The Strategy & Tactics to Win
If you’ve paid close attention to our website, you may notice two statements that seem paradoxical at first glance:
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
“Strategy is a commodity. Execution is the art.”
As it turns out, both statements are true.
Without a sound strategy, no effort spent on tactics can be fully cost-effective.
And without proper execution at the tactical level, a strategy is just so many words on a meaningless page.
That’s why we begin our process by gaining as nearly as comprehensive a frame of reference of your business and your customers as time permits, given the situation at hand.
In a crisis communication event, that may be a matter of hours.
For a planned roll out of a new product, brand, event, or attraction, weeks and even months are likely to be needed to fully steep ourselves in your business and your problem to be solved, or goal to be accomplished.
During this discovery phase, you simply cannot give us too much information. If your email begins, “I doubt you can use this but…” you must go ahead and send it. When in doubt, give us the benefit of whatever bit of information, however seemingly inconsequential.
We begin by describing, in all pertinent respects, your current situation. We seek brevity, but not at the expense of any crucial detail.
If we cannot agree on where we are as the effort begins, it is nearly impossible to expect that we can work in harmony to achieve the desired outcome.
Our initial SA will seem, in most respects, like a statement of the obvious. Except, there will almost always be one or two nuances that we have not fully grasped, usually for the simple reason that we do not sit where you do.
Once we know your business challenge and the stakeholders who can influence the outcome, we home in on the objectives we seek to accomplish.
We always want to know when to declare victory, because we really like declaring victory for our clients.
The objectives should be meaningful and (above all) measurable.
The next step is to identify and clearly elucidate the strategies by which we plan to reach our objectives.
Strategies are clear and concise statements of the guiding concepts and principles of our campaign to achieve the ultimate goal.
They reflect the situation, the resources and capabilities available, and the existing brand image and socio-political standing of the enterprise involved.
Tactics are no less (and no more) important than strategies, for without them, the strategy is nothing but a philosophical deadend.
Execution matters immensely. Poor tactics or production can actually unsell your product, idea, or initiative.
All effective communication campaigns rely for their success on the repetition of key messages to target audiences who can influence the outcome.
Time spent honing and refining and testing key messages pays dividends in results.
Once we have an agreed upon strategy, a set of tactics we intend to deploy, and a tightly constructed set of key messages we wish to convey, we must then match those messages up with the channels, or communication vehicles we will require to get our message out.
The list of potential communication vehicles is exhaustive, but the most often used include:
- Social Media
- Email Messaging
- Special Events
- Targeted Sponsorship
- Print Paid Advertising
- Broadcast Paid Advertising
- Facebook Paid Advertising
- Google AdWords
- Other Social Media Paid Advertising
- Direct Mail
- Media Interviews
- Earned Media Events
- Editorial Board Meetings
- Small Group Meetings
- All Hands Meetings
- Round Table Discussions with Management
- Rack Cards
- Civic Club Appearances (with attendant media coverage)
- Mailings to Customers, Prospects, Employees, Stakeholders
- Optimized, Dedicated Micro site
- or any of dozens more, depending on the situation
No two campaigns are alike. Each comes with its own inherent array of challenges, unexpected aspects, and downright quirks.
There are, therefore, often one or more executional considerations that must be taken into account, and made an integral part of any communication plan.
What form might such considerations take?
– With a highly sensitive audience, the tone and stance of the campaign might be as important as the content.
– A rate-setting or regulatory environment could influence a range of executional choices.
– In certain instances, it might be critically important to avoid blaming and shaming a third-party.
– The choice of words might be especially delicate. When we successfully passed Seven Day Beverage Sales in the first-ever county in Alabama to permit it, we were important to call it that and not “Sunday Liquor” sales.
– There are times, especially in advocacy work, when establishing a permission structure is the most important executional consdieration.
The Basic Argument
Once we are ready to begin the creative process, we often start by developing the basic argument: the most concise and factual statement of our case.
Preliminary Copy Bed
From the basic argument, and depending on the complexity of the project, we will often write a basic copy bed that embodies the basic argument and provides supporting information.
The next step (by which time we are well prepared) is to generate the creative deliverables that will set our campaign and plan in motion and sustain it over the time necessary to complete our objectives.
This will almost always be an array of deliverables designed to provide content for the various channels to be deployed.
If you can benefit from our process, send us an Email today.