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What Is a Communication Strategy and How to Develop It

Date: 2023-10-19 | Time of reading: 8 minutes (1478 words)

Communication Strategy and How to Create It

High sales and brand recognition are impossible without proper communication. Moreover, communication with customers and potential audiences should be regular and consistent. Only in this way will users form a unified brand image and trust will increase.

Companies communicate through online and offline channels, which are managed by different people. Therefore, it is important to establish common rules – a communication strategy to maintain consistency in the style and ideas that the brand conveys. This plan simplifies the work of employees and leads marketing to the desired results.

What is a communication strategy

A communication strategy is the planning of how a company communicates with its audience to achieve business goals. Through various communication channels, the brand conveys specific information, values, and messages to lead customers to make a purchase, foster greater loyalty, and more.

Build effective communication with target audienceIt is important for a brand to build effective communication with its audience. Source: Gettyimages

A communication marketing strategy addresses specific objectives and aligns with the overall business goals.

The key objectives of a communication strategy include:

  • Effective interaction with the audience.
  • Increasing brand loyalty and recognition.
  • Clear communication of information about products and services.
  • Boosting company sales.
  • Brand image support and prevention of reputation scandals.
  • Setting apart from competitors.

Any communication strategy involves working with analytics (market and target audience research), brand image development, and engaging with customers through planned channels such as social media, television, outdoor advertising, and others.

Types of communication strategies

Communication strategies can be categorized as:

  • Internal – This type of strategy focuses on communication within the company, utilizing tools like messaging apps, email, platforms for employee communication, and more.

  • External – This encompasses the exchange of information within and outside the organization.

Based on the perception of the brand, a communication strategy can be further classified into three types:

Verbal strategy includes both spoken and written communication, emphasizing the use of words. Key communication elements in this category include email campaigns, messaging app exchanges, video calls, and personal interactions with customers.

Example of verbal brand positioning by Gail’s Bakery via telling the story of the companyExample of verbal brand positioning by Gail’s Bakery via telling the story of the company

Non-verbal strategy involves communication where words are not used, and meanings are conveyed through body language and tone. It is particularly crucial in video advertising.

Visual strategy heavily relies on graphic elements, logos, videos, photos, and may incorporate communication tools from both verbal and non-verbal categories.

The creation of a communication strategy often follows specific formulas.

FormulaDescription
AIDA (Attention – grab attention, Interest – generate interest, Desire – create desire, Action – call to action)This is the most well-known model in marketing that first grabs the customer's attention, then arouses their interest, and eventually leads to the desire to buy and the actual purchase.
AIMDA (Attention, Interest, Motivation, Desire, Action)The formula mirrors AIDA but adds an extra motivation to make a purchase. These can be various triggers: scarcity, limited time, and so on.
ACCA (Attention — grab attention, Comprehension — explain the product/service, Conviction — persuade that the client needs to take action (buy/subscribe), Action — call to action)Another model that resembles AIDA but focuses on argumentation and persuasion.
DIBABA (Desire - creating desire based on needs, Identification - linking needs to the company's product/service, Damp - pushing the user to take action (make a purchase) and explaining how the company's offer will be beneficial to them, reAction - noting the customer's reaction to the offer, Buy - suggesting a purchase, Atmosphere - creating an atmosphere for the purchase).Essentially, it's a step-by-step model for selling a product by studying needs and creating the necessary conditions.
4P (Product - showcase the product, Price - justify the cost, Promotion - market and define positioning, Place - choose sales channels)It is the formula for the classic marketing mix.
DAGMAR (which stands for "Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results")According to this model, customers are led through stages of product awareness, comprehension, conviction of the need to purchase, and, in the end, a call to action.
4A (Awareness - inform about the product/service, Attitude - shape attitudes, Action - call to action, Action again - motivate repeat purchases)Here, the emphasis is on customer retention and encouraging them to make repeat purchases.

How to create a communication strategy

1. Analysis

Developing a communication strategy should begin with an analysis of your audience and the competitive environment. It's essential to assess the effectiveness of your current customer communication in existing conditions. This analysis will help you understand trends and identify ways to differentiate yourself.

Determine:

  • the state and size of the market;
  • your current market position;
  • the presence of direct and indirect competitors and their strategies.

At this stage, it's crucial to create detailed profiles of potential customers, including their demographics, interests, values, and what motivates them to purchase your products and services. To simplify this process, create a persona—a specific customer character to whom your brand directs its communication.

2. Objectives

Establish the outcomes you want to achieve with your marketing communication strategy. This could include increasing sales, achieving virality (the number of people who have seen your online resources or advertisements), mentions on social media or in the press.

Set right goals to increase salesSetting the right goal is very important when creating a communication strategy. Source: Gettyimages

A proper objective is measurable and contains specific numerical targets. For instance, "increase conversion by at least 25%." This not only sets a clear target but also defines the resources required to achieve the specified metrics. You can also include additional goals, such as increasing brand mentions by a certain percentage or gaining more social media followers.

3. Positioning

During this stage, you formulate the core messages that the company wants to convey to its audience. The messaging should be oriented towards customer values and emphasize the advantages of the product or service. In other words, you determine the positioning of your brand - its place among other companies, products, and its unique selling proposition.

Example of USP from a furniture shop HausExample of USP from a furniture shop Haus

A clear company image that is understandable to the users is created and maintained across all resources.

4. Timelines and budget

Calculate how much money and time will be required to implement the strategy.

Budget types include:

  • Fixed monthly amount that does not change.

  • A percentage of the revenue generated.

  • Residual budget allocated after deducting operational expenses.

  • Flexible budget that is formed based on the needs and complexity of the set goals.

5. Media plan

The media plan outlines specific actions and tools for promotion across social media, traditional media, and other resources. It typically details what content is published, on which platform, and at what intervals. Advertising campaigns and their timing are specified, and channels and tools are selected (email marketing, personal sales, banner advertising, etc.). If influencer marketing is part of the marketing campaign, it is included in the media plan.

6. Launch and evaluation

Monitor the development of your communication strategy in the field and adjust it as necessary. It's important to analyze the process in real-time to make corrections, eliminate ineffective channels, and ensure that your strategy aligns with your goals. Evaluate the results of your strategy and how well they correspond to your objectives.

What's important in developing a communication strategy:

  • Consistency and adherence to the planned approach. It's a mistake to create a media plan but publish entirely different spontaneous posts. Flexibility is possible, especially when there is a newsbreak, but the overall strategy should be followed.

Example of newsjacking by IKEA, Christiano at Euro 2020IKEA rebranded its bottle after Christiano Ronaldo removed Coca-Cola from his table at the press conference

  • Relying on data rather than just experience and ideas. Creative ideas will emerge during the strategy development process, but it's essential to filter them through market conditions, audience interests (identified in the initial stages of strategy development), and business plans.

  • Timely error correction. Any plan, even one based on data, can be flawed and may not yield results during execution.

Summary

A communication strategy is a brand's plan for engaging with its audience across various channels to achieve specific goals. It is created to increase sales, enhance loyalty and brand recognition, and maintain a consistent brand image.

Communication strategies can be internal (within the company) or external (targeting the public), and they can take the form of verbal, non-verbal, or visual communication. They make use of marketing models such as AIDA, AIMBA, ACCA, DIBABA, DAGMAR, 4P, and 4A.

To create a communication plan with your audience, it's essential to conduct analysis, set goals, determine a budget, select communication channels, and create a media plan. It's also crucial to make adjustments during the process and evaluate the results at the end.

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Author: Nataliya Makarova

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