February 22, 2018

Where Do You Begin a Strategic Plan?

By Jennifer Borba von Stauffenberg

One of the key differences between a successful campaign and one that falls flat is strategy. I know this word gets thrown around willy-nilly all the time, but it’s true. This isn’t just some jargon to get you to sign a contract. In fact, it’s one of the key reasons we recently changed our name from Olive PR Solutions to Olive Creative Strategies.

I continue to be blown away by this one-size-fits-all approach I hear about and how people actually believe that one tactic will get you the victory. The reality is that times are changing and it really takes a lot of different approaches to make a brand successful.

Let’s start by reviewing a list of different ways to market a company:

  • Media Relations
  • Social Media
  • Advertising
  • Direct Mail
  • Newsletters
  • E-Newsletters
  • Direct Outreach
  • Events
  • Promotions
  • Video
  • The list goes on and on

Just looking at this list alone can feel a little overwhelming.

At Olive, we start with the big vision first. Then, we discuss target audiences, what messages resonate with each target audience, and what is the best approach for reaching them. There is so much research available about each demographic. For example, if you are targeting Gen. Z, you should consider a strong video approach and experiential events. For Millennials, you need a strong presence on Snapchat or Instagram, experiential events, and a strong media relations push for influential bloggers and viral media. For Baby Boomers, you need traditional media, some Facebook action, advertising, newsletters, and more. You might even try direct mail.

We like to look at the ideal approach for every audience. The reason we do this is because we think you should reach for the stars and then budget it out. Earlier on in my career, I worked at an advertising agency and I was always blown away that the client would first tell them the budget and then the agency would figure out how to spend it. I get why that happens, but what if doing it right is less expensive or what if it means just a small jump in budget would make a huge difference. It is my personal opinion that you must run wild with creativity to do something that is going to move the needle and it’s difficult to come up with something powerful if you are constrained to a tiny box.

A big mistake I often see is that people do what’s obvious and easy and it might not be the right approach. For example, we have a client that would seemingly be a fit for fitness, but what we realized after several media hits came out and social media was in full throttle that that stories focused more on using the product for people with health issues actually resulted in more sales. The challenge is that there aren’t as many opportunities when we narrowed in, but we immediately saw an impact on sales. And even more important than that, people who actually really needed the products were finding out about them. Everyone wins.

Another, very often overlooked, detail is making sure it works for you. Newsflash! You are making this stuff up. Create a schedule that compliments your team’s schedule and life. You have a big family vacation you have been looking forward to for six months – launch the week after, not the week before. You don’t like big events, don’t do them. You hate Snapchat, find another way. My point is that if you are going to create a strategy it should work for you. Make it up so that it supports your life and your success.

Lastly, you gotta go big. Don’t waste your time being a negative Nancy. If you can create the vision, it’s possible.

If you would love to meet to get support on your vision and the path there, we would love to help. It’s our passion.