Effective Communications Is Like Solving a Mystery … Without Bodies or Stolen Jewelry
Published on June 11, 2018
By: LISA SCHULZE, MANAGER STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
I never thought I liked mysteries. Somehow, I thought of them as frivolous and felt I needed to spend my time reading more “serious” books. Yes … lame, I know.
But great mystery recommendations from my father-in-law changed all that. I loved being pulled into the story, trying to figure it all out with the detective, police officer or private investigator. Every great mystery takes you through twists and turns, throws red herrings at you and leaves you feeling a bit befuddled. But by the end, the who, what, where, when, why and how of it all is tied up nicely for you with a bow.
At The Bowen Group, our strategic communicators are a bit like detectives too, making sure we know the answers to who, what, where, when, why and how when tackling any campaign or communication plan. We are invested in our clients’ goals and priorities and make sure that they are reflected in everything we do for them.
We know our clients and their target audiences. Their mission, values and overarching goals are incorporated into every project we take on. Their tone and style preferences are clearly reflected in any tactic we create, whether it’s a blog, video, brochure or eLearning. And we are always absolutely clear on who our clients want to reach, understanding that their target audience may expand or contract from project to project. We flex as they flex.
What are the problems our clients are trying to solve? What stories do they want to tell? What resources or information do they want to share? If you don’t truly understand the “what,” you cannot possibly create sound communication plans or campaigns. That is why research drives all of our strategic communications. We learn the landscape, the ins and outs of every topic, so that we can translate even the most complicated issues or data into clear, concise language — every time without fail.
Where and When?
Knowing our clients’ audiences and their communication priorities pulls us right through our research and into delivery. And we know exactly where and when to reach different audiences. Short social media posts, articles, blogs, infographics, videos, memes, eTutorials … they are all great communication tactics, but not for every instance. We make sure our tactics match our clients’ audiences and convey the info they want to share.
And we know timing is everything. If social media is the best tactic, we recognize, through ongoing research, when to post content so clients get the best reach and the highest likelihood of significant engagement. If all client communication priorities for a campaign are leading up to a specific observance, we back plan all of our tasks to ensure everything is done and ready to launch on time. We deliver the right tactics, at the right time, for the right audience.
What does our client want their audience to do with the information? Why does it matter to them? Calls to action are a critical part of any messaging campaign. They tell target audiences exactly why our clients are sharing information with them and what they should do next.
Why does a young service member care about a budget? Because learning about creating a spending plan now sets you up for a lifetime of financial success. Why do our wounded, ill and injured Marines need to know about our Wounded Warrior Regiment Call Center? Because we want them to reach out and let us reach out to them to offer critical, often life-saving, resources and support. Calls to action promote overarching goals and mission.
How do you know if your communications succeeded? Did they reach your audience and did those calls to action result in … well … action? Our award-winning communications are built around clear objectives and metrics for determining success and where we can hone our messaging even more precisely next time. And those results go right into the next plan we create for our clients, growing our success as we grow our relationships.
As the manager of a strategic communications contract, I have the pleasure of watching our team expertly answer these questions every time they start a new project with our clients. They listen intently, sleuth out what may go unsaid, ask the right questions, and remain thoughtful and focused in all of their messages, tactics and objectives. They love the challenge of figuring out how to delight our clients every day through our communications strategies. So, even though they might not think of themselves as a Holmes, Poirot, Dobbs or Gamache, their strategic communication detective skills are second to none!