Executing communications strategy: it's much harder than you think

With most of our clients, we see a considerable gap between their communications goals and communications results. And, almost all of these clients immediately identify the primary solution to be a new strategy. The question is, however, whether this is the right choice. To be sure, the communications strategy is often the greatest source of a client's problems. Their strategy, if they have one, is often poorly targeted and poorly planned. This means that it will be double-difficult to achieve the goals. Moreover, it seems that any good exercise will start with the strategy. Indeed, I have discussed this before under the topic of strategic execution. In addition, strategy is often much easier to perform than execution. More specifically, I think it's true that it's easy to have an adequate strategy. But, it's very hard to have a good strategy. For these reasons and others, most clients want to start with strategy. Yet, this isn't the whole story. For one, don't forget that strategy needs execution. No strategy can stand alone. It must always include some idea of its execution. This means that, at the very least, the execution has to be considered when planning the strategy. If the execution is not considered, and planned for, the strategy will never be executed. And the execution is difficult. The execution is so difficult that it's the primary reason that communications strategies fail. For these reasons, I recommend that clients start with the execution. It seems counter-intuitive, but it leads to more success. In the next post, we'll look at some detailed reasons that communications execution fails. And in the post after that, we will consider what it means to start with execution.