If you’re starting to work on your strategic communication plan for next year, make sure your research is relevant to your recommendations. Over 20 years ago, a senior exec from BBDO introduced me to the concept of developing a Strategic Considerations and Conclusions section as a way to flag key points in a Situation Analysis and identify insights that will set the stage for the recommendations/action items when presenting a communication plan. It’s one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever received.
Most strategic communication plans (written or spoken) do a poor job of creating real relevance between SWOT, cultural analysis, trends, competitive reviews, etc. and the action plan itself – often leaving the audience unclear about why the recommendations presented serve as the best course of action.
As you present your recommendations internally, or to your client, you should be looking at faces nodding in approval instead of contorted in confusion. You should not leave your audience wondering why they had to endure 30-60 minutes of upfront research and pre-ramble if there’s nothing in the plan that clearly demonstrates its relevance.
This exercise not only helps create a stronger link between the set up and the plan itself, but also challenges us as strategic communication planners to uncover insights that will impact our recommendations, both in terms of tools and messaging.
Give it a try. Bridge the gap.