Communication is a lot like magic. Our myths, our legends and the great wizard merlin teaches us that magic can be used for good or evil, for benevolent or symbiotic purposes. Communication helps us to share our love and inspire others to come together to face the difficult challenges we see in our generation. It is communication that fuels our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, business partners and product consumers. However, this same communication has its dark sides. It can be used to foster greed and carry out manipulative and maleficent deeds. Just like magic, when in the wrong hands, is very dangerous. Manipulation is a behavior that influences someone or controls something in a clever or dishonest way. A healthier, more effective and symbiotic way of using the super power is utilizing strategic communication. Some may say the two are the same but strategic communication seeks to benefit everyone involved while manipulative communication seeks to control and meet selfish needs.
Strategic communication uses message development with high levels of planning and research of audience behaviors and perceptions to fulfill a mission. Strategic communication can be used by individuals for goals as simple as asking a girl out to prom or asking for permission from your African parents to stay out after curfew or for a much more profitable act like marketing a product or requesting a business partnership. It helps you evoke specific responses out of your target audience.
This super power is often overlooked by small businesses. It is difficult to quantify the impact of bad messaging, and in most cases it is just as difficult to quantify the ROI(return of investment) on messaging and positioning. Messaging is a key part of building any great company. Every business organization has a purpose and vision which leads it to develop products that solve the problem of specific types of customers. The process of creating a customer is a process of communicating your vision and values to the right set of customers in the market. Strategic communication facilitates this.
If an organization exists, it communicates. Whether or not the communication is effective is another question. Before diving into the method of strategic communication, I would love to show how to evaluate communication in your company or small business.
To get a good result, do an internal and external assessment.
Internal assessment: This exercise will help you understand how your team or just you (if the business is solely owned and run by you) talks about your company and product.
- Write down a sentence telling what you do in the company( company pitch)
- Write down a sentence telling the problem solved by the company
- Write down a sentence telling the difference between the business and its competitors.
- Write down 3 sentences telling why consumers should patronize your businesses.
If the answers given are fairly consistent then the next step will be the external evaluation.
External assessment: This can be done through survey or interviews. Interviews are more efficient as you get to personally communicate with the consumers. You can ask questions like:
- Why did you purchase our product or service?
- How do you use the product or service?
- What do you like about the product or service?
If a customer says he or she dislikes a product, always ask why. It is never about the product but the impacts the product has on their daily work and the problem it solves.
You can now compare the internal and external assessment to find your loopholes.
Method of strategic communication.
- Identify the goal : Identify the goal of your company. Knowing the specific aim and putting it in mind when crafting messages is the first step to communicate strategically.
- Understand your audience : with the aim at hand, you will need to research your audience behavior and understand their reaction to specific details and approaches. Know what is appealing to the particular set of people and the right words to grab and hold their attention.
- Communicate the value: Help the consumers understand what they get in return for purchasing the good or service. Show the essence of the product for them.
- Express the need: Express your need to them. This step is not always necessary
in general marketing of your product but is essential in sealing deals, partnerships and very important when communicating with investors.
Remember the popular phrase,” it’s not what you say but how you say it”. Well, to have a successful strategic communication, what you say and how you say it are both very important. Watch your losses turn to profits when you apply these steps in strategic communication.
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Akaji Blessing Odo, currently undergoing an undergraduate program in the department of medical laboratory science is a multitalented creative, who expresses her art in music and hair dressing and recently dived Into the writing world.