Passion, vision and the ability to deliver innovative services, are three key elements for the long-term success of your organization. However, if you would like your company being labelled an industry leader, there is more that needs to be done.
I’ve come across quite some organizations that tick all important boxes when it comes to creating opportunities for growth; however, they haven’t been able to get the exposure and visibility you would expect these organizations to receive, if you take the innovativeness of their ideas, products and services into consideration. The main reason is that they don’t communicate their expertise and passion in a consistent manner and they lack a clear and manageable marketing communications strategy. Here is a checklist that can serve as a catalyst for your marketing communications activities and that will help you to create the visibility and impact your brand deserves.
1. Use an integrated approach
Back in 1993 Don E. Schulz introduced the concept of integrated marketing communications, meaning that all marketing communications efforts should be aligned in order to maximise the results and to offer clients a consistent brand experience. Now with the growing importance of social media and other forms of online communications, it is even more important that messages are well-planned and that online and offline communication reinforce each other.
If, for example, one of your executives gives a presentation at an industry conference, you could announce this on social media, and invite or notify key contacts (who might attend the conference). After the conference you could optimize the content for various platforms. Think of writing a blog that can be distributed after the conference on social media. You could post the slides of the presentation on Slideshare, create an inspiring quote from the presentation and post it on Facebook, and write a summary in your next newsletter.
2. Create consistency
A consistent presence online and offline builds trust. Consistency relates to the frequency of your posts and activities, as well as to the look-and-feel of profiles and images used. Being consistent is maybe the most challenging issue in marketing communications, especially online. That’s why many organizations have outdated social media profiles (they started enthusiastically on a platform but ignored the platform afterwards) or have company pages on which the most recent update was posted months ago. Consistency can only be created when there is at least one dedicated person in the organization who is responsible for the overall marketing communications strategy. He or she should keep track of all activities, organize the content and monitor the results.
3. Increase your reach
Reach refers to the amount of people that potentially can see your content or hear what you have to say. As an organization you should build reach amongst people that are relevant to your business. If you would like to establish a leadership position, it is important to keep on expanding your reach. Have a look at the various social media platforms and ask yourself how you can grow your reach on these platforms next year. Publishing great content is one way to increase your reach, as this will trigger people to share your content and it will attract new likes and followers. Have a look at the online network of your employees as well? How could they help to further expand the reach of your organization?
4. Stay focussed
The biggest challenge in marketing communications, especially for small and medium sized companies, is to determine what can be done in the given amount of time. There are many platforms and activities to choose from. If you only consider the amount of networking events and industry conferences taking place, and the number of social media platforms you can choose from, then it is easy to get overwhelmed and end up spreading your energy and time over too many activities. Therefore, focus is important. It is better to thoroughly understand the dynamics of one or two social media platforms, than to be present on five without creating any results. The same goes for networking events, conferences and other activities. It is better to go to two conferences a year, prepare them well and give them a proper follow up, than to attend one each month, while lacking the time to get in touch with the people you met during these conferences.
5. Publish content that is in line with your area of expertise
Content should inspire and educate your target audience. Through your content you can claim expert status in the areas you would like your company to be known for. Therefore, it is important to determine which themes you would like to address in your communication. These themes can be used in your media relations, conference presentations, blog posts, updates, etc.
6. Humanize your brand online
We all want to do business with real people. So whether you communicate online or offline, make it real, make it authentic. I believe that strong leaders dare to show the human-side of their organization. What are you passionate about? What inspires you? Why do your employees love to work for you and what are they passionate about? What do your customers say? These questions can result in human stories that will inspire your target audience and establish your company as an authentic organization that people love to do business with.
7. Create a plan
All the issues addressed above are key elements for a successful marketing communications approach. However, without a planning, you might still not be heading where you want to go to. So have a look at your business and marketing goals for next year. How could your marketing communications efforts contribute to these goals? What needs to be done? When will you do what? Be specific and create an action list per month and week. That’s the only way to make things happen.
How will you create visibility and impact in 2015?
Feel free to get in touch if you would like to know how your communication efforts could contribute to your business goals and create the impact your brand deserves.