Your customers and employees are watching what you say, but more than that, they are watching what you do. Your words matter, but your actions are louder, particularly during challenging times.
Many companies work hard to plan their public relations and marketing. Some are good at integrating those messages across their website, social messages, news releases, and other public forums. But few work to mesh those words with the actions that are happening across the organization. The result? Fragmented communication that can inadvertently pull your company further from your strategic goals, and over time, breed mistrust.
We trust a company when we think that they will act in our interest consistently. If a company says one thing on their website or advertising, but their customer service department or their operations are doing another, it’s a red flag. Trust erodes.
Here are three things that strategic communication planning can do for your company:
- Align your company in its totality around your strategic goals: Strategic communication planning involves considering your company in its entirety – your company’s actions, its culture, its messages, the images it sends out, its physical appearance, and the strength of your service – and aligns them so that they are all pointed towards your strategic goals and you are better able to make one unified, and subsequently louder, sound. When every department is aligned around the same goal, what’s important becomes more obvious; as does how the company must look, sound, and respond to keep moving towards its goals.
- Connect your employees with your mission: Strategic communication planning also isn’t focused exclusively on what you say and do to external audiences, but to your employees as well. When employees feel that they are a part of an authentic, and aligned company, they are more likely to become ambassadors of it. They are also more likely to feel a sense of ownership of the mission and empowered to speak up if they see something going in the wrong direction.
- Be better prepared for crisis communication needs: We would all prefer to avoid a crisis altogether, but a part of strategic communication planning is thinking through what risks you face as a part of doing business and how you will protect your company’s brand and reputation should something go awry. Strategic communication planning includes crisis communication planning, and risk management planning, which makes it more likely that your company can prevent a crisis situation from happening or be ready to handle it if it does.
These are big picture benefits, but they can mean the difference between a company having staying power – or flashing out when lightning strikes.