Episode 6 – Key 4: Planning

The Five Keys Podcast - Episode 6

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Elizabeth King takes you through the journey of her favorite key, planning.



Welcome to The Five Keys: Unlocking The Power Of Your Brand. This podcast is designed to give you the tools that you need to create a successful and dynamic brand. I’m Elizabeth King and I’m going to be your guide on this journey.

Hey, welcome back to The Five Keys podcast. I’m Elizabeth King and today I want to talk to you about strategic planning. Now this is Key 4 of The Five Keys communication process. It’s my favorite part. This is what I love to do and how I love to help my clients because this is how we put together everything that we’ve done so far. We’ve done the assessment, we figured out who you are as a company, what is your identity. We’ve talked about figuring out who are your ideal customers. We’ve done some goal setting. We figured out what are your annual goals, what are your quarterly goals? We’ve done your key messaging so we know what information needs to go into all of your materials, from your website, to your collaterals, to your social media. We understand who you are as a company and what you need to say.

So the strategic planning part is just how you pull it all together and really turn it into the right communication strategy for your brand. Because what’s going to work for you or what may work for somebody else may not work for you. I mean, even what your competitors are doing may not be the right tactics for you as well. So let’s figure out how you create a communication strategy that is right for your company. So to give you example of how this all comes together, I’ve kind of created a scenario. It’s not even remotely real. However, this is something that you would probably come across. And so I wanted just to take a second and show you how you take all of these different keys and pull them together for the strategy. So let’s talk about Mark.

Mark owns a local hardware store in Michigan, a Michigan suburb, and during the fourth quarter, every year his store sees an increase in traffic for cold weather supplies. However, in Q1, the traffic will be slow because most people already had the supplies that they need. So he wants to maximize sales and Q4 prepare for the slow season. Now this could be any business that is seasonal. So think about how this relates to your business, where are the ups and downs and how do you prepare for that when you’re talking about breaking down your goals for each quarter. So in this scenario, Mark is getting ready for a really high Q4 knowing that Q1 is going to be a really slow, so he wants to maximize the sales in that quarter. So his goals in this, in creating a communication strategy are really to retain his customer base and attract new customers.

Plus he wants to demonstrate his community involvement because such an important part in attracting your ideal customers is showing how your values relate to theirs. In this scenario, he’s budgeted $15,000 per quarter on advertising and marketing tactics and hired a local PR consultant to manage the project because he’s a small shop. He’s a local business and he needs some help to manage it all. He doesn’t have someone in house. So Mark’s ideal customers are men in their thirties and forties who have families. They own their own home. They enjoy college and professional sports. They listen to the local rock radio station and they like to catch up with their college friends on Facebook. Now his secondary ideal customer is going to be their wives. These are the ones who enjoy watching HGTV. They Pinterest home improvement ideas. They follow their friends on Facebook, and they listened to the local pop blend radio station.

They’re the ones that manage the family’s social and activity schedule. They’re always looking for discounts to save money and they enjoy volunteering and supporting the community. So these are people that you can probably relate to. You know who they are, where they get their information, what they’re all about. So when it comes to creating tactics, let’s start with retention. So Mark already has a customer base, so hopefully on his website or in whatever way possible, he is building his email list. So I’m just going to get on my little soapbox now and say, if you’re not building an email list, create your email list now and start capturing that information because that is the easiest way to reach people and it’s almost no cost to use email to reach people. So in creating a retention tactic, I would really suggest an email campaign and then using your social media and your organic posts that you’re doing just to talk about offering discounts or the things that are going to retain people and bring them back to your store.

You may even want to consider a direct mail. There are two schools of thought on that. Some say direct mail is dead. Some say that it still works. It may be something you want to try. It may work great or it may not, but it’s something to keep in your arsenal or in your toolbox. The other thing Mark wanted to do is attract new customers. And so this is where you’re using paid social media. You’re using radio ads, there’s geo-targeting for people who are close to the store. There’s even television ads. It really just depends on your budget and how you want to best invest your advertising dollars to attract people. But I also don’t want you to forget the power of a good sponsorship because sometimes there are opportunities depending on your target audience to use sponsorships through your local chamber or different activities where say you can get a banner in a place where you’re going to get a lot of eyeballs.

I mean, for, for some smaller communities, I know that having a banner at the local baseball field is really important. If your audience, like Mark’s, is into college football, maybe sponsoring something with local college so you can get your name out there to the types of people who are already interested. They’re your ideal customers so it’s a matter of you putting yourself where you know your customers are going to be. So don’t forget the power of a good sponsorship. But again, another part of this was being a good corporate citizen. And so this is really important to me. It’s important to give back to the community, but there’s so much value for your company when you’re giving back to the community. When people see you as a good corporate citizen, they are so much more likely to do business with you.

To quote a quick stat, 89% of consumers are loyal to brands that share their values. So when you’re demonstrating the values that are important to you, you’re connecting with your ideal customers. And so some of the ideas, if your goal is really to drive traffic to your business, partnering with a nonprofit where you can host a donation drive or get involved with your chamber. It’s doing a buy local campaign. These are all things that can help drive traffic and show you as a good corporate citizen, but even more than that, you can use earned media and public relations to get on morning shows. You can get TV interviews or newspaper articles, things that don’t cost money but add so much value to your business. So there’s, there’s a lot that goes into creating a strategic plan and once you’ve decided on all of this information and you pull everything that you’ve gathered from your five keys, then it’s just a matter of putting together the schedule and then creating the content and then actually just implementing the plan because it’s a communication plan and it’s not an exact science.

The most important part of that is being flexible because this is where you’re going to find out what works and what doesn’t work. And so in the next key we’re going to talk about evaluation and that’s Key 5. It’s probably one of the most important things that you need for any good communication campaign is that evaluation. I really hope you tune in next time we’re going to talk about evaluation and how that plays into a really strong communication strategy. So until then, I hope that you have a great week and I look forward to talking to you soon.

Thank you for listening to The Five Keys: Unlocking The Power Of Your Brand.

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