Your objectives should be SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Well-defined objectives will guide your strategy, tactics, themes and messages.
Setting objectives allows planners to define the end-state in advance. These objectives are both the mileposts you'll use to guide you to the goal and the measuring sticks you'll use to determine if your strategy, messages, or tactics need adjustment.
To set manageable objectives that fulfill the goal, focus your objectives on the intended effect using SMART criteria. Explore each element to learn more.
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Elements of a SMART Objective
A SMART Example
To write a SMART objective, determine how much you want to improve an outcome by what amount and by what date. A sample campaign objective might be to:
Increase media coverage of the U.S. contributing to stability in the South China Sea by 5% over a three-month period.
In this SMART objective, each factor is represented:
- "Increase media coverage of the U.S. contributing to stability in the South China Sea" is focused on improving a specific outcome.
- "5%" is a measurable amount.
- "Increase media coverage" is both achievable and relevant.
- "over a three-month period" is stating the specific time to achieve results.
This is effective because the stakeholders and/or key publics we are trying to reach are informed by the media to change their knowledge. Once achieved, it will fulfill the communication plan objective and align with commander's intent.
A SMART objective puts everyone in the chain of command on the same page. It should map out what success looks like.