It’s time to think about competitive strategies, stop fixating on tactics

Every company, not-for-profit, NGO or association is different. Yet, the discipline of strategic planning to achieve competitive distinction is similar for any organization:

  1. Define objectives. No more than three objectives to achieve focus and clarity.
  2. Develop strategies. One strategy to address each respective objective.
  3. Appropriate tactics will naturally be revealed and fall into place.

pile-of-wordsStrategic planning – whether for the future of an organization or for a communications program – should not be a difficult or time-consuming process. Most of the time, however, it’s bypassed or ignored as panic driven organizations rush to embrace the latest trend or craze that everyone else is doing.

A not-for-profit, for example, may list “Strengthen our financial position” as its top objective. That’s not a objective but rather a wish. A real objective might be stated, “Create programs of greater value to attract new funders.”

Top leaders and management of an organization care about solid results that show favorably on their top or bottom lines as well as marketplace reputation. Results come from strategic plans, and therein is a disconnect with the field of communications or PR.

Communications people and PR agencies are often fools to the latest tactic fad, seemingly oblivious whether it might create the meaningful results their top bosses expect. If all you have is the latest shiny digital hammer, everything looks like a nail is commonly a PR agency approach.

Stop fixating on tactics!

The current focus on hiring people to handle Twitter or a Facebook page is tactic stuff and meaningless without a strategy. Hiring a search engine optimization (SEO) charlatan is wasteful. New SEO technology is automated.

Using one of those costly press release distribution services is not only a tactic but counterproductive in today’s media environment. Any in-house communications person worth their pay should personally know the thought-leaders in the news media who cover the company or organization and learn that the telephone is still one of the best tools for communications.


It’s time for the practice of communications to become more intellectually driven. Think. Learn. Analyze. Be curious. Explore. PLAN.