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Value of Comms Planning  

Why should businesses invest in their comms planning? 

In November of 2022, I took a leap of faith and accepted a position as a part-time professor for the communications department at the University of Ottawa. Although I am a seasoned professional, I was still quite apprehensive as I sat there trying to plan out what to teach my students.  

Creating my class content allowed me to review some of the basic concepts of comms planning. This, in turn, allowed me to be more focused with my clients at Syntax Strategic, and it got me thinking: Why should businesses care about and invest time and energy into planning their communications?  

Good communications start with a good strategy  

Businesses or organizations would never think of starting work in a fiscal year without a strategy in place laying out what they want to accomplish.  

However, communications planning is not always mapped out in the same way. Instead, communicators are often brought in at the end of a process, whether it’s the signing of a major deal or the announcement of a new report. This leads to communication teams reacting to a decision using a tactics-first approach that is not closely aligned with corporate strategy. When you are reacting, as opposed to planning, you are not maximizing the impact of your communications.  

Conversely, communications planning is a structured way to approach communications based on a rigorous research and analysis process. The best example of this is John E. Marston’s RACE model, taken from the book The Nature of Public Relations, published in 1963. This model can be adapted for the digital world we live in, but the basic steps are still necessary and useful today.  

R stands for research: an important step to discovering your client, their industry and issues, their goals, objectives and target audiences.

A is for action: this is where you plan your tactics or actions you will take, mapping them by audience. 

C is for communication: having the right messaging in place for your audience as you launch your campaign and roll out all your tactics. 

E is for evaluation: to determine if your goals were met, what results were obtained and what can be improved for the next time.  

I today’s digital world, one should not wait until the campaign has concluded to evaluate its success. Because of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, communicators should stay in “beta” mode, constantly monitoring and adjusting their tactics and messages based on real-time data and comments.  

The added value of efficient communications  

The pandemic has changed the way the corporate world approaches communications. In a world where you could not meet in person, we all had to become more intentional and focused in communicating. It’s been reported that since the pandemic began, communication teams report more directly to the CEOs, as opposed to the chief marketing officer. That’s a sign that businesses are banking on the crucial role and value of communications more than before.   
 In short, here are three good reasons every business should invest in a proper communication strategy:

To build sustainable growth and value for their brand. 

To refine their messages and speak directly to their target audience. 

To anticipate crises and to respond to them in a way that will protect their business interests.  


March is now upon us, and I am halfway through the session with my group of third-year University of Ottawa students. As I prepare for the last few classes of this session, I am pleased to see my students developing methodical approaches to communications strategies in their projects, leading to better ideas and evaluations! 

As the Health Practice Lead at Syntax, my goal is to be meticulous and creative as I help my clients frame their positions and goals for maximum impact. Through research, analysis and careful selection of messages and tactics, I can ensure that my client’s important messages related to the health of Canadians break through the noise and reach their target audience. 

For all your digital or traditional communications needs, Syntax’s Health Practice is ready to strategize and help you plan. 

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Marjolaine Provost

March 09 | 2023

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