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Linking corporate communication to business goals: the planning process. Michelle Archard Senior Consultant CommOut About CommOut. Comm unications Out sourced

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linking corporate communication to business goals the planning process

Linking corporate communication to business goals: the planning process

Michelle Archard

Senior Consultant


about commout
About CommOut
  • Communications Outsourced
  • CommOut consults to B2B companies on marketing and corporate communications and specialises in lead generation and online presence – websites, intranets, online marketing
why link your plans to business goals
Why link your plans to business goals?
  • Credibility – you are more likely to get resources
  • Helps you prioritise and fend off service requests
  • Positions Communications as a valuable service within the company
  • Use the plan to make everyday decisions
step 1 situation analysis the now
Step 1: Situation analysis – the ‘now’
  • Get a picture of communications within the organisation today
    • strengths
    • weaknesses
    • operating environment
    • challenges
situation analysis how
Situation analysis – how
  • Identify your stakeholders
  • Work out how many of each group you can realistically reach
  • How are you going to reach them?
    • 1-to-1 interviews
    • Focus groups (live or online)
    • Walk arounds
    • Surveys (paper and/or online)
situation analysis
Situation analysis
  • SWOT analysis of the communication function with your team
    • Strengths: what do you do well?
    • Weaknesses: what do you do poorly?
    • Opportunities: What developments represent opportunities for future success?
    • Threats: What’s coming up that could make things worse?
step 2 business goals
Step 2: Business goals
  • Gather information:
    • Annual reports
    • Other corporate reports e.g. Sustainability
    • Business plans
    • Major projects
    • Key business data e.g. profit, share price
    • Employee survey results
    • Customer survey results
    • Benchmarking data & Best practices
step 2 business goals10
Step 2: Business goals
  • Interview your key stakeholders
    • If there is a business plan then clarify it with them: what communications support do they need/expect for the elements of their plan?
    • If there is no business plan then find out what the focus areas are going to be: what communications support will be needed?
    • Ask them for the priority on the plan elements
step 2 business goals11
Step 2: Business goals
  • Write up short descriptions of all the goalse.g. “Develop sales and marketing excellence across the organisation” or “Expand into Eastern Europe by acquisition”
  • List them in order of priority (usually according to the most influence on the bottom line)
step 3 your vision of success
Step 3: Your vision of success
  • What does success look like?
    • Work with your comms team to write down statements of what success means e.g.
      • All employees understand the key goals of the company and how they can contribute to those goals
      • The Comms department operates as a well oiled service machine
step 4 determining comms objectives
Step 4: Determining Comms objectives
  • How will you move from the ‘now’ to ‘success’?
  • What are you trying to accomplish?
step 4 determining comms objectives14
Step 4: Determining Comms objectives
  • Using all the data you’ve collected, brainstorm with your team what the key objectives should be for the time period of your plan. Consider:
    • Content/materials Tools & vehicles
    • Structure Processes
    • Partnerships Reputation
    • Leadership communication
step 5 prioritise objectives
Step 5: Prioritise objectives

Critical: Improve

Critical: Maintain



Improve value-add & performance or abandon

Non Critical

Importance = How important is this to achieving your vision of success?

Success = How successful are we today at achieving this?

step 5 prioritise objectives16
Step 5: Prioritise objectives
  • Aim to get 5-7 objectives
  • If too many in top quadrants then ask each team member to score them 1-5 and choose 5-7 with most points
step 6 how
Step 6: “How”
  • Work out strategies and tactics for each objective

e.g. Objective =“Create and implement templates and processes to ensure consistent communications”


Create written procedures for common comms tasks

Create MS Office templates for common documents/presentations etc

Update style guide

Train all communicators outside of the Comms department

step 6 who when and metrics
Step 6: “Who, when and metrics”
  • For each tactic, work out who is responsible, a timeline, deliverables and any metrics
sources of metrics
Sources of metrics
  • Employee engagement survey
  • Polls on Intranet
  • Dedicated survey
  • Phone, email & time logs
  • New hire interviews/testing
metrics measure of success not completion
Metrics – measure of success, not completion

e.g. Strategy = “Convey the strategy of the new CEO to all employees”

Tactic = “Host a series of web meetings”


  • Basic metric – event occurrence
  • Medium – event feedback
  • High – awareness and understanding
  • Highest – Behaviour change
selling your plan
Selling your plan
  • You need to present your plan to your key stakeholders
  • Use the mouse mat plan to show linkage between corp goals and your objectives
  • Show the tactics for each objective
  • Explain what didn’t make it onto the plan and why