Friday, 6 December 2013

Build me a Bridge

It seems to be OK, even admirable these days to say you were useless at maths at school. Well, I wasn't. I was good at maths, although I couldn't add up without counting on my fingers or scribbling on paper so maybe my mental arithmetic wasn't so hot. But when it came to algebra and that sort of thing, my strategy was always to go back to first principles - what are we trying to do here?

It's worth doing the same these days in my job, as marketing communications becomes an ever more complex field. I do sometimes need to remind myself about what strategy is all about. It's about being in one place, and wanting to get to another place, then building the bridge (the strategy) to get you there.

With brand communications, those places involve people. What are people thinking, feeling and doing in relation to your brand and the market it's in at the moment? What would you like them to think, feel and do in your future - that your brand communication could potentially influence?

I sometimes get myself in a tangle, still, when thinking about objectives. "Communicate that our brand delivers XYZ benefit better than any other" isn't a communication objective, it's a message or bit of content. But what change in people's perceptions or behaviour do we want to see? That is a communication objective. Whether we can measure it such that it becomes a numerical goal is another question.

Business objectives are usually couched in the language of profit or growth. Marketing Objectives may include brand/market share, or % penetration. And these objectives need all elements of the marketing mix (4, 5, or 6 Ps depending on how you see it).

But communications objectives must relate back to something people will think, feel or do. Make the brand more famous than Victoria Beckham. Sign up a friend for the customer club. Give them a sense of self-esteem. Cry. Say yes. Say no. Dig their hand in their pocket and contribute.

And the more it's about doing, the better.

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