I once asked the CEO of Austereo Michael Anderson what he actually does in his role day-to-day. He paused, not having been asked that question before, and took some time to consider his response. “I ask questions” he said. Not a bad job I thought. I could do that! The subtext ofcourse is that his job is to ask the right questions, and get his exec team thinking carefully about their strategies and actions.
The same applies when constructing your communications strategy. Ask the right questions and think carefully about your answers.
1. Who are your biggest fans?
Paint a picture of your primary customer. Get a deep understanding of who they are, not just demographically but attitudinally and behaviourally. What unifies them? Our goal is to connect with more people like them!
2. Have you had a chat with them?
Media research abounds and numbers are important, but nothing beats a conversation to uncover real insights and motivations. Talk to people about where your product fits into their life, about your competitors, about their media habits, and about their favourite brands. You’ll be surprised what you can learn!
3. What makes them smile?
Talking to people when they are in a good mood often improves the strength of connection. Find out what your audience really loves to do and perhaps you’ll discover an opportunity to connect with them in that powerful context.
4. Do you have a compelling story to tell them and their friends?
Have something interesting to say, that nails their needs and can be re-told. Find the simple truth that makes your brand unique.
5. Is now the best time to tell it?
Consider the timing of your campaign. Think about category seasonality, competitive activity, your portfolio activity, economic trends, major events, media opportunities and market conditions.
6. What is being said about you and your industry online?
7. What are the hot issues in the press right now?
Knowing the big issues of the day can lead to a core strategic thought, or to clever tactical ideas that leverage a hot topic.
8. What have you learnt from previous campaigns?
Looking back provides an opportunity for improvement. Measure what you can within reason and dig deep to ascertain effectiveness.
9. When and where might be the most potent moment to tell your story?
Simply making an ad and reaching as many people as possible is not enough these days. Think about moments of greatest receptivity for your brand and your audience.
10. Could just about anything in the world be a potential communications channel?
Don’t restrict your thinking to traditional media channels. Explore everything. Create something new. Create your own.
What other questions do you ask yourself when pulling a marketing communications strategy together?