A communication strategy framework clarifies how businesses should communicate with their employees, investors, customers, and suppliers. Some of the key elements of an effective communication strategy move around purpose, background, objectives, target audience, messaging, and approach.
Understanding a communication strategy framework
Fundamentally, an investment in a communication strategy framework (CSF) is an investment in success. This is because success is dependent upon the individuals within a business and how well they communicate with internal and external stakeholders.
To encourage communication conducive to success, strategies formulated for a CSF must facilitate behavioral change. For example, a business must communicate to its customers that it understands (and can subsequently meet) their needs. Suppliers want a business arrangement that is mutually beneficial. A business must also satisfy investors with confident communication regarding future profitability.
Importantly, the CSF is a written plan in the form of a company vision. It clarifies what successful communication looks like and inspires stakeholders to work toward ambitious goals and objectives.
Key components of a communication strategy framework
While developing a CSF is more of an art than a science, there are several key components which should not be overlooked:
- Purpose – a brief statement regarding the communication strategy and how it will be implemented.
- Background – or a description of the initiative and the ideal outcome to be achieved.
- Objective(s) – all company communications should be in alignment with company objectives. Note that communication is not an end in itself – it should always guide broader objectives that reinforce a core vision or goals.
- Target audience – who is the strategy created for? Remember to create a strategy for each target audience.
- Messaging – to create a robust communication strategy, it’s crucial to understand what the target audience wants to hear and how they want to hear it. Communication should rely on storytelling that incorporates an interesting narrative, compelling imagery, or human interest. Research is crucial in understanding each audience and then crafting a story that is concise and relatable.
- Approach – how will the strategy be implemented? A business communicating a product recall may place television and newspaper advertisements. A business looking to increase investor confidence and transparency may conduct an external audit of internal operations.
Benefits of developing a communication strategy framework
For businesses undecided about developing a CSF, they should know that there are numerous benefits to doing so:
- Stronger relationships – customers who enjoy a strong relationship with a business tend to become loyal, repeat buyers. A stronger relationship with suppliers means they are more likely to accommodate a specific business’s needs. Businesses who invest in shareholder relationships get easier and continued access to investment capital.
- The ability to overcome obstacles – successful communication strategies have the potential to overcome obstacles that hinder growth. For example, a business that communicates well with governmental agencies may no longer be subject to red tape or excessive industry regulation.
- Increased awareness – businesses that take the time to engage in constructive communication with stakeholders naturally learn more about their specific needs, attitudes, and interests. With this newfound information, they can fine-tune their strategies to maximize effectiveness.
- A communication strategy framework is a foundation for all internal and external messaging throughout a business.
- A communication strategy framework seeks to align company values, goals, and objectives with behaviors that contribute to long term success.
- Businesses that create communication strategy frameworks enjoy stronger, deeper, and longer-lasting stakeholder relationships. Some can also overcome traditional obstacles to growth such as government or industry regulation.