Benefits of a Communication Plan
What are the benefits of a communication plan? The lifeblood of what we do as human beings and the glue that keeps us all together as a society be at a local, regional, national or indeed international level is the ability to communicate with one another. Many times that communication breaks down and many times this leads to unintended consequences. All entrepreneurs are familiar with a Business Plan and a Sales and Marketing Plan but not everyone has heard of a Communication Plan.
What is a Communication Plan?
A Communication Plan is an attempt to standardize the message that goes out of the business to its customers. It complements and dovetails with a Business Plan and Sales and Marketing Plan. In some instances, there can be an overlap. It includes all written, spoken and electronic communications.
Some of the ingredients of a good Communication Plan include the brand of the business. The brand, with no more than a graphic or a word, defines the company. Think of Google and its colors. I expect you would have trouble remembering what letter of the alphabet belongs to each color but there is no mistaking what the word Google means. Similarly, the word Coke. As soon as you read the word Coke the color red comes to mind. So one of the first things to consider in your Communication Plan is the brand and how you want it perceived by the market.
Many business owners choose to hire a brand or image consultant work through this part of the business. They would look at things such as the business name, colors, logos, graphics, and other items so that there is a consistent look and feel. Large corporations spend a lot of money getting this right as it quickly represents the company. Consider BP, Subway, Macy’s, United Airlines, FedEx, HP, AT&T, and Edward Jones to name a few.
A good way to build a Communication plan is around objectives. For example, it could include excellent customer service, customer retention or loyalty, how to touch each customer be it through a monthly newsletter, email or telephone call. It obviously includes bringing the employees of the business together so they understand any objectives and understand their role of that communication.
Another suggestion includes identifying what tools you will use to communicate with your customers. For example, it can be your website and blog as well as newspaper advertising, magazine ads, posters and even things such as report covers. There is no shortage of ideas.
It’s also important to establish a timetable, especially where goals and objectives are attached. The current work environment is overwhelming and requires prioritization; especially if others are involved.
Finally, the communication plan should include measurable results. These results can be established on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They need to be reviewed on a monthly basis and then communicated back to the team so they know what they are doing is effective, or it isn’t effective, what needs to be changed to achieve the desired results. A final annual report then needs to be provided so it’s archived but available to review each year.
Part 7 of this article series looks at how the Business Plan, Sales and Marketing Plan and Communication Plan are tied together with a Management Plan.
If you’d like more information about how to transition out of your business, feel free to get in touch with me for a quick consultation. We’ll discuss your particular business, what’s important to you and make a plan for those first few steps.