Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How to Develop a Communications Plan

I know this is not a book, but then I am writing this because it is useful to me. I found this article yesterday while I was preparing for a job interview. It is by a consultant called Nancy Rathbun Scott of Liberty Communications. I think it is a great quick-and-dirty overview of the process. Explains the what, why and how.

The part that was a little leaky was the how to evaluate results portion. It says:

"Your evaluation might take the form of: a monthly report on work in progress; formalized department reports for presentation at staff meetings; periodic briefings of the chief staff executive and department heads; and a year end summary for the annual report."

This one paragraph is a little less useful than the rest of the article. Evaulation is not about reports, I think, it's more about the stuff that's in reports. But earlier in the article she talks about goals and objectives, so I assume those are going to be the bits of information that are actually *in* the reports for those department heads we keep hearing about.

I also reviewed this article from the Association Center online. It talks about managing a brand, and, in particular managing an association's brand.

Sago's main benefits of branding are mentioned, and I found these to be useful:

- positioning the association
- building intra-organizational congruency
- build a coherent and unified image of the association
- increase acceptance of products and services
- increase customer loyalty

My goal in reviewing these materials was to figure out how a "Communications Plan" worked with a "Branding Plan". My guess is that most people make these plans and then set them on the shelves, like you hear about happening with strategic plans. But I find that even if I don't refer to a plan very often, having created it forges the content in my brain to the point where I can move forward kind of by instinct. That is if the plan makes sense.

Anyhow, my conclusion was that a branding plan is sub-part of a communications plan, which is more specific and technical. Communications is more global.