Like all things in business, VFQ takes a customer-focused approach to create a communications strategy. It’s a vital step for any company – and applies to communicate with stakeholders as well as customers.
The most rewarding approach is to view the customer communications journey as a whole and identify those key points when a message, or the type of message, is most valuable.
Any formulated strategy for communicating on a regular basis with a targeted audience or a group of audiences should recognize they have varying needs and expectations from the communication. The audience’s degree of understanding of your brand, how much they relate to it, over the long and the short term, and especially the tone of voice you use for each group all come into play. These are vital to ensure that engagement with communication is optimized. In many ways, adopting precisely the tone of voice that your audience will be most receptive to is a fundamental step in identifying with their needs, whilst also being the consistent and confident voice of your own company at the same time.
There is also the need to recognize that target groups have different languages, points of reference, and ways of expressing things. The increasing diversity of target audiences, especially in consumer communications – youth versus mature, is an obvious one, but also, more subtly, demographically, need to be identified and addressed. In terms of Business-to-Business communications, messaging with, say, a large, mature company is completely different from a small start-up or the collective of an entire enterprise hub consisting of small tech companies. Likewise, mature consumers on a holiday cruise package will see and expect different messaging to those looking for a trekking and backpacking adventure holiday.
Recognizing customer expectations and following the journey they have made from start to beginning of their association with your brand helps you devise a plan the works best for each target audience. New customers, mature customers, returning customers all require messages that take them forward with what they need and relate to at different stages of their journey with your company. Identifying customer segments will also help more accurately point to the channels of communication to use and the frequency of your messages.
Communications objectives also need to be identified and call to the action defined that promote your brand or message in the way that you want and achieve the outcomes your company is looking for. The content of your messages needs to be carefully geared to what your audience will consider relevant to their situation, concerns, and interests. In this respect, seeing outgoing messages from the target audience’s point of view can greatly help in its engagement with the underlying message your company wants to promote.