Technical difficulties and the importance of planning

We had one final Fast Take Friday from Paris to show you. It was at the Arc de Triomphe where it is incredibly busy with traffic (so much traffic), people (so many tourists) and that particular day wind! So much wind that it overpowered our little Flip Cam’s microphone and made the video unusable.

This technical issue brings up a key point in what we do as communicators. Our Fast Take Fridays are important to us. We plan them out carefully, deciding what topics are relevant, why they matter to you and what tips and hints to share. The ones we did in Paris were a bit of a bonus and I have to admit, I took the technical aspects for granted. Something we never do on a client project.  This technical issue actually allows me to talk about the value of planning and the importance of it.

The magic of a great communications initiative is in the planning—whether it is a video, a brand journalism campaign, an article, media relations outreach, speech writing or any kind of writing for that matter, a town hall event (or any event), a communications audit, an issue and crisis communication plan…well, you get my drift. You have to be prepared for the what ifs—because in our world, if you don’t have a Plan B, Plan C and Plan D, you are going to find yourself overwhelmed and reacting, rather than proactively making strategic decisions and shifting your efforts to generate results.

Here at AHA, we go through a process for everything we do that allows for review, constructive criticism, input, revisions and once that is all done—before it goes to our client—we do another reality check. We review the strategy, the approach, the tactics and all of the details again with what we call tough love. The objective is to pretty much tear it apart, if we can. That way, we look at all the angles and we don’t get so enamored by an idea or approach that we lose perspective. It is a crucial step for success.  Then we send it to our client and go through a process with them to make sure, from their perspective, it meets their standards and expectations.

At AHA, we’ve done quite a bit of work in the entertainment world and one of the most valuable lessons we have learned from that industry is that the more effort and attention paid in preproduction, the better the end result. And in some areas, there is an additional benefit. We have done work with clients in developing issue and crisis communication plans that, to date, have never been needed. My feeling is that because we went through the planning process to develop an issue and crisis communications plan, extra attention was paid to certain elements that were highlighted in the process that could become an issue. By identifying potential challenges, the organizations are able to proactively minimize their risk and find solutions. That doesn’t mean that an issue or crisis won’t arise, but if it does, they are well prepared.

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