Establishing a communication strategy – INSEEC

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All businesses in this world have goals:

  • Make yourself known or make your products and services known;
  • To make the public adhere to its company, its brand or its values, by conveying a “positive” image;
  • To make consumers act by making them buy their products and services, in order to develop the company’s turnover.

To effectively achieve these objectives, it is therefore necessary to put in place a good communication strategy. The latter will define following an analysis of the market: what are the objectives to be reached? What is the target audience? What is the message to be conveyed and what are the means to achieve it? All this in a quantified (budget) and planned (schedule) way. All of these questions need to be answered precisely.

If your communication strategy is well executed and relevant, then you will easily reach your objectives, which will be a real success for your company.

We will therefore see in detail below the different steps to establish an effective communication strategy.

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Étape 1 : Analyse de Marché

Before establishing your strategy andaction plan, you must first conduct a study of your market where you will analyze :

  • The main trends of your market (sector, volume, turnover, market conditions: is it developing, stagnating or declining? etc.)
  • Buyers and consumers (their profiles, needs & behaviors)
  • Competitors (who are they? how many, what do they offer, at what price? etc.)
  • The environment (the regulatory and legislative framework, the social, economic, political and ecological environment, innovation and technological evolution)
  • The opportunities and threats of your market.

To do this, you can perform a SWOT (*). Indeed, this will allow you to analyze and define what are the strengths and weaknesses of your company but also what are the opportunities and threats present in your environment and your market?

This will make it easier for you to define your positioning, especially in relation to your competitors, and thus to survive in your market.

This tool and this analysis will help you make strategic decisions and thus guide your communication plan in the right direction from the start.

(*) marketing tool that analyzes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats

Étape 2 : Définition de vos objectifs

The first thing you will have to do following this analysis is to define your objectives. You will have to answer the question “Why? Why do I want to communicate? What do I want to achieve?

Your goals can be many:

  • Promote your brand, products or services
  • Develop your visibility, notoriety
  • Improve and strengthen your brand image
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Prospect for new customers

If you want to succeed in your communication strategy, it is therefore essential to define your objectives. Be specific. For example, instead of saying “increase my community on social networks” say “gain 3000 subscribers on my social networks before the end of the year”.

For your information, you can have only one goal or several. Most of the time, a company will still have several objectives. To define them, you can use the SMART method:

  • Specific: it must relate to a precise and clearly defined element;
  • Measurable: it must be quantified;
  • Achievable: it must be within the reach of your financial and human resources;
  • Realistic: it must be relevant to your situation;
  • Temporally defined: a deadline must be set in order to make it tangible.

Étape 3 : Définition de votre cible

Next, you will need to answer the question “Who? Who do I talk to? Who do I want to target with my communication actions?

It can be consumers, and in this case, you will have to specify which types of consumers you are addressing. You will need to identify: their gender, age, place of residence, socio-professional category as well as their interests and behaviors. The more you know about your target, the more you can develop a personalized communication strategy.

You can have other targets: partners or employees in the context of internal communication; influencers that you want to influence so that they communicate about your products or services directly to your target.

You will therefore have to develop different means and axes of communication according to your targets.

Note that the knowledge of your audience is fundamental to develop effective actions. You need to know exactly who you are targeting and why.

Étape 4 : Définition de votre message

Then, you answer the question “What?” and define your message and communication axis.

The latter is based on two elements:

  1. Content: this is the promise you want to convey; what you bring to your customers and what characterizes your company.
  2. Tone or atmosphere: These are all elements related to affect. It must be consistent with the content of the message chosen beforehand.

You will define the communication style you want to adopt with your customers. This style will be mainly defined by your target audience and can thus take several forms (playful, funny, serious, nice). You will need touse it for all your communications. This will allow you to be identified more easily and to create a direct emotional link with your customers.

Étape 5 : Définition de vos moyens de communication

Once you have defined your objectives, your targets and your communication axis, you will have to choose the means of communication to implement. These are all actions that will allow you toreach your objectives while conveying the right message to the right people.

There are a multitude of means of communication that can be classified into media and non-media:

  • Media
  • Print media
  • Radio
  • TV / cinema
  • Display
  • Internet
  • Outside the media
  • Event communication
  • Trade shows
  • Direct marketing
  • Public Relations
  • POS (point of sale advertising)
  • Print support
  • Communication and digitalmarketing(website, social networks, emailing …)
  • Merchandising
  • Sponsorship, patronage, sponsorship

It is up to you to choose the relevant actions to implement in relation to your objectives and your targets. It can of coursebe several actions, we will then talk about “cross channelcommunication.

You will also need to define “Who” will perform these different actions? Is it you or an external communication agency or provider?

Étape 6 : Définition de votre planning et de votre budget

  • Planning

Once you know exactly what actions you are going to take, you need to plan them in a calendar so you know exactly when they are going to take place. Again, there needs to be strategic thinking. When is the best time to launch this action (depending on my objectives and my target)?

Don’t forget to include KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure the performance and effectiveness of your communication actions. This is what will eventually allow you to adjust your strategy and be better the next time.

  • Budget

As for the budget,it is a question that was raised well in advance and which is very important, since it makes it possible to prioritize the actions to be implemented and to have a long-term vision. It will depend on your structure.

To establish your budget, we advise you to follow these 3 steps:

  1. Dedicate a percentage of your turnover: the budget allocated to communication will depend on the situation of your company, the size of your market, your target or your positioning;
  2. Know the elements to integrate into the communication budget: you must know the actions you will implement as well as the associated costs (e.g.: creation of a website, participation in a trade show, advertising on social networks – what costs?)
  3. Measuring ROI: If we want to evaluate the quality of our communication actions, it is essential to measure the results (how much did our actions allow us to gain?).

It is therefore necessary to follow these different steps to carry out your communication strategy.

In any case, itis a theme that we study at INSEEC, whatever your training, because it is essential in the business world today.

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Updated 2 August 2023