Thanks to the pugilist philosopher Mike Tyson for our title. Planning is critical. Some of us skip steps or fail to flesh out the details. Others think the plan is solid….then, well, you get knocked out. Several items washed ashore lately from the stream of consciousness so I decided to share them in regard to this subject.
1. The Core Plan – Before you ever (or should) get to marketing/pr/sales processes, you had to start somewhere. I recently joined a Rotary club and a fellow new member is a planning consultant. I chatted him up about working together down the road and he emphasized how important having the infrastructure in place before marketing, et. al. would come along.
I agreed with him as I have dealt with situations where the cart was before the horse so to speak. Having a base to start from should make the other steps flow naturally. Also, it shouldn’t be static…..revisit it often to make sure your plan reflects changes in the landscape.
2. The Filter – How are you calling the shots for your endeavor? In 1943, Robert Wood Johnson was about to take his company, Johnson & Johnson, public. He composed a document that is seen as a corporate Magna Carta of sorts called “Our Credo.” To view it, click here: http://bit.ly/d0vDHT. In college, our PR professors hosted a guest lecture for us from one of the J&J senior communication reps who detailed how the credo helped them through the Tylenol/Cyanide scare of 1982.
I thought of it again as J&J has been having quality control issues with its Tylenol products that have led to recent recalls. Remember, you should stand for something when skies inevitably darken. A professional acquaintance once told me that there are always shades of gray. Your job is to stay in the lighter shades.
3. Stay On Message – It’s almost Election Day and we have many examples of this piece of advice. A few days back I attended a press conference that celebrated some federal money that is coming to the area for an important project. This press conference was smooth in how each speaker stayed on their message.
The ability to speak off the cuff is great, but when it comes to your plans (both organizational and marketing), stay on message. The example above about J&J is relevant here…we’re getting hit….but this is how we get up off the mat. It isn’t just about spin.
4. The Marketing Plan – Bottom line, that is my message in this blog. What is your goal? Retention, Growth, Launch? Measurement of success? Next steps? It isn’t this simple, but like “The Four P’s of Marketing” I blogged about earlier, it’s how you will execute.
A journalist friend of mine and I were talking about a couple of projects I am involved with. One thing they said is that you are a story once….after that you are news. Your story can quickly become a brief. Or, in the case of a crisis PR situation, the news you want to avoid.
Build the platform, refine the plan as appropriate, know what you are, stay on message and clearly define goals. Most importantly, own the plan. Nothing suddenly happens in this competition so you should never be surprised. Do it right, and you will end up as the undisputed planning champion of the world. Please share your comments and thanks for reading!