Thursday, October 16, 2008

where a plan gets you in a down economy

A good communications plan makes sure you don't get caught whenever you embark on a public effort, by analyzing your goals, audiences, messages, and all the factors that can aid--or interfere--with your effort to connect with a public audience. But in an economic downturn like this one, strategic communications plans can help you make the most of your incredible shrinking budget, staff or calendar, and pinpoint the goals most important to you and your audience at this time of change. Maybe that's why so many of our clients are engaging don't get caught for strategy sessions and planning efforts. Here are a few of the ways we use a communications planning process to help you manage in tighter times:

  • To make tough choices about what to pursue now and what to put off: When uncertain budgets or staffing limit the scope of your communications efforts, a solid communications plan can help you decide the most fruitful options to pursue now--and those that might benefit from a delay. Plans can be fashioned to straddle two fiscal years or develop in stages to fit your calendar, and all good communications plans help organize logical steps in a process so necessary first steps precede later, more complex forays.

  • To find new low-cost options -- or more bang for the buck: Lots of our clients exploring social media options for communications learn quickly that they have dozens of free or lower-cost options that can help you save on printing, postage, phone bills, surveys and more. (No, you don't have to build your own version of Facebook!) Once your goals and audiences are established, coming up with creative solutions is part of the planning process. In some cases, we can achieve more than you expect with the same or less.

  • To understand and decide on all your options: Lots of communications efforts begins because someone wants a specific tool--a report, a news conference, a release. But in most cases, you have several options to consider, and may be able to accomplish your goal or reach your audience with one you haven't anticipated (or fewer, or with less cost).

  • Need to reconsider -- or re-strategize -- your communications in these uncertain times? Contact us at for more information. We offer strategy sessions, facilitated retreats and other options for helping you devise an approach that meets your needs -- and gets you to your audiences with the right message.
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