How do you build a strategic communication plan that can withstand the rapid-fire changes going on in politics, business and technology?
CW Senior Editor Jessica Burnette-Lemon asked Caroline Kealey, internationally recognized strategist and change facilitator and winner of a 2016 Gold Quill Best of the Best Award in Change Communication, about the value of strategic planning and how to avoid the pitfalls of the process.
In addition to her role as principal of Ingenium Communications, Kealey also serves as the lead instructor and program director for the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Strategic Communications and Change. She is the developer of the Results MapTM best practice process for strategic communications and change planning, a step-by-step methodology designed to help communicators become more strategic and elevate their contributions to the next level.
Jessica Burnette-Lemon: Why is strategic communication planning important?
Caroline Kealey: What has always stood out for me is that strategic communication planning is a catalyst for alignment. It’s all about creating the conditions for an organization to have some intentionality about its communication function—to answer vital questions such as why we are communicating, who are the priority audiences and why they are important, what message we want to bring to life, what channels will be most effective, and finally, how we’ll know if we’ve been successful.
Strategic communication planning is also an invitation to undertake a discovery exercise—research the communication landscape, explore ideas for innovations or benchmarking and plan a course forward based on the best insights and evidence available. It’s the perfect antidote to the reactive, short-term nature of the communication discipline, and it’s the space where we can really become indispensable to the organizations we serve.