What are the different components of a communication plan?

Whether it’s an innovative product, service or initiative, any novelty requires the communication of information to the target audience. The communication plan is the roadmap for transmitting a specific message to a given audience. It is an essential tool for any organization that wants to send a clear message with measurable results. The six steps detailed below form the basis of any effective communication plan.

The situation analysis

An audit to assess the current communication position is the necessary starting point to take stock of the existing situation. It involves gathering and analysing all relevant information within the company. This will involve not only surveys and focus groups with communications staff but also with other departments in the organisation.

Definition of objectives

Once all the information has been collected and evaluated, the general communication objectives will be defined. What are the results to be achieved? What message should be conveyed by implementing this communication plan? The objectives should be “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Acceptable”, “Realistic” and “Time-bound”, thus meeting the requirements of the SMART acronym.

Delimitation of the target audience

The identification of the target audience is essential in order to be able to adapt the communication to the profile of the priority target group. It will then be necessary to analyze the behaviours and consumption habits of this group so that the likelihood that it constitutes the main part of the audience is maximized. Segmentation of the target audience is also a useful exercise to assess the relevance of the message.

Identification of communication channels

Once the target audience is well defined, it will be necessary to identify the types of places in which the people concerned spend most of their time in order to determine in which media to place the messages. These communication channels can be physical such as posters or virtual such as radio or television channels, the web or social networks. It will be necessary to plan to transmit messages to the target audience via several channels while taking into account the available budget, which is an essential variable in the decision-making process.

Setting up a calendar

In order to obtain an optimal result, the objectives as well as the different communication steps must be planned. Prior research and analysis as well as the availability of resources will make this planning possible.

Evaluation of results

It is always important to measure the results achieved to determine whether or not the objectives have been met. This evaluation will enable the necessary adjustments to be made to improve performance in the next communication campaign and can take the form of annual, monthly or progress reports or reports from other departments.