This article was originally published in the Ottawa Business Journal (obj.ca) on September 24, 2018.
The days of a communication-team being a nice to have, or something to invest in if business is going well, are over. Bottom line is this: strong, strategic communication and business success go hand-in-hand.
How your organization is perceived by customers and the public at large matters. A lot. In today’s fast-paced world, a brand’s worth is directly related to how it’s perceived and how it is reported on in the media.
Here are a few reasons why strong communications and media planning/execution is integral to all businesses:
Why let someone else lead, or worse, develop the narrative about your company? You want to be in the driver’s seat on how the public sees and interacts with your brand. A communications team should always be looking for proactive ways and opportunities to promote the organization they support and get them exposure in traditional or social media. Whether this is a smart digital campaign, proactive media pitching, or submitting thought pieces on key topics, having a strategic leader drive your communication initiatives can mean a lot more play in the media, without the costly advertising bill.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to media exposure. Oftentimes, you need to target your efforts toward niche publications. It may not have the circulation of a major national daily, but it’s where your audience engages and gets their information, and most importantly, it’s where you can influence dialogue. Strategically mapping your outreach efforts can be a key drive of success.
Having more exposure lets people know about your business. It’s as simple as that. You can be the best at what you do, but if a competitor presents themselves as the expert and gains greater exposure through traditional and social media, the customers are likely to follow. Gaining a public presence, and a voice in the conversation that matters to your customers will keep your company top of mind. Another thing to remember: people don’t buy products, they buy people or brands. If you increase your credibility and likeability in public-facing communications, sales will likely follow.
Communicating your message and your story also lets you communicate your values – what your company stands for, what causes it supports, and how it treats its employees. Use your media platform, including your digital presence, to reinforce your values. After all, people like working with and buying from good people.
A strong, strategic communications plan takes time and costs money, but failure to have one can be even costlier. Take the time, put in the effort to ensure you have the right people on your team dedicated to making you part of the conversation and you’ll see the difference.