The Autonomy of the Communications Strategy


“The idea that men are created free and equal is both true and misleading: men are created different; they lose their social freedom and their individual autonomy in seeking to become like each other.”

– David Riesman

(Photo credit here)

 

Ah, the elusive communications strategy. Frequently also called a PR plan, a social media strategy, or perhaps talking points. Too often, it is just communications with no strategy.

How do you talk about yourself or your business?  Do you use advertising, the media, social media outlets, blogs, websites or your own promotional materials? If so, those are all tools that you are using as part of your communications strategy, whether or not you name it that way.

But what I’m troubled by today is not the lack of strategy – it’s the lack of creativity in strategy. There is not a step-by-step guide that can guarantee success in communications. Why? Because everyone is different. As the quote above suggests, if all we are doing is seeking to become like each other (have you ever heard someone in a meeting say “we need to be more like – insert company name here”?), we fail.

Yes, you need a strategy. Preferably an overarching mission, some goals, and then strategies and tactics using different channels that will best connect you to your audience. But it’s not a “paint by numbers” process. Which means it’s not easy.

To communicate well, you have to do some deep digging – researching your audience, that community of people that you care about and want to connect with. Because ultimately, your organization is different than any other, and that is why your customers and stakeholders chose you instead of someone else.

Autonomy is defined as self-governing or independent. To me, communications strategies must be autonomous. Please don’t tell me that we should utilize a specific tactic just because someone else is doing it. Tell me why it would help me connect with my specific community. Why not embrace our differences and stop being followers?

Do you have a communications strategy? Do you follow it? Why or why not?


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