Communication Plans and Strategies for 2019

Every new year, we receive a brand new chance to make it our best. This is true for both our personal and professional lives, and as times change, so does the art of communication. With advances in technology and new generations easing their way into your key demographic, it’s so important to stay not only up-to-date, but ahead of the game in order to position yourself and your organization above your competitors. 2019 will be a year of authenticity and realistic expectations; take a look at what’s to come as it relates to communication plans and strategies this year.

1. Set Realistic/Attainable Goals

Too often do we tend to write down our wish list for the year in hopes of actually achieving all that we “want,” regardless if the goal is essentially light years away. It’s never productive to end the year with your team feeling like they have failed in one area or another (there is such a thing as setting the bar too high).

Suzanne Madison, President/CEO of Allegra Consulting advises to “have a predetermined budget set aside as a line item, which will align Media Activities against realistic goals. Setting unrealistic goals can be a challenge for example, stating that you would like to see a social media following of 5,000 followers within 30 days when the cost of achieving said goal might exceed budgets or unnecessary spend based on marketing objectives.”

At Allegra we focus on short term and long term goals. Short term goals could be smaller media priorities that your communications team can tackle inside of 30 to 90 days, such as updating your website with fresh imagery and content, a team photo shoot, or a stylized social media platform with targeted messaging. Long term goals would be heavy lifting over a 12 to 24 month timeline, such as target audience research, brand audit, new brand identity, messaging strategy, a new website, trade show experience or an outreach campaign.

By dividing your communication strategy into short term vs. long term marketing goals, it allows your communications team to move goals and media forward and measure actual results. The results are metrics and used in meetings to gauge your external marketing and promotions. It’s also imperative that your budget aligns with short and long terms media goals, and measurement. Reviewing media analytics and comparing them to your spend is smart business. Let’s talk a about what your marketing budget should look like… most organizations aren’t sure how to allocate funds toward communications and media. Depending on the size of your organization and industry, marketing budgets can vary from as low as 10% of sales or gross revenue to over 30%, depending on marketing goals.

2. Focus Your Messaging on Solutions

A quick Google search can bring up a plethora of information, including your organizations online presence. Focusing you messaging on highlighting your organizations expertise is what your demographic is looking for in 2019. Show them that you know a bit of this and that as it relates to artificial intelligence.

Keeping your team fresh and up-to-date with these trends shows first hand that you are an expert in your field, you know what you’re doing and are willing to share the knowledge and counsel potential clients so you both can succeed. AI is only getting bigger, and it inevitably advances faster than some organizations are able to keep up with. It’s best to get used to implementing SEO word tracks into your messaging and utilizing these social platform algorithms.

According to Suzanne, “AI is here and public sector organizations have to ramp up and get on board with technology. I would like to see more government organizations find ways to use more solar energy, efficient apps and sustainable platforms that work to reduce our carbon footprint and while creating healthy cities. “

3. Up Your Crisis Plan, it’s 2019

It’s something we all hope to never have to use, but it should exist, just in case. Without warning, on any given day, your organization can suddenly “go viral,” and it might not how you envisioned. Breaking news appears at the top of your Google homepage and as soon as you refresh your timeline. Just as quickly as news gets out, people are already commenting, sharing with friends who then share with their friends and before you know it, you’ve popped up on 15 news sites before you’ve had time to make a statement.

In order to stay ahead, it’s pertinent to have a crisis plan to communicate about scandals, data breaches, etc. to make sure accurate information is shared in order to minimize problems caused by misleading communications. A good communications plan indicates that you care about your employees and for your customers.

4. Be as Authentic as Possible

Face-to-face engagement and being authentic while doing it is a very important factor in how to navigate through 2019. People want to see more of the behind the scenes action that goes into what you do, not just the outcome. They want to see the honest hard work you are doing, and will decide on whether to support you from what they see first-hand and are able to gather through word of mouth. It’s not as important to be an already established and widely successful organization with a commercial spot during a popular sporting event; the people want your organization to be able to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Be open about your views, morals and mission statement. A perfect time to get your message out there publically is at networking events, community events that you plan and promote, speaking events with like minded nonprofit organizations that share the same values and support similar causes, etc. Create a demand by the people for your organization by giving them a sneak peak into some raw, candid authenticity.

Allegra Consulting, Inc. has been a full-service, award-winning marketing and communications firm for the past twenty years and counting, and has consistently stayed at the forefront in forward-thinking brand roll out due to their prioritization of keeping pace with the changing times. We believe technology and trends change at such a rapid pace that we’re living and working in an on demand 24/7 media cycle. Customers expect for government and nonprofit organizations to stand toe-to-toe with the private sectors.

Organizations have to budget funds in their expenditures to refresh their branding strategies and media tactics to remain relevant. An external marketing program can become obsolete with the blink of an eye, however by having short and long term integrated communication plans, those can become the guidepost that all media and branding initiatives should follow.