By: Bonnie Kaye, Kaye Communications PR & Marketing
Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
While most business and nonprofit leadership have depended upon an established “think tank” circle of attorneys, accountants, bankers, HR and insurance specialists and board members to guide them, there is often one essential advisor missing: a candid seasoned, well-connected communications strategist.
Before the recent COVID-19 and social justice crises, communications and public relations strategists were valued, but mostly called upon 1) to activate after a decision was made and/or 2) “to do their magic” to mitigate crises such as reputation repair, litigation, natural disasters, executive misconduct, bankruptcies. And most of the latter could have been diverted had the strategist already been included on the decision-making team.
Today, as small businesses and nonprofits must navigate through unchartered waters on so many different levels with daily openings and closings, it is essential to not just to add a communications strategist to your decision-making table, but also embrace how they can help your brand to stand out and resonate in today’s uncertain, ever-changing world. To be effective, the strategist must be on a brand’s team while they revision pivots and determine final plans. Then the strategist can develop the key messaging and guide leadership, stakeholders and employees through the process using a consistent voice.
TODAY OLD WAYS WILL
NOT OPEN NEW DOORS
For the last four to five months as the world fell off its axis with no playbooks ready to right the ship, both leadership and consumers have witnessed both resounding brand successes and crippling failures. They have seen the 1) game-changing power that effective internal and external communications has had on regional and national brands, as well as 2) disappointments of beloved brands that became totally out of touch with the needs and desires of their clients and customers. “Cheers and jeers” have ranged from brand clarity, positioning and loyalty, repositioning and reinvention to product and service pivots, and the authenticity in the sharing of core brand values.
Innovative, forward-thinking, results-hearted, not faint-hearted leadership know that the right outside counsel:
- Infuses new perspectives, energy, creativity and thought leadership, especially for long-established brands and multi-generational family businesses. Not one can rest on their laurels.
- Can be an essential on-call sounding board for leadership, department heads, board members for frequent reality checks, marketplace emotional intelligence, community trending intel, negative social media comments, timely news trending opportunities.
- Will “tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.” Often team members do not want to appear indifferent or disloyal to leadership, so they may not be as forthcoming in sharing their own viewpoints.
- Will help avoid costly internal tunnel vision based on an embedded collective viewpoint that is often fueled by a “That’s the way we’ve have always done it” mindset.
- Be instrumental in developing and driving an evolved new authentic brand culture ready to effectively move forward with resilience and sustainability.
- Identify and harness brand opportunities born of crises.
- Identify yet untapped new markets for your products and services and strategize niche activation.
- Bring long-established relationships (vendors, news media, influencers, business and
nonprofit leaders) that can help strengthen and expand reach/knowledge of your brand.
- Leverage its track record of both reporting and creating news in a way that it resonates with those in its marketplace(s).
- Serves as an outside brand ambassador with those they influence during their own day-to-day business, personal and community engagement.