Communication Strategy

Successful PR requires a well-formed, clear Communication Strategy.

We at ec-pr believe in an integrated approach to PR, which goes hand-in-hand with the full range of marketing activities. In order to make this a success, your organisation needs a communication strategy that provides clarity of approach.

Indeed your comms strategy will become the backbone to inform and guide all marketing communications moving forward, including the Public Relations activity.

If your organisation’s marketing is operating on a tactical level instead of a strategic one, ec-pr can help your marketing team regain control of your brand and marketing strategy.


Case Study: Lloyd’s Maritime Academy

Case Study: Lloyd’s Maritime Academy

LLoyd’s Maritime Academy

Taking control and leveraging the brand

BACKGROUND

Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, a subsidiary of Informa Plc, offers an enormous portfolio of online training to maritime professionals around the world.

New to the business and leading a marketing team of six, Veronica Araujo’s prime remit is performance marketing, centred around generating leads to fill the hundreds of courses that Lloyd’s Maritime Academy delivers around the world.

Problem

The brand was being marketed under a sub brand ‘KNect365 Learning’ creating confusion and dilution. Veronica and her team had become aware that the business was not only operating in silos but was functioning on a tactical level rather than a strategic one and as a result, this world-famous, prestigious brand was not being leveraged to full effect.

In an ever-increasing competitive landscape, it became clear that a more targeted and focused approach to its marketing and communications activities was needed to ensure Lloyd’s Maritime Academy stood out from the crowd.

SOLUTION

Veronica had already initiated a quantitative brand perception study amongst customers when she asked EC-PR to design and deliver a branding programme. The purpose of which was to clarify how the brand was perceived by its critical stakeholders, as well as develop a communication strategy to provide clarity of approach.

Utilising both the quantitative study and qualitative engagement conducted by EC- PR, the strategy would include the value proposition, industry prioritisation, persona development, positioning statements and messaging. It would form the backbone to inform and guide all marketing communications moving forward, including the Public Relations activity for which EC-PR would also take responsibility.

Outcome

“The Communication Strategy development programme EC-PR delivered returned control and authority to the marketing team. We feel a greater sense of brand ownership and appreciate the enormous value of the Lloyd’s name, which had become lost amidst delivering everyday tactics.

As a marketing team, we are better aligned and empowered, and externally, we are working hard to put our clients back at the heart of everything we say, do and develop.

We now know exactly what we need to say in order to support our different target audiences at different stages of the buying cycle. The clarity and structure of the communication strategy which EC-PR provided us with, has given us a set of tools and a plan which makes everything we do make so much more sense. It is still very early days and I look forward to reporting on the impact the new strategy has on our business.”

Veronica Araujo

Head of Performance Marketing, KNect365 Learning

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Six reasons why you need a communication strategy

Six reasons why you need a communication strategy

Six Reasons Why You Need A Communication Strategy

Marketing plays an integral role in the business’s growth, but without a clear communication strategy, money is being wasted and it’s impossible to be consistent and efficient.  CMO’s are expected to deliver whilst working in a vacuum.

In our experience, CMO’s with a communication strategy can lead the business with greater confidence and authority.

 

1.    Enables you to lead your business

As a CMO you need a comms strategy because it will make your job easier and more rewarding, it will also help you to lead the business and perform your duties at a higher level altogether.

The nature of being responsible for a company’s marketing means you must respond to multiple demands from the business. This can lead to a kind of tactical myopia. Your colleagues in sales will demand qualified leads – and rightly so – but if you haven’t got a mutually agreed understanding of your target sector priorities and a tight definition of your target personas, then the likelihood for disagreement or disappointment is almost inevitable.

 

2.    Provides focus and efficiency

Low hanging fruitA well-formed comms strategy keeps you both focussed and aligned. It ensures you are more efficient, by focussing your time and money on the strategic priorities. The natural optimism, energy and opportunism characteristic of salespeople means that they can be distracted by whoever or whatever appears to be a quick win. That’s not to say low-hanging fruit shouldn’t be picked if it falls outside the specified target – but it must be recognised for what it is and should not distract everyone from the wider strategic intent.

A comms strategy provides a yardstick by which every effort and initiative can be assessed for efficacy. Everyone needs to understand when the pursuit of low hanging fruit has turned into an unhelpful distraction and drain on resources. If you own a comms plan, this will be as clear as the nose on your face.

 

3.    Results in more effective messaging

Your audience is ...article quoteYour target audience will rarely comprise a disciplined cohort equipped with all the information they need to select your products and services. Your audience is most likely made up of broad groups of people, with similar sets of responsibilities, who are at different stages of the buying cycle. They are probably ill-informed, confused and/or insecure in their knowledge or options. Creating typical, representative personas helps to focus attention and effort. Furthermore, understanding that your target persona will be at different stages of the buying cycle enables you to develop messaging which talks to their individual information needs, while addressing their fears, motivations and irritations. This approach, which respects your target audiences’ differences, will be more persuasive because you are telling them things that matter to them in a way that helps them to move along their buying journey.

 

4.    It forearms you

Your comms strategy captures your sales needs, sector priorities, personas, positioning and messaging. It provides you, and your extended team and colleagues, with many of the essential tools you need to enable you to deliver your business objectives. I’m a great believer in active decision-making. The process of formulating your comms strategy will enable you to identify knowledge gaps. Then, you can decide whether you need to secure the missing information or not.  It’s important to recognise and understand the implications of your action or inaction so that outcomes don’t come as a surprise – forewarned is forearmed.

 

5.    Brings clarity of purpose

a communications strategy quoteWhatever your objectives and whatever your requirements, a communication strategy just makes the process of getting there more efficient, more effective and the journey so much more rewarding. Having clarity of purpose also allows you to lead the business, fend off unnecessary or irrelevant requests and direct your resources with intent.

 

6.    Enables effective PR

So, where does PR fit into all of this and why am I writing this article? My view is that the most effective type of PR is PR that is fully integrated; it is wrapped around the marketing activity to create impact and effect. The most effective type of PR follows a clearly defined plan, speaking to people about the things they care about in a tone that engages and persuades. We can only do this properly if there is a clearly defined comms strategy…and so, we arrive full circle.

Read about our latest communication strategy project featuring Lloyd’s Maritime Academy

If your marketing is operating on a tactical level instead of a strategic one, EC-PR can help your marketing team regain control of your brand and marketing strategy.

Please get in touch to see if we can help you.

EC-PR specialises in helping Science, Technology and Engineering companies create clearly defined comms strategies and fully integrated PR solutions.

B2B PR – Five steps to an effective B2B communication strategy

B2B PR – Five steps to an effective B2B communication strategy

An effective B2B communication strategy will focus your marketing and PR efforts in order to target your client niche and meet your business objectives. Here are five steps to get you started.

 

1. What success will look like

My starting point is always to determine what success will look like, in terms of what do we want marketing to deliver in order to enable the company to achieve its strategic goal(s)? Whatever the desired outcome is, it must be measurable.

There should be a communication objective against each business objective such as: To generate #X qualified leads for bespoke vessel design from shipyards servicing the renewables industry.

 

2. Whose attention do we want to grab?

Knowing what we want to achieve then leads us to the next quantifiable question: whose attention do we want to grab? We need to be as specific as possible and I would suggest that the starting point for this would be your existing database.

Identify who you currently sell to in this industry and use this as a signpost for whom to target moving forward. For example: We want to target and engage Technical Designers and Vessel Designers employed by Shipyards (anywhere in the world).

 

3. What can we say that is arresting?

Following on, we need to say something to make our audience stop and think. We want to say it in an intelligent and authoritative way that challenges their assumptions or inspires their imagination. (Remember: People buy why you do something, not what you do. They engage with your passion**).

This is where we, as a B2B PR agency, play a role expending creative energy to communicate in a way that provokes the reaction that you want.

 

4. What do we want them to do?

Now that we have their attention, what do we want them to do? The call to action is what enables us to measure how successful the marketing communication has been. It needs to be realistic and achievable.

It can also provide a clear hand-over point between marketing and business development, such as: We want them to give us their contact details and indicate their area of interest (and possibly what stage of the buying cycle they are in).

Be realistic, business people will not place an order for many hundreds of thousands of pounds off the back of a piece of marketing communication. However, they will express interest by following a link or subscribing to a newsletter, or requesting a download. Once this is received, it’s at this point that your business development people should step in and take over the lead while your marketing communication continues to work in the background.

Your marketing team should also be aware of the technical tools available to help you track engagement from your B2B communications. For example, make sure that you measure clicks on online links. If you are putting a post onto LinkedIn or sending an email to your prospects, then track the URLs with a campaign name, medium and source. If you use Google Analytics, you can generate a tracking code using their Campaign URL builder here. This all helps give a fuller picture of the impact and effectiveness of your B2B communications and where there might be weaknesses to address.

 

5. Relevance and cost-efficiency

The choice of marketing vehicles then comes down to relevance and cost-efficiency, i.e. how do we get our message to your target audience in the most cost efficient way?

Because your strategy will be well-planned and measurable, you can then test different media and messages to see which gain the most traction, thereby increasing cost-efficiency over time.

When a company is tackling multiple markets there will be a range of vehicles being deployed with some overlap. The important thing is for everyone in your team to be clear about your desired outcome for each given capability and market.

The golden rule

Essentially the better you design and execute, the better the outcome – for those engineers** in the audience: does this sound familiar?

At ec-pr we have a three-phased approach to B2B PR, starting with The Messaging Lab – Communication Strategy Development. This will give you the best start to an integrated communications campaign.  Contact us if you would like us to help you prepare an effective communication strategy for 2019. See our case study for Lloyds Maritime Academy demonstrating the power of a Communication Strategy here.

** We are passionate about helping engineers and technical people to communicate more effectively with customers, colleagues and the media because we believe you are a remarkable group of people who make the world a better place and often don’t get the credit you deserve.