PR strategy

AHA - Boardroom ImageAt AHA, we are communicators. Quite often that means that we work with our clients on projects that they want to share with stakeholders – either internal or external (and often both).

Sometimes, our role with them is to assist in developing communications vehicles – a website, an online newsroom, a Facebook or Twitter page or other social networking presence along with a strategy. Other times, we work with them on a business project and to help develop a communication strategy around it. Quite often, we are brought in at the start of the project and asked to contribute to the project as a whole – rather than being given the directive to “communicate this.” That’s always an exciting time because it shows that the client organization understands that communication deserves a seat at the leadership table. They see that a strategic communicator can provide value in a business strategy session, not just build a communications plan around a strategy.

Often we are asked to participate in product development brainstorming sessions, to contribute to refining a corporate structure, to work with them on plans for growing their business or improving their organization with a focus on becoming more relevant and valuable to stakeholders. As senior communicators, many of our clients find it of value to have us in at the start of the project to provide our input and feedback.

When I came across this article in Forbes online, it reinforced the value of communication throughout an organization and to external stakeholders as an organization focuses on innovation.  It’s worth a read.

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There is an interesting blog post on that highlights how many organizations are using social media without a strategy. The number is high and while it shouldn’t, considering what I see every day, it surprises me.

I have to admit that there are days (like today) when it feels like I am repeating myself over and over again on this blog. Let me say it again – it all comes back to strategy. To be effective using social media, or when using any communications or PR tool, you need to have a strategy.

When it comes to developing a strategy, one of the challenges goes beyond the fact that social media is cool, fun and “new.” I also think that there is some confusion in a lot of organizations about what a strategy is. I have been in quite a few meetings where the meaning of the words “strategic” and “tactical” were confused. Our friends at Beaupre PR have an excellent blog post on the difference between strategy and tactics. It is definitely worth a read, even if you are clear on the difference.

Without defining your strategy, it’s hard to identify your objective. For example, tomorrow (Friday) – we at AHA are launching AHA Flip Cam Fridays on this blog. Our strategy is to further position our Vancouver PR agency as a leader in providing strategic PR in the age of social media. We focused on transforming our small Vancouver PR agency into one of Vancouver’s hottest PR companies. In order to do that, we identified several tactics that would support our objective of building our client base by establishing our knowledge and skill set in the areas of PR and social media. That includes moving AHA up in the Google rankings under the searches of Vancouver PR, Vancouver PR agency, AHA and AHA Creative Strategies.

If we had just decided that we wanted to video blog, that would have been a little like putting the cart before the horse. Why should we video blog and what is the purpose of going to that extra effort? For us, we defined what we wanted to achieve and then we identified the tools that would help us get there.

The social media component of our plan to grow AHA is just that, a component. There are other areas that we are focused on as well. I also speak regularly to groups, associations and organizations about the importance of blending social media and traditional PR.

There isn’t just one prong to our approach and that’s because we defined our strategy first and then developed the overall approach and identified which tools would work in this situation.

That’s my two cents worth for today. I am looking forward to tomorrow and the launch of AHA Flip Cam Friday.

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There is a very interesting piece by Grant Cardone on the Huffington Post. It has a compelling title: Do PR Firms Make Sense Anymore?

According to the article, Mr. Cardone has had some disappointing results using PR agencies over the years. Not knowing the background of what the objectives and goals were, what the strategy was or how the agencies approached the work, I don’t have the information to comment on that component of his article. But it is never a pleasant experience for anyone when you don’t achieve success.

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