannot be supported through communication
It’s self explanatory that not all business goals can be achieved through communication – such as streamlining your production. Therefore, you should focus only on the goals that a communication strategy can support.
Once you've figured out these goals, it's time to reformulate and unfold the goals. Let us take as our starting point, for example, the objective: "The company's market share in Sweden must be increased by 10%".
In order for this goal to be supported by your communication strategy, it must be reformulated into strategic communication goals that can pave the way for achieving the business goal. In this case, your communication goals may include:
- Increase traffic on the company's Swedish website by 25%.
- Obtain at least 25 annual mentions in both regional and national media.
Once you've defined the goals you can support with your communication strategy, it's time to define some concrete efforts that can help achieve the goals. For example, if we use the example above, the two communication goals can be supported as follows:
- Increase traffic on the Swedish website through paid marketing – e.g. via Google AdWords – or increase the website's organic traffic through search engine optimization
- Obtain reviews in regional and nationwide media by completing a number of PR efforts throughout the year, e.g. divided into press releases, pitches and interviews
By choosing your bets based on helping achieve the specific fleshed out communication goals, you avoid spending resources on strategies that sound promising but don't actually contribute to realizing your company's goals and visions.
Instead, you only invest resources in communication efforts that are connected to your company's business strategy – and this makes your communication strategic, accurate and efficient.
3. Hit your audiences through the right channels
It goes without saying that your communication is only strategic if it hits the right target audience. Therefore, it is important that you figure out who you should communicate to – whether it is customers, partners, employees or public authorities.
When it's time to execute the strategy, it's an advantage to have a clear communication plan for who should receive what – and which channels should be used.
Be sure to choose channels based on how best to reach your chosen audiences with the communication they're intended for. In this way, you make sure to keep order across the company's communication efforts – e.g. press releases, newsletters and content for social media – while maintaining the common thread throughout all the efforts.
4. Don't forget internal communication
Strategic communication doesn't just apply to your external communication: The internal communication of your business is at least as important for building a strong communication strategy.
First of all, it is the alpha omega that your external communication also reflects your internal communication and culture as much as possible. If you land on a communication strategy that on paper makes perfect sense for the position you want to achieve, but that in no way matches your internal culture, it quickly becomes untrustworthy. It will be difficult to live up to, and in addition, it will probably be difficult for your employees to see themselves in, which can quickly compromise their affiliation with the company.
In other words, your brand needs to be reflected in everything about your business - both internally and externally. In addition, it is important that your internal communication does not get prioritized until major changes are underway in the company. At that time, it is typically too late to prepare the employees for the changes. And when that happens, it is no longer about strategic communication, but about crisis communication.
Therefore, keep the following in mind when working with the internal communication in your company:
- Work continuously with internal communication – not just when something big happens. Make sure that the internal communication takes all levels of the organisation into consideration so that all employees can continuously have their finger on the pulse in terms of what is going on in the company.
- Choose your channel – for example, face-to-face meeting, online meeting, email, phone call or Slack – with an eye on your employees' preferences as well as the information you need to provide.
- Stay up to date by evaluating your internal communication – this gives you insight into whether employees feel well informed and whether your internal communication strategy has succeeded.
Get advice and help with your strategic communication
Not sure how best to build an effective communication strategy? Or do you generally just need strategic advice on the communication front?
Contact COPUS and learn more about how we can help you with all branches of your company's strategic communication.