Communications Planning Still Matters

Not long ago, the Arthur W. Page Society released a study titled, “The CEO View: The Impact of Communications on Corporate Character in a 24×7 Digital World.” The findings are based on interviews with CEOs of Fortune 50 companies. The society consists primarily of corporate public relations officers and global agency types with a sprinkling of academics.

Periodically in weeks to come, a series of thought pieces here on The Media Training Blog will center on some of the more notable findings. We begin the analysis today with the paper’s contention that the news cycle is irrelevant. The CEOs surveyed largely believe that communications triumphs or fiascoes are liable to take place anywhere, any time.

Long-term planning still matters, in their view, though from the paper’s tone it is clear that there is declining emphasis on planning. Bad decision. The CEOs surveyed hold that planning three to six months into the future is no longer realistic, given the arrival of instant communications tools of recent years.

Granted, issues—both positive and negative—flare up more quickly via such tools as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As a result, communications staff must be prepared to react quickly when media fires break out.

While that type of reactive capability is necessary, planning and execution of communications strategy, in spite of everything, remains vital. Taking a solely reactive stance is sure to lead somewhere. But it may not lead you where you want to go. After all, if you don’t have a destination in mind when you get behind the wheel of your car, any road will get you there.

To broaden the discussion, a greater reactive capability should be part of an organization’s communications plan. And communicating via new media tools should be part of that, when appropriate.

However, organizations that lose sight of their direction are destined to a fate of twisting in the wind. Bottom line: Don’t eschew your communications planning. Deciding on your chosen direction in advance remains paramount for successful organizations.

How do you integrate the need to react quickly in today’s environment while still holding true to your long range communications goals?



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