When it comes to running a successful business, then communication is key. This especially applies in our day and age where connecting with a customer can speak volumes in markets that are flooded. The good news is that our era brings technology to the forefront and it’s now easier than ever to reach out to consumers and a target audience.  

With the rise of social media, email and text message marketing, and the current popularity of content marketing, businesses have countless ways to speak to people from all walks of life. 

What Is a Brand Communication Strategy? 

According to Wikipedia, strategic communication is the systematic planning and realisation of information flow – both within an organisation and between organisations.  

In marketing terms, a brand communication strategy follows suit with Wikipedia’s definition, the only difference being that it takes on a customer-centric approach. The point of the strategy is to get to know your audience, craft the right messages, and then present them using a mix of the right channels.  

It is also considered as one component of the marketing strategy with its purpose being quite simple: to support the marketing strategy and, by association, the brand strategy.  

Examples of Brand Communication Channels 

Brand communication channels can include:  

  • Email marketing 
  • Text message marketing 
  • Telephone marketing 
  • Blog articles and forums 
  • Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram 
  • Your website 
  • Online advertising (such as Google Adwords) 
  • Television Advertising, print media, and billboards 
  • Events and sponsorships 
  • Word of mouth 

To ensure that you reach your brand’s goals, you need to strategise so that you relay your message successfully. If you get it right, then you will be able to improve your business strategy as a whole.  

The Importance of a Communication Strategy 

It all comes down to the customer experience factor. 

We live in an age where consumers look beyond the products and services that businesses offer for elements that “aim to please”. Excellent communication is one of these elements. 

According to a survey conducted by PWC, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. At the same time, 32% of customers in the USA said that they would walk away from a brand they love after just one negative experience.  

A well-thought-out message sent to the right audience at the right time can secure your customer base and prompt potential customers into choosing your brand again and again.  

The result: sky-rocketing sales and a business that you can be proud of.  

What Is Included in a Communication Strategy? 

A communications strategy doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, by sticking to only five essential steps or components, you can create a basic plan that’s highly effective. 

The Five Components of a Strategic Communication Plan Are: 

NUMBER ONE – Identify your target audience. 

Who do you need to communicate with? Remember that it’s people you’re trying to impact, not machines. This means that you need to identify your target audiences and then you need to get to know them on an emotional level. During this step, you can also determine whether you have one type of audience or if you have multiple audiences with different personas. You then need to spend some time getting to know their hopes, fears, and expectations.  

NUMBER TWO – Determine your business goals and objectives. 

What do you want to achieve by communicating with your target audience? Too often, brands communicate because that is what’s expected of them. Perhaps they know all too well that it sets them apart from their competition? 

For optimal business success, however, your efforts should form part of a larger organisational goal (and ideally complement your marketing strategy). For example, do you want to increase sales by 30%? Do you want to prolong your customer lifecycle? Is your main objective to reel in a constant stream of new supporters? 

It’s during this stage of the communications strategy where you want to solidify your intentions – and then never lose sight of them. 

NUMBER THREE – Developing your key messages. 

What needs to be communicated to get your message across effectively?  Once you have your objectives in place, this phase will be easy. Here you’ll need to compile your messages so that they will speak to the emotional needs of your audiences whilst prompting them into a position that will put your brand in their favour. 

Your message should be clear, concise, and easily digestible. It should have the ability to be communicated across an assortment of channels without causing confusion.   

NUMBER FOUR – Creating a strategic plan of action.  

This can include how you will communicate as well as when. As we mentioned, the digital era offers a multitude of ways to communicate a message. From cleverly written blog and social media posts to traditional sales calls and print media, you need to figure out which method/s of communication is going to best suit your objectives. Researching when to reach out to your audience personas (and how often) should also form a crucial part of this step.  

NUMBER FIVE – Apply measures of evaluation. 

How will you know if your strategy was successful?  When applying marketing communication, then metrics are important. While you’ll have a good idea of whether you reached your objectives or not  (did your sales increase by 30%?) factual data and accurate figures will help you to determine if your communications strategy was ultimately successful. It will provide you with the insight you need to improve your efforts by highlighting any flaws or holes in your system.  

How to Create a Strategic Communication Plan Template 

A communication plan template will help you to streamline your strategy. It will form the basis of your approach and it will give employees and marketers an opportunity to share their perspectives and build onto important objectives. 

The template should include the five components that form the communication strategy as well as the subcategories that make up each component.  

This template should prompt you into answering the following questions: 

  1. Who are your top consumers? Why is this your target audience? Can your target audience be divided into personas and if so, how does each group differ? Will your focus audience change as your brand grows? 
  1. What are your hopes for your brand? Would you like to become a household name? Do you want your sales to increase suddenly or at a steady pace? Will you be using profits to introduce new products and services? Are the members on your team on board with your goals or do your brand’s intentions need to be redefined to please everyone involved? 
  1. Will your key message remain constant or will it change? Will your communications support your company’s values as well as its goals? Will your message speak to people on an emotional level. Have you used any factual data to determine which messages are received better by certain audiences? What type of engagement do you expect from recipients?  
  1. Have you ascertained when the best time will be to share your communications? Will you have one method of communication or more? What will these methods be? How frequently should you advertise, post content or send messages?  
  1. Do you understand how metrics work? What type of metrics will be beneficial to your brand? Will you use metric software or will you outsource this research? How will you use captured data for future communications? Is your approach working well with the rest of your branding strategies, such as marketing plans?  

This template will form part of your business’s strategy map. 

*See an example of a communication plan template here.  

What Is a Strategy Map and How Does This Affect A Communication Strategy? 

A strategy for customer satisfaction and business success features many puzzle pieces that need to fit together, with communication being but one piece of this puzzle.  

The solution. A strategy map.  

A recent digital marketing survey conducted by Smart Insights showed that almost half (45%) of companies don’t yet have a planned digital marketing strategy, nevermind a strategy map.  

What is a strategy map? 

A strategy map is a visual representation of a brand’s overall objectives – and how they all relate to each other. The strategy map should be your primary plan that you refer to and can help you to optimise your communications strategy and marketing goals all in one.  

A strategy map is also a great way to keep internal communications flowing so that everyone is focused on the same goals – which is key if a brand is trying to propel itself forward.  

To conclude – 

We’d like to remind you that no business is too small or too large to spend time creating and applying strategies, especially when it comes to engaging with people.  

We’ll end with the following quote: 

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godon