Climate change. Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, robotics. Lack of clarity around Brexit. U.S. Presidential election. Overall sociopolitical uncertainty.
These are just a few key market dynamics that will impact business in 2020. So why bother setting up a communications strategy at all, right? If everything is going to change in a few months why not just embrace “semi-controlled chaos” in our messaging, outreach and reputation and influencing strategies?
Resist this idea.
Sure, everything is changing around us all the time, but it always was changing.
Not this fast, you say? Not at this level?
Consistency in who you are in the market is the way to get the market to notice you, as much as launching a brand new idea. Sure, we want people to believe we just invented the New Big Thing — with as much enthusiasm as the launch of the Internet, the iPhone, and the scientific proof that wine is really healthy for you. (Okay, I made that last one up.)
The key to gaining quality attention (i.e. attracting people who are seeking what you have to offer) is to showcase a consistent story, which includes delivering quality, effective products and services while acknowledging the trends and changes around them. Clients and customers want help they can rely on, but which includes how you are listening, improving and responding to them – not just debuting “what’s new” all the time.
If you change your story frequently it sends the message you haven’t nailed down your strategy, products or delivery mechanisms. In other words, it shows chaos. Why give your customers a reason to delay in engaging you?
It’s the start of a new year. You should be energized, right? Ready to hit the ground running and fresh ideas should be bubbling up like a Colorado spring, right? Perhaps.
What if that’s not happening? What if every idea you have feels stale and unoriginal?
Here are five things to do to kickstart your public relations efforts if your muse is no where in sight.
- Spend a whole day doing things differently. From the route you take to work to moving your ‘office’ to the conference room instead of your desk, change the scenery. Then, change other things like the time you go to lunch, the colors on your desktop, the font you use in word documents. These small, seemingly inconsequential changes will disrupt any complacency that has set in. They also aren’t permanent; if the changes have the opposite effect, you can easily revert to “doing things the way you always had.” (But that’s not why you’re reading this list, is it?)
- Declare a “no screen” day. Get off the computer, phone, television and more. Pick up a pen and paper, go outside and walk around. Do anything to give yourself a break from reacting to what’s in front of you. This will give your mind (and eyes) a break to do what it does best—think.
- Interview your team. Ask your colleagues the number one lesson they’ve learned in their careers or about your business. Ask them why they are here, what they love about their job and their single most proud working moment since joining your company. From their answers, develop “Why I Do What I Do” pieces and other human interest stories to spruce up your web site, newsletters, social channels and more.
- Visit the physical place where your customers live. It’s tempting to let others, market research and the online world tell you all about your customers. But when was the last time you visited a store–or other physical place–where your customers buy your products or services? If you don’t sell something physical, when was the last time you sat down with your customer in their office? Observe how they operate, what language they use when talking to you and how they interact with others in their office. Take notes. Now compare that to how you’ve been talking to them or about them from your office. See any differences?
- Go through the last year’s worth of research, data-mining, media interviews and white papers and select a few interesting nuggets. Develop visual memes and soundbites that you can spread over social channels or send to bloggers and reporters to spice up their coverage. In other words, think about everything you’re trying to say visually. Forget words for a minute…or two.