Communication Objectives

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The Strategic Analysis should culminate in a formal statement of business objectives, from which communication objectives are created. The communication objectives are not the same as the business objectives; they are the reflection of the business objectives.

An organization’s business objectives are simply formal statements that define the scope of the entire organization. They define how to appropriately allocate all organizational resources, from minimum-wage personnel to high-cost durable goods. In contrast, the communication objectives are the primary concern of the communication team. We should note that altering business objectives too frequently is akin to changing direction in mid-flight; it can lead to confusion for the workforce, communication team and the target audience.

The organizational communication objectives will reflect the stated business objectives, whether they be short or long term. Generally, business objectives are created using the SMART acronym.

Specific: They should be for a specific industry.
Measurable: Numerical values should be assigned for the objectives.
Agreed: They should be agreed upon by the workforce working towards them.
Realistic: They should be challenging but achievable, based on strategic analysis findings.
Time: There should be a time limit to achieve the objectives.

One of the defining differences between business objectives and communication objectives is that communication objectives can work towards intangible, or unmeasurable, goals. “Obtaining an average order value of $150″ is a measurable business objective. “Communicating that brand A is a premium brand within an industry” is difficult to measure as a communication objective.

Communication objectives will not always be measurable. On the other hand, specific communication strategies like Search Engine Marketing or Facebook fan pages can be measured through analytics or return on investment. To be certain, strategies are created to achieve communication objectives, but communication objectives might be an intangible association between a brand and specific traits or qualities.

In the past, tactical communication teams and media channels were limited due to marketing budgets. Today, many tactical communication channels are available at almost no cost. Today, anyone with a little knowledge about a social media platform can create a fan page or profile for a business. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the actual communication between the business and the target audience will be strategic and in accordance with the overall business and communication objectives.

The current “free media channel” revolution has led to an increase in “do-it-yourself” communicators, but the danger with some “do-it-yourself” communicators is the lack of education with regards to professional communication. At times, these “do-it-yourself” marketers do more harm to a brand than they realize, even though they are connecting with a target audience. Ultimately, our new interactive media landscape has blurred the lines between traditional advertising, public relations and marketing, but traditional communication professionalism should still apply for your business.

With the target audience in mind, Vagary leverages the available budget to outline a communication plan that defines communication objectives in tandem with a tailored media plan to meet the overall business objectives. The following is a very generic list of communication objectives:

1. Launch new product, service or brand
2. Drive immediate conversions
3. Inform the target audience about attributes or qualities for your product or service
4. Establish a need with the target audience for your product, service or brand
5. Increase awareness level with your target audience for your product, service or brand
6. Form or change an opinion about your product, service or brand
7. Decrease employee turnover rate
8. Increase the brand loyalty
9. Identify target audience needs pertaining to the industry of your product, service or brand

You will notice that the list above contains examples related to traditional advertising and traditional public relations, but they also include examples related to market research, which might be answered through social media. The point here is: in some cases our new media options facilitate interactive communication directly with our target audience. Today’s media plan can blur the lines between marketing, public relations, advertising, reputation management or otherwise.

Given a set of business objectives and communication objectives, a contemporary digital media plan might include the following strategies: a product blog site, Google display ads for a specific geographic area, a Twitter account and local search tactics. Another example of a digital media plan might include the following: a YouTube channel, a WordPress site, Bing search engine marketing ads for California and Colorado only, LinkedIn display ads and a StumbleUpon account.

The point here is that the digital media platforms at your disposal offer an infinite number of combinations to create your customized media plan. Many of the the media options don’t even require a budget, other than man-hours needed to leverage them properly for your organization. As a business, you should demand that they be managed by communication professionals. Vagary is Social Media Solutions.