Guest post: Building a communication strategy

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This month I’m really pleased to be able to share with you a guest blog from Jesse Appiah, a business support intern for Holy Brook Associates (HBA), a bookkeeping, financial services and business support company. He has written this post detailing his experience of using the Browning York communication strategy template.

To be honest, before my current internship I was unfamiliar with the use of a communication strategy document. The lack of knowledge sparked a sense of curiosity and I wanted to understand how the use of such a tool could improve my productivity and quality of my work.

The template covered a range of areas, from what is the purpose of the communication strategy, who are we aiming to improve our communications with and how will we go about the faithful execution of that strategy. Each section featured an exemplar illustration/tool that could be used, but the template is also dynamic enough to be altered for any organisation. This further extends to say that you can modify the template to your specific needs.

Communication purpose and audience

The first thing addressed is what the purpose of communication strategies would be, a flow chart being useful in showing the stages in which effective communication is achieved. This prompted me to consider what we want to achieve through our communication at HBA.
Arrows left to right with the words awareness engagement behaviour change results

Secondly, the template directed me to think about the audiences affected by the introduction of a communication strategy. This is done by adding key information, looking at things from their perspective. The perspectives consist of questioning what they know, what they would like to know and what can be improved to bridge the knowledge gap. For instance, the key information that would impact potential clients would differ to the information requirements of current clients and employees.

Thirdly, I thought about highlighting brand awareness as to what perception we want to create for the public. In any such case, at HBA we want to be perceived by the public as skilled professionals, approachable in demeanour. This is further exemplified by our commitment to our clients and community.

Communication principles

These are the fundamental aspects that ensure communication methods are optimised as an activity. These include relevance, consistency, inclusivity, timeliness, and reciprocation. This helped me to create a checklist with which I can compare and review the different communication methods.

Creation of a timeline helps to track and monitor the consistency of communication. I created 2 timelines, one to mark our annual key dates and the other to address recurring tasks that are performed monthly.

Next steps

My next focal point will be the evaluation and performance management tools. The suggestions for social media platforms will be by tracking the number of impressions. For the Holy Brook website, tracking the number of website visits will be a key performance indicator (KPI) alongside webpage click rates.

My verdict

It is truly a useful tool that considers all the factors needed for a successful communication campaign and a more cohesive workforce.
I would advise people to use the template as a guideline document as it is a dynamic tool applicable to the needs of any organisation. This has helped reformulate my approach to have a more careful, planned, and efficient execution of communication channels.

Jesse Appiah is a recent French and Business graduate from Henley Business School, currently working with HBA as a BA Business Support Intern. He is looking to improve his marketing and business knowledge through new opportunities. You can find him on LinkedIn.

You can find out more about Holy Brook Associates via their website and Twitter feed – the eagle-eyed among you will spot me in their Twitter header image, I am an associate for them, working with their clients who want to improve their comms and business planning as well as their finances.