Strategies for Implemenation

Many excutives, officials and government agencies are not aware of the benefit a skilled communications strategist can provide.  Particularly for developing economies, emerging markets and new artists–strategy in communications matters.  Many make the mistake of comissioning big box ad agencies and public relations firms.  Some make the miscalculation of hiring retired politicians and lobbyist to help create a brand.  But this would be a mistake, because you need communications strategy.

Big box brands often do not invest the time or effort in emerging markets, economies and artists.  They delegate the account to the junior associate or even the intern.  When the reality is that such entities actually need strategy in communications.  Words matter. Communications matter.  The way we speak matters. When we speak, to whom and even in what sequence.  Strategy is more than just applying communications principles.

Countries, agencies, companies and departments struggle with implementing new policies, plans and ideas because they only focus on implementation and overlook the critical role communication plays in achieving outcomes.  A communications plan can acheive far more than just a mandate.  Some fail to recognize the power of buy-in and the concept of inclusivity in the process of adoption, transition and change.  We will look at three ways a skillful communications strategist can help you implement.

Presentation, Presentation, Presentation

The old adage, You only get one shot at a first impression is true. Research at Princeton by Psychologists Willis and Todorov reveal that it only takes a 1/10 of a second to form an impression.  Implementing new policy, systems, proceedures need a good start. For example, a department implementing a new system might begin with an interoffice memo, maybe a few meetings and then implementaion with a seminar/webinar on roles and functions.  This might happen over a two or three month period whereby decisions were made unilaterally at the excutive level and passed onto the staff.  If done well, adoption and transition can happen over 6-12 months. However, if executed poorly, it may never take hold.  While communication is not a cure-all, it can help facilitate transition. Strategic communications plans help facilitate big and small changes.  A communictions strategist can be acquired to create a plan alongside implementation that helps uptake. 

CASE 01: If we examine the US rollout of the Covid Vaccine it was done horribly–particularly for a pandemic that shutdown the world.  A good communication plan goes beyond being able to always alay the public’s fears, but toward gaining their trust.   A savvy communication strategist would acknowledge the areas of uncertainty and allow for verbalizing personal concerns. 

Good communications is bidirectional.  It is not a one way contingency, because you can say what you want–you can’t force people by coersion to want what you say.  Even those who acted obediently, lost trust and respect.  There is a better way to implement–and the first step is noting that people are human–not tech or AI, they require more than inputs. They require good, open and honest communication.

Beyond Words, Plans to Make Words Matter

Many believe that communications is just words.  But science teaches us that communication is 7 percent words, 55 percent nonverbal and 38 percent verbal, according to research by University of Texas Permian Basin.  The Body is the most compelling part of communication. It is the part of comunication that we see, feel, taste, smell and hear.  It is the doing part of communications we often call outreach.

CASE 02:  In 2020 a video-sharing platform called Quibi began to make the rounds. The platform spent up to $6 million per hour on produced content, according to a 2020 Variety report. You could hardly turn on a TV or scroll through social media without seeing an advert. Packed with celeb and clever quips, Quibi was going to be the next TikTok. But it didn’t.  Instead it just flopped. 


It wasn’t for lack of realy good words, incredible partners and superb advertising. No.  It was partly for lack of really good outreach. Communications outreach is the big piece of the puzzle for people-facing communication.  People are not teaming on certain platfoms for nothing. Many forget how the big tech brands grew. They were offering free membership and opportunities to draw in users.  Google used to post on the online classified, Los Angeles Craigslist, “Get a free email account and refer a friend,” back in the early 2000s.

Drawing the public requires a detailed plan. If you build it, they might not come.  Especially if they don’t know about it and there isn’t a plan to implement interest and adoption. Projects, processes and transitions meant for the greater public, requires a communications strategy that goes beyond words.  The public needs a plan that meets them where they are.

Can You Hear Me Now

Many wrongly believe communication is simply telling people things.  But that would be incorrect.  Real communication is bidirectional.  There are no conversations between two people where only one person talks the entire time.  That would seem bizarre.  But companies, governments and organizations do it all of the time. Adoption of policies, updates and transitions require validating the target population.  It is to move them from passivity to engagement.

CASE 03:  On a visit to a small West African country, I remember experiencing a very curious communications tactic.  A large truck with a gigantic speaker tied to the bed would drive down the street with pomp and bombastic music playing, and young men dancing/gesturing wildly.  Then periodically a man’s voice would interrupt the music and announce city policy, construction, street closures, community events and other matters. The prerecorded voice would then stop abruptly and start playing the cheerful music again.  This was a communucations tactic, albeit thin, it did attempt to notify the general public.  Still, it was woefully absent of the real richness that bidirectional communication brings.  Needless to say implementation and adherence to policy and proceedure was very scant in that country.

Without a level of interaction from citizens, there could be no true ownership of the new laws and policies.  It was a headless horseman of ideas that felt like propaganda leaflets falling from the sky.  Even the festivals and events seemed like dictates, rather than invitations.  The system felt like a scene from a futuristic movie where people are given instructions from mounted speakers around the city.  It felt impersonal and whenever these trucks went by I often watched the faces of the people.  They generally seemed disturbed or impassive.  Bringing target populations into the conversation is crucial for implementation.  So much more can be accomplished with bidirectional communication and a strategic communiction plan could acheive it. People need to know they are heard and understood.

For more communications tips, advice, and strategy contact me.

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