Build a Strategy that Holds Up

Article 2 min
In the building blocks of a communication plan, the strategy falls into the action planning portion of your structure.

Your strategy is your action plan for achieving your goals and objectives. If you break it into a formula, it looks like this:

Action verb the target public through communication channels that the objective will satisfy the target public’s self-interest.
Use this formula to write a quality strategy.
VIRIN: 200908-D-PA656-0016

A couple of key assumptions are in this formula.

  • You are ready to write your strategy.
  • You've done your research (which includes background, situation analysis and problems/opportunities).
  • You have identified your key public, internal and external stakeholders and what motivates them.
  • You know who will be targeted and how they will respond.
  • All these elements can be clearly tied to the commander's objectives.

If you've followed the framework correctly, you should be in good shape to write your strategy statement.

REMEMBER: Your strategy statements must be specific to key publics and/or stakeholders. There can be multiple publics and each public will require a unique strategy.

How Does That Look in a Real-Life Scenario?

Let’s use a case study from F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. The research revealed that the base population was largely under legal drinking age but over a third were routinely caught with alcohol in their rooms. Drunk driving, alcohol-related incidents were skyrocketing. To augment leadership styles, the command sought to implement a public-specific strategy.

The objective was to increase awareness of the definition of responsible drinking and the consequences by 100% among single service members E-1-4, ages 18-24 within three months.

Here’s how the formula could be used to construct a fictional strategy statement for this real-world scenario.

Engage single service members through media, posters and giveaways to reduce alcohol-related incidents. Engage is the action verb. Media, posters and giveaways are the communication channels. Reduce is the objective. Alcohol related incidents is the target public's self interests.
An example of applying the writing strategy formula to a real-world scenario.
VIRIN: 200908-D-PA656-0015

Does This Strategy Statement Hold Up?

A well-constructed strategy statement reveals a decision to maximize some part of the situation in order to send a message to a key public, through a channel, to motivate action.

Strategies are public-specific—you are designing strategies based on what you know about your public. Each public will have its own strategy.

In the example, the strategy ticks the following boxes:

  • Targets a specific public (i.e., 18-24-year-olds).
  • Clear on what the organization wanted to accomplish, which was to increase responsible drinking and understanding of possible consequences of underage alcohol consumption.
  • Identified the channels to be used.

While this strategy only addresses the specific public of 18-24-year-olds, a typical communication event will involve multiple intersecting strategies. For example, similar communications regarding alcohol awareness would need to be shared with community stakeholders.

If you follow the framework and use the formula, your strategy statement will serve as a key building block to your communication plan.

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