The digital economy has warped the way business is done. Due to the emergence and prevalence of new technology, it’s about time you translate your brand strategy into a cross channel plan. It’s time for comms planning.

What is communications planning?

Communications Planning definition

Communications planning process of transforming brand strategy into an actionable approach which connects all media touch points. Simpler, it is the connecting of all brand media, creative and strategy.

This plan explains the role of each channel implemented in a strategy, while also demonstrating the relationship between channels, media and brand. 

Why does communications planning matter?

Communications Planning planning matters
  1. To compete with the best brands, it’s important to meet consumer touch points. Which is to say, if a market consumer spends time on social media, then market producers ought to follow suit. Effective communications planning ensures a seamless integration of market channels.
  2. Comms planning is increasingly important for brand growth. With traditional marketing channels yielding diminished results, a comms plan offers to opportunity on a broader focus on business growth. 
  3. A narrow focus on customer acquisition limits the ability of companies to reach  a new audience. However, a worse consequence for those who resist a comms plan is the inability to resonate with their core audience. A well done comms plan puts the consumer first, uniting the brand experience across multiple channels.
  4. Comms planning introduces businesses to a full media ecosystem. Opening brands up to earned (brand mentions) and owned (website) media, as opposed to rely solely on the paid avenue. 

Communication planning dives into understanding the audience of a brand. It defines the business challenge, consumer insight, strategy (understanding who the consumer is)  and activation guidelines. 

 

5 deliverables of the communication process

Communications Planning deliverables

1. Media big idea – The organizing idea which is rooted in the strategy. All elements in the comms plan ought to lead back to this central notion.

Think of the big idea as that which expresses the identified need that ought to be satisfied by a brand. It is the launchpad which all channels of a campaign share in common – something we’d like to resonate with the target audience.

A simple example of a big idea: Motivate millennials.

2. Media architecture – The mapping of the consumer journey – matching and explaining the role of each channel across each stage.

3. Media mix – The allocation of budget across media channels. It’s determined by assessing consumer behavior (media consumption), past channel performance,

4. Plan snapshot – Gives a high level view of the channel plan. Recommendations are guided by brand moments, launches, seasonality, trends, competition and opportunity.

5. Ecosystem – The complete view of the brand’s interactions with consumers across implemented media channels. This overview presents how the typical consumer is driven on their customer journey. As strategy evolves, the ecosystem will follow suit.

How comms planning interacts with marketing

Communications Planning with marketing

Campaign briefing – For a digital agency, the comms planning team may get involved as soon as the client briefs the team. 

Strategy – Comms planning participates in developing a strategic approach in which consumer motivations may be addressed.

The comms planning and the strategy team ought to agree on the “big idea” of the campaign, moving on to establish the media architecture, media mix, plan snapshot and ecosystem. 

Tactical Recommendations – The comms planning team ought to support the tactical execution of strategy per media channel. The comms planning team ensures that the budget set in the media mix is followed. Plus, when required they are also responsible for updating the ecosystem. 

Campaign Activation – When custom content is required for a campaign, the comms team may get involved to ensure the big idea and overall strategy are maintained

Reporting – The comms team helps study campaign results, providing insights for reporting to the client.