I am recovering loose notes from months back, and seeing if they are in any condition to be published. This one needed some revisions and additions, mostly in the second half. And memory fails me, I don't remember what the goal of this line of thought was. Yet, I stand by all that I have written below and think it's good enough to share.
To bring a brand or company to a real digital mindset, it takes more than a shiny new website. It takes a new work method, a review of the established processes to manage brand and marketing. And a huge effort to bring everyone on board.
But let's start from the top.
Digital consultants of any kind know the story, a company, big or small, comes up with a new project for a website or shiny app that will get it closer to it's stakeholders.
The site comes to completion, goes live and everyone is happy.
End of story, right ? That's exactly the problem.
Big or small, the new site or app needs to become a key part of the day to day of every internal stakeholder's activity.
Comunication Strategy : How it usually works
What should happen: Marketing and brand managers set up a strategy and methodology to allow other departments to be agile in keeping the site up to date and aligned with the company's strategy.
What happens: The different departments see the digital channels as being outside their control and sole responsibility of the communication or marketing teams.
In turn, these teams sometimes find themselves without the resources and, sometimes, even the skills to manage the new communication channel. This usually leads to rellying heavily on freelancers and agencies that will handle the bulk of the work.
Resources get drained and someone will wonder where is the return on investment.
Comunication Strategy : How it should work
A strategy should be many things, the most important of which is a tool to empower others to make decisions in a more agile fashion. For that, the strategy needs to be a summary, a reason
Why like Simon Sinek presented in his Ted Talk.
Related, Three perspectives on strategy
It should also assure that everyone communicates the same message. If your company is into sports, it should only communicate sports and show that brand value in it's actions. If your goal is to be seen as the company with a powerful imagination, then it should have imagination and creativity in all it does.
A Strategy ensures that the brand become coherent no matter how many channels it uses for communication or who is speaking on it's behalf.
A good strategist will also give you more than a document with nice wording. He or she will help you breakdown the strategic vision into the different levels, from the C-Suite to the operational, and all of it will be building up towards a bigger goal.
At some point, it's about the Experience
I love to use what I have learned about User Experience in designing a strategy or teaching it.
My last workshop was aimed at professionals working for communication departments of higher education. Universities and Polytechnic institutes mostly. We talked about personas and at some point we were using User Story Mapping to identify touch points, owned and in-reach, in which to apply communication tactics.
What they realized at some point, was that communication alone would not be enough. They would have to get every department on board with the goal of reducing every attrition to the bare minimum in hopes of increasing the number of applicants.
A strategy that focuses on social media alone, on marketing or new business, will fall short. At this point, one route is to gather as much knowledge about the environment and the key external stakeholders, build personas and get everyone on the same page to what would can be their best work towards achieving the strategic vision for the company and for themselves.
It may sound like the communication strategy and the team that developed it should reign high and supreme. That is not the case. There is a key role to be played, yes, specially in internal communication and in motivating the internal players to aim at the same goals. That should not, in any way, steal the focus from the customer or from the user.
A company is most of all a team. And the strategy, in the design phase, must assure the buy-in from every team player. The last thing you want, is that your actions develop antibodies against you.