the scourge of style over substance

If marketing communications is like playing the dating game, a communications program without a clearly understood objective is a bit like getting dressed up but having nowhere to go.

One of the reasons communications functions often lack credibility in companies is the lack of a discernible link between the outputs produced and the organisation’s desired outcomes.

Unfortunately I see so many PR and marketing people running around getting publicity almost for the sake of it.  Sure, you got noticed…but to what end?

Every company needs to be famous for something – that’s a critical element of brand strategy, where the goal is to be seen as unique, distinctive and valued. But just being famous for fame’s sake?  That’s what I see in a lot of PR and marketing activity that isn’t linked to the company or organisational strategy.

To extend my dating game analogy, it’s a bit like the good-looking guy or girl who wears nice clothes, and preens him or herself before heading to the nightclub or dance. After a while, just having a good time isn’t enough – they want to find that someone special and settle down – but it never seems to happen.  Perhaps that’s because there is no substance behind their styling and the world can see that: Sure, he/she is a looker…but I wouldn’t want to marry them!

Great communication is not an end in itself.  It is an output that should produce an outcome that assists a company, government department or organisation to achieve its corporate purpose.

That’s what communications strategy is all about: Are you planning to make a difference?