We recently caught up with Sarah Mason MPRIA, trainer at HSPR and we quizzed her about the forthcoming Strategy School workshop which is now open.
What do you think the key aspects in a well-articulated communications strategy are?
A well-articulated strategy encompasses a defensible and saleable position on how you recommend solving a business problem. It should be simply phrased, earthed in evidence and research-led insights and be easy to communicate up and down the chain of command.
What do you consider the short-comings to be? How do you overcome them?
Over many years as a judge for both PRIA Golden Target and other associations, and in the many proposals I see in my role as a trainer and assessor, a clearly defined strategy is very often missing entirely from the proposal. More often than not, people skip the strategy and lead with tactics - confusing the two along the way.
The strategy = HOW and the tactics = WHAT. There's a distinct difference between the two. A solid strategy should set up your tactical ideas and clearly demonstrate how the plan is going to meet objectives.
Strategic planning takes time - give yourself the time to think about what the business problem really is and how communications could solve it. It's the part that can make your brain hurt with all that thinking but it's also the most valuable part of the proposal. Don't jump straight to ideas - I get it's the fun bit - but spend time on developing a defensible strategy. This only comes from a deep understanding of the objectives, the audience, the category, the culture and the environment in which we're operating.
What qualities differentiate the boss from the rest of the pack
The boss is a thinker - more than a doer. The boss can clearly develop and articulate a strategy - backed by intel, insights and instinct. The boss leads by example and inspires others along the journey. She/he's a creative problem solver, honest, reliable, results-orientated and gets the job done - on time, on budget and on point.