Strategic planning for public relations can be a tough, time-consuming and politically challenging assignment, particularly at a college or university. Because public relations, unlike most other administrative functions, involves itself with almost every aspect of an institution and addresses (when it is done correctly) all of that institution’s key constituencies, development of a viable and useful strategy can be a daunting task.
In preparation for a recent strategic planning initiative at a major research institution, we built a framework to start the process, establishing some crucial guidelines to inform strategic brainstorming and discussion. Most significant in this “top 10” list is the importance of connecting a public relations, communications or marketing strategic plan to the business plan and strategy of your institution. And in order for you to really contribute to the success of your institution you need a plan predicated on eliciting supportive behaviors from your key constituencies. So here’s a “Top 10” you might want to consider before you embark on an initiative that will be the blueprint for your activities over the next three to five years.
The Strategic Planning Top 10
• Connect, public relations, communications and marketing programs and projects to your institution’s strategic plan.
• Connect to your public relations, communications and marketing vision and mission.
• Enable communication of your institution’s brand and its positioning and key messages.
• Identify key constituencies whose behaviors are crucial to your institution’s success.
• Focus on activities aimed at eliciting supportive behaviors from key constituencies.
• Provide a framework that will enable your institution to communicate with “one clear voice.”
• Outline tactics that will lead to success of the strategy.
• Enhance existing communications channels and introduce new ones where needed.
• Promote quality and consistency in the institution’s communications.
• Include measurement and evaluation of public relations, communications and marketing programs and projects.
As always, I could be wrong, so I welcome your comments.