What is communications planning?
Author Anthony Young (2014) defines communication planning with flavor. “It is about moving away from the job of delivering messages to audiences and moving towards better understanding of how consumers receive and respond to communications.” Young offers that the starting point is the consumer and not the media channel or the discipline. He says that when practiced at its best, communications planning not only develops the brand media strategy, but also informs the creative.
“For a long time media strategy was based on delivering creative messages efficiently and effectively. As the media marketplace evolved, communications planning in the brand media strategy have become more important ingredients in the advertising development process. Context relevance and involvement have become important components in making the communications more potent. Communications planning is about ensuring that these factors are built into the advertising process. (Young, 2014)
Lee Keifer (2012) adds, “Defining a brand’s voice can be daunting, but it’s an important step if you want to connect with your customers on a human level.”
Both of these media experts recommend that to reach your communication and media goals, you need to ask a lot of questions. I look for subtle emotional responses when receiving answers, oftentimes asking follow-up questions to drill down even further. During the inquisition phase, I try not to get bogged down with trying to find immediate solutions.
Some of the most important questions Keifer recommends include:
- Why do people choose your company over your competitors?
- What other brand voices do you admire?
- If your brand were a person, how would you describe them?
Planned organization shouldn’t hinder creative freedom
“The communications planner really does have to be a super planner. The best part about being a communications planner is having the creativity and freedom to develop and present your ideas in a very individual way.” (Young, 2015)
At one point we’ve all been on that team with great ideas percolating through our inner creative genius. I’ve also noticed that as the ideas get stronger, the follow-up coordinated efforts can begin to shift to a willy-nilly status. Pertinent things aren’t getting written down, no one knows the delineation of who’s doing what, and timelines and milestones are just about anyone’s guess. This is why it’s important to know the communication strengths and weaknesses of your entire marketing team in an effort to ensure a smooth flow and transition throughout the entire IMC process. At the very least you have to have a project manager with excellent leadership, organization and communication skills. The project manager also has to make sure that the process requirements aren’t impeding the objective of getting discovering emotional responses that carry key discriminators of your communication and campaign goals.
As our lecture points out (Rhodes, Week 3 MMC 5006) the “Four C” approach of balancing content, communication, community (listening and engaging), and collaboration with partners, company, and clients.
How to incorporate consistent communications planning techniques in distance learning
The fundamental of good communication requires two way dialogues. Luckily, internet lectures and video satiate our visual and hearing senses. However, the majority of time students are restricted to developing and reading posts. This method may seem more impersonal, especially when engaging our emotional responses. On the contrary, two-way communication via reading can give us the insight and foresight to develop informative posts and responses based on continuous two-way dialogue with instructors and classmates. Listening while reading can actually be the best mode of getting to know what to write in discussions and blog posts based on collective dynamics of experiences and the desire to connect academically, professionally and personally. Most distance learning university departments give broad creative framework that provides the communication tools essential to maintain and thrive in our knowledge-sharing community. “IMC core principals and concepts is the basis to everything we do to apply in our working experience and other classes by controlling messages sent out and rich with content.” (Rhoads, 2015)
How Communications planning relates to strategizing IMC?
“Media planning is focused on reaching as many on the right audience in the right place at the right time and that the right cost as possible, whereas communications planning is less about reaching people than influencing them.” (Young, 2014).
Communications planning allows me and my fellow students/professionals a more strategic way of determining media choices and connections strategies. Budget restraints must also be carefully interwoven into our plans to mirror our company culture and monetary restrictions. It is all about zeroing in on getting the best bang for the buck. Most of us in our personal lives take great aim at painstakingly finding the best products and services at the best costs. Carrying this mentality over to your professional environment profits your community. Sure, it may take more time and due diligence, but the rewards of capitalizing on your communications planning and social media efforts through the right ROI Integrated Marketing Channels is rewarding by capturing loyalty in your intended markets.
Here is a great video where industry Experts assess IMC Future (Links to an external site.)
Keifer Lee, K. (Nov. 20, 2012). 10 questions to help you find your brand voice. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/katelee/2012/11/20/10-questions-to-help-you-find-your-brands-voice/ (Links to an external site.)
Rhodes, J. (January 2015). Week 3 Lecture: Integrated Marketing Communications. MMC 5006, University of Florida.
Young, A. (2014). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. Pages 31-41, 101, 102, 104-106. Palgrave Mcmillian, New York, N.Y.