Communication strategy: how the brand communicates with customers

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The modern market is a highly segmented environment where each brand occupies a strictly specific position. In order to quickly find “your” buyer, “squeeze” into the market and successfully promote the product, you need to clearly define the development vector of communication with the audience.

A communication strategy can help with this, and that is what we will be talking about today.

Concept of communication strategy

Communication strategy is a type of planning that allows you to create a connection between the company and its customers. It is like a route map – it shows in which direction the organization needs to move and communicate with whom. So that employees understand exactly what audience they work with and what goals they want to achieve. As a result, brand recognition increases, quality information support is provided, strictly defined messages are delivered to specific groups, and there are no distortions when building relationships.

It is desirable to develop such a strategy from the very beginning, as soon as the company is born. However, in practice, managers and all those responsible for communications do not “mature” immediately, but only when the company takes a more stable position and reaches at least one level with the main competitors.

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What is included in the communication strategy

In order to understand how to contact consumers and achieve the desired effect, you must first consider the following points:

  1. Portrait of TSA. First of all, understand which categories of people will pay attention to your product or service, why they will come to you and what will motivate them to buy. You can create both a generalized and a more detailed portrait – it depends on how detailed the description of the CA will help you think through the remaining moments. The most banal example is men and women aged 28 to 45, with an average income, and a child.
  2. Goals and objectives. I compare it with darts – without a goal and tasks, you will not see whether the “dart” will hit the center of the “target”. Formulate them more specifically, without generalizations and blurring. Ideally, you can follow the SMART method. However, in this case, it will be necessary to revise the communication strategy once every 1-3 years. And all because the company’s goals and objectives differ at different stages of its development, but that’s a completely different story.
  3. Tone of voice. This is the tone with which consumers are addressed on behalf of the company. Simply put, it is the personality of the brand and its values. Moreover, the appeal goes not only through advertising and social networks, but also through packaging, PR, events, as well as during personal sales and communication with staff. It is desirable that the tone of voice should be the same, uniform in all channels. Moreover, it is formulated at the expense of four main indicators – the character of the brand’s personality, the tone of the messages, the language, as well as the purpose.

    Choice of tone of voice for communication strategy

  4. The main idea. This is probably the center of all communication, the very chip on which all advertising activities and company events are based. With its help, you can quickly and easily convey a key message to different groups of the target audience.
  5. Insight. This is what solves the problem of consumers and because of which they will definitely buy the offered product or service. To determine it, you can take a current problem or find something deeper by resorting to analytics. An example with a door-to-door delivery service – the buyer is too lazy to go to the store.What are the elements of a communication strategy?
  6. Key message. This is what comes from an insight – a formulation that represents a solution to that very pain. It can sound both unrealistically beautiful and very banal – the main thing is that it hits the spot and is understandable to everyone. The message can be rational, emotional and experiential. If rational and emotional messages simply hit the corresponding pain points, then empirical ones are more aimed at reflecting the user’s experience. This should include smell, color, taste, sound, texture and everything that a person can feel with his senses. Here are a couple of real-life examples:

  • Rational message – “Your clothes look like new” has been the slogan of Laska washing powder for many years.
  • An emotional message – the slogan of Kenned digital technology brand is “Let them know you”.
  • Empirical message – KFC slogan “So tasty, you’ll lick your fingers.”

Another optional element is the list of main competitors. You can try to match them, surpass them, cooperate or even compete (example: Burger King versus McDonald’s). The main thing is to understand that you are applying for the same niche and you can gain the trust of consumers in it.

Types of communication models

There are two basic models on which a communication strategy is built – internal and external. Here everything is completely logical and justified by the target audience of the company.

Internal model – This is the focus of communications on the internal CA, namely the company’s employees, their relatives, relatives and friends, as well as former employees. That is, these are all those with whom the organization has a direct relationship and those who are the bearer of the corporate image.

External model aimed at creating a connection with those to whom the company’s activities are directly directed. These are customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, mass media and even authorities. This model is used most often when developing a strategy.

I will only say that all CA groups are important for any company, it’s just that the degree of importance can vary depending on the goals, tasks of the business and the product itself.

Communication strategy tools

There are a lot of ways that will allow you to build communication with CA to the fullest extent and achieve good relations. Next, I will list the main tools:

  • The product itself. Exactly! How well-designed the label is, how well-designed and high-quality the product or service is, and how well it meets the needs of customers – isn’t it the best way to create effective communication?
  • Advertising. It surrounds us everywhere and at the same time always carries the main message from the company. The benefit in advertising is the key message, insight and main idea, interconnected. In most cases, it is thanks to advertising that people understand that this or that company exists, how serious and loyal it is.

    Basic tools of communication strategy
  • SMM. For some, promotion in social networks helps to attract new customers and retain old ones, and for others to contact investors, shareholders and other groups of the target audience. Communication goals can be different, and modern social networks satisfy almost everyone. The main thing is to understand where and when the representatives of your CA are most active.
  • Email-marketing. A good tool, with the help of which many talk about new products in the assortment or share digests and selections with customers. Another plus is that letters can be beautifully designed in a corporate style. Work on the content, pay attention to the design and your emails will find a response among the audience.
  • SERM. This tool is important because people usually read online reviews before making a purchase. If the company has good or at least carefully developed them, a person will start to trust it. In this case, the work is done with feedback and rating services, as well as publications in blogs and mass media.
  • Events This includes various lectures, workshops, seminars and webinars, excursions, exhibitions, festivals and other events. Their main advantage is the gathering of a large number of people, during which you can organize a full-fledged advertising brand campaign. By the way, this is a good way to improve the expertise of both the company’s image and its individual employees. And for the client, the bonus is new knowledge and positive emotions.
  • Bonuses Loyalty programs and bonuses often motivate customers to come back to you again and again. An example is the same grocery stores or supermarkets, where people often spend a large amount of money on purchases. Benefit to you in the form of multiple purchases from one person, and to the client in the form of some goodies. A well-thought-out bonus system is a guarantee that the client will return to you again. The main thing is not to limit yourself to one discount card.
  • Actions, raffles, contests. Such events have a double effect – on the one hand, many new people come to you. On the other hand, most often these people are active only at the time of promotions or raffles. I recommend that you think a hundred times before launching such events, and how you should think about the principle of their organization so that network users also receive a bonus, and you do not burn out at the same time.
  • Blog. There are many advantages of conducting it – from increasing the expertise of employees in public presentation to promotion in search engines. No one has canceled the holy rule “Content is everything”!

All these tools are aimed not so much at attracting new customers as at keeping old ones. As the famous Russian marketer Igor Mann says – those who bought something from you before bring more profit than “newcomers”. He even has a book “Returned”, co-authored with Hanna Turusyna. It is about how to return lost customers – I advise you to read it!

Stages of development

The entire process of developing a communication strategy can be divided into several simple stages.

Stage 1. Research, analytics

This is the period when all basic information about the market, suppliers, raw material prices, competitors and their products, availability of analogues, current situation, sales channels and consumer interests is collected. It is worth collecting all the data that will help to form a more or less complete picture in the chosen niche. You can use primary data (conduct research and surveys) and secondary data (internal and external documents, other sources). Tools like SWOT and PESTEL analysis will also be useful.

Stages of communication strategy development

Stage 2. Setting goals

The goal in this case is what the effect should be after all planned activities are completed. What impression will be formed in the audience, what people will come and become customers, who will leave, how will brand recognition and awareness of buyers increase. I have already talked about the method of setting SMART goals, it is a good way of tactical planning.

Stage 3. Positioning

Here is a selection of messages that will be further broadcast through the selected communication tools. Most often, this is where the company understands whether it is targeting the B2B, B2C market or something else. Also here, a portrait of the CA, a road map and a content policy are formed.

Stage 4. Selection of tools

This is followed by the selection of those tools that will more effectively convey the main message to the CA. It can be something from the above list or something suitable for the type of activity of the company – sites, forums, channels, messengers and much more.

Stage 5. Determination of the main ones KPIs

Do not forget that in the final the effectiveness of the communication strategy will somehow have to be measured and various KPIs will help in this. The choice here is quite difficult, because these indicators should show exactly the quality of connections with the audience, and not just business profit or the flow of customers.

Stage 6. Planning

As soon as the choice of promotion tools and performance indicators is made, you can start creating a content and media plan. This is a schedule, according to which certain messages will be published, specific materials will be placed on different sites.

Stage 7. Calculation of the budget

There is nothing to explain here. The main thing I want to say is not to plan too long. The maximum is 1 year, because planning is affected by inflation, changing priorities, the emergence of new, cheaper methods of promotion, etc.

As soon as the budget is approved, you can start the business.

Stage 9. Analysis of the results

It is recommended to study the results at the end of the general period, but also in between. Let’s say 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and so on. If something does not go according to the previously prepared scenario, it will be easier to react. Most likely, some tools will not pay for themselves, and you will have to abandon them – then the budget can be allocated to better channels.

Construction principles

Today, a lot is tied to the principle of client orientation, especially communication strategy. According to this principle, it is necessary to focus on the client, his needs, “pains” both during the creation of the product and during its promotion. Study what feelings and emotions the buyer feels when they see your product, whether it satisfies their needs.

At the same time, do not forget about insights. Everything depends on them, because it is they who formulate the needs of buyers. In this case, the saying “Brevity is the sister of talent” will be just right.

As for competitors, competent managers constantly analyze their activities and adapt to the market. As a backup option, you can try cooperation with them – if, of course, you are ready for such a step.

I’ll sum it all up like this – experiment! In the world, there is no clearly determined standard by which communication strategies are developed. Companies create them based on their material and immaterial (creative) abilities. As I said earlier, such a strategy can and should be changed over time, because trends and promotion tools are constantly changing.

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