Have we reached peak smartphone? – Kantar – ‘Younger mobile users aren’t simply listening to less music or reading fewer books; instead, the way in which they are engaging with entertainment and the devices they are choosing is evolving. For example, we have seen a decline in younger mobile users listening to music on their mobiles, but the purchasing of vinyl and streaming music through home virtual assistants is on the rise. Social networking has held steady, with 87.8% of 16-24-year-olds using their phones for this purpose (87% in 2016), so as new (or retro) technologies come onto the market the role of the mobile device for younger users will continue to change.’ – a certain amount of this is BS
In part five I focused on tactics in terms of creative, channels and calendar. In this final part I am going to look at resourcing and commitment. At least the plan should have an outline of what resources are needed and the investment required.
Schedule of activity – I would also recommend a critical path analysis to see if there are any potential bottlenecks. This also reduces the level of management oversight required, as it can be just focused on the co-dependencies which might cause bottlenecks
1-pager outline of plan to get sign off from the person deemed ultimately responsible
Signed commitment by all parties. I am not talking about the legal agreement, instead a simple written agreement by everyone involved in delivery. Behavioural economics research has shown that owning a commitment increase the chance of someone actually doing it
Appraising ‘resources and commitment’ in a PR plan
Do you understand from the plan what can delay implementation and how much that delay looks like?
Is there a clear understanding of resources and priorities?
Is the amount of effort (and budget) realistic for the outcomes desired? (PR since it depends to a certain extent on earned media is always a game of chance)
Have all the people on both agency side and client side needed committed to delivering on the activity in writing?
In part four I touched on strategy expanding on Wadd’s guide to PR plan development to provide ways of assessing each step. Wadds broke out tactics into creative, channels and calendar. I’m bundling them together as creative use of channels such as Domino’s UK profile on Tinder crosses boundaries. I believe that an interplay of creative and channels shouldn’t be discounted out of turn.
I also won’t put an emphasis whether the media is paid, owned or of earned nature. Public relations professionals have historically taken an earned first approach, but when you are looking after the relationships between stakeholders and a brand does it matter method of channel choice so long as it is appropriate?
This is all mapped out in a content calendar. It is worthwhile checking it against public holidays and if it takes account of client processes (technical input, legal sign-off, corporate media black-out periods).
Appraising the tactics in a PR plan
How do the tactics track back to the job to be done in the objectives outlined?
How do they tie back to the KPIs?
Does the content plan make sense?
Do the tactics make financial sense? I worked with an agency that pioneered storytelling to drive feature article coverage for their clients. However given the amount of time that this process took, it became cheaper to buy a full page advert in The Wall Street Journal than it was to pet a half-page feature published
Do the tactics consider what was required in terms of reach, repetition (repeated exposure to marketing messages) and engagement? Depending on the communications objectives there may not be a focus on all three elements. A key failing in PR tactics can be an overly focused on engagement as this is strength of public relations as a discipline.
You can read the final part in this series here which wraps up by focusing on resources and commitment. If you need assistance in developing a communications plan or want an existing plan thinking validated get in touch.
In part three I touched on Situation – this what PR Smith grouped what Wadds called ‘Publics or Audience’, ‘Research’ and ‘Insights’. In this part I want to look at strategy. This sets the tone for everything else following in the plan it is the essence of how the plan will meet or exceed the objectives outlined at the beginning.
I don’t want to get too hung up on what strategy is, there are differing opinions. The traditional view would be a high level, long term plan. Chinese strategist Sun Tzu looked at it more in terms of competitive methods or bing fa. This is much more about guiding the correct (set of) responses to a given situation. This isn’t that far away from the way that game theorists approach strategy. My personal preference is for an emergent approach closer to Sun Tzu’s view rather than a high level, long term plan.
Appraising the strategy in a PR plan
Is it clear?
Is it unambiguous in nature?
Is it reasonably concise?
Does it get into tactics?
Does it consider a channel to be a strategy? (No is the right answer).
What are its weaknesses?
What factors would cause the strategic approach to change?
You can read part five here which focuses on tactics. If you need assistance in developing a communications plan or want an existing plan thinking validated get in touch.