Introducing Communication Strategy
Communication strategy deals with all the ways a company communicates information to its target audience. These information can be focused the products or services offered by the company but can also regard the story of the company itself, news about events and initiatives, and much more.
That said, communicating effectively with your target audience can be a difficult feat, especially in today’s omnichannel environment, mixing social media, web resources, print advertising, outdoor events, brand ambassadors, and even words of mouth. Yet, a powerful communication strategy is key to increase customer’s engagement, conversion rates, and leads. So important that, in fact, a functional communication is often able to make or break the success of a company, affecting brand awareness, brand image, and its overall reputation.
So, why doesn’t anybody succeed?
Usually, some of the most widespread challenges for companies willing to upgrade their communication strategy include:
- How to effectively manage new and different channels and tools
- How to engage hyperconnected consumers effectively
- How to adapt the identity of the brand to new languages
- Keeping pace with swift environmental changes in the sector
In this article, we’ll review what communication strategy is all about and how to orient oneself in the variety of concepts and definitions usually related to this term.
First, we must always have in mind that truly successful communication strategies usually possess two fundamental attributes:
- They express consistency across all communication channels and with the brand core values
- They show relevance to the socio-cultural environment of the identified target audience
Consistent and relevant communication strategies are thus more likely to generate impactful content that will be noticed by potential customers, leveraging content marketing and storytelling, without losing the brand’s credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of consumers.
Content Marketing vs Content Strategy
But how can we understand the kind of content we need to fuel the communication strategy of our business?
To find an answer, it is important to keep in mind the difference between content marketing and content strategy:
- Content marketing refers to any marketing format that creates and shares content focused on new customers acquisition and engagement.
- Content strategy deals with the entirety of processes that governs the conception, the realization, the endorsement, distribution, and optimization of content.
To have an idea of its importance, content strategy is also concerned with:
- Brand conversation (regarding core values, brand positioning, product news…)
- Non-business issues relevant for the brand (such as CSR, sustainability…)
- Opinion of the community about the brand (social media comments, blog posts, tweets…)
- Contents overall performance
- How the community look for the brand (which websites and social channels)
At this point, it is not difficult to understand that content marketing is meaningless without having a clear and definite content strategy in mind.
But you might wonder, how can we get a hold of it and develop a comprehensive content strategy for our business?
No need to panic. We just have to follow some important steps:
- Defining the story of our brand and the storytelling around it: it will be important to understand what we can express in our communication with customers.
- Building a content channel strategy to identify the right media platform for interacting with our target audience: This is a key step, as each media platform has its own rules and specificities.
- Defining the role of converged media in our strategy: converged media are basically the combination of paid, owned, and earned media.
- Composing the right team to build and drive the whole process: once everything is set, all that remains is to find the right people to do a great job.
Different Media, Different Communication Styles
Once we have laid out our content strategy, it is time to analyze the different kind of communication at our disposal. There are three main types of communication we can use to engage with consumers, and each brings value to the table in its own way:
- Communication above the line (ATL): This category includes all the communication activities which resort to traditional paid media, such as TV, magazines and newspaper, radio, and billboards. This kind of communication is usually related to a very large target audience and is concerned with increasing brand awareness rather than directly selling products and services to consumers.
- Communication below the line (BTL): This includes all the non-media communication activities, such as PR, live events, product placement, newsletter marketing, and sponsorship. BTL communication is focused on a specific target audience, that should be ideally already interested in our products and services, increasing the chance of getting new customers from the interaction.
- Communication through the line (TTL): Lastly, this third category is related to digital and social media communication, and it is often used to integrate ATL and BTL communication. TTL activities are the most flexible in terms of budget and can generate great results if crafted properly.
Ideally, a great communication strategy should include all these three categories, but this is often not the case for many businesses due to industry specificities, budget issues, and time constraints. Still, there is plenty of ways to develop successful communication with our customers without having a triple-A budget at hand.
Care to read an example? Just scroll down.
The importance of a website
One element that is often overlooked when it comes to communication is the company’s website.
A website is the “window” between consumers and businesses, that is why it has to reflect 100% of the brand image & identity, staying coherent with the communication strategy implemented on all the other channels. It can generally be managed in a very flexible way to meet the needs of a specific launch, for instance, leveraging design, user experience (UX), and user interface (UI).
Acting as a fundamental factor for differentiation, websites aligned with communication strategies are great instruments to outrun even bigger competitors without spending a fortune: design and overall style of a company website can tell much more than many marketing initiatives, all in the time of a swift glance by users.
If you want to know more about how to improve your website and scale up your communication channels, feel free to book a call with us: the difference may actually be bigger than you think.