By Fiona Hutton
In Q4, we inevitably get the question from colleagues inquiring whether our business is slowing down and if we’re enjoying the holidays. It’s rather quite the opposite. Our clients, especially corporate and trade associations, are busy assessing their political landscape, mapping objectives, carefully identifying key audiences and decision-makers, and then building strategies, plans, and budgets for the coming year – ultimately setting a well-organized, forward-looking, and goal-oriented plan.
Here are a few of FHA’s top recommendations that we’re deploying for our clients:
- Determine core objectives with your client team – it should be specific, goal and action-oriented
- Integrate GR, operations, and legal strategies early in the process for alignment and sign-off on approach
- Invest in foundational insights and research to drive planning
- Carefully map and expand all communications channels
- Drive more online vehicles including microsites and dedicated webpages
- Generate more creative, owned content that is memorable and shareable – “own” your story
- Create/commission and package unique, propriety data, research, and reports – what we call “dynamic content”
- Leverage thought leadership tracks by populating into the exploding network of webinars, podcasts, and virtual panels/conferences
- Implement more direct stakeholder outreach, including e-newsletters and customized databases
- Enhance executive visibility on social media and engage directly with key influencers
- Invest in strategic and targeted paid digital strategies
- Pursue sponsored or contributed content package opportunities with key outlets
- Adopt scalable and tiered budgets that can ramp up/down based off shifting business operations, political landscape changes, and finances
Ultimately, weaving all these elements together creates our proprietary “FHA Surround Sound” campaigns – educating and influencing audiences when and where they receive or seek information.
Pro Tip: Measure and assess progress and effectiveness quarterly. Your communications/public affairs budget should be a significant investment, but a good portion of this work is often qualitative and not always quantitative. Ensure you establish front-end expectations with your executive team or funders and assess efficacy and results together regularly.
Good luck with your own planning and consult with a FHA representative if you’d like to explore opportunities to collaborate. Visit our site for more information: www.fionahuttonassoc.com.