Why are we doing it?

When we're planning some communication for a business or organisation, it's so tempting to jump straight to the fun part - the "tools" we're going to use. "Let's start an e-newsletter! Or ramp up our Facebook presence or run an event!"

I was reminded of this during the week at a planning day I was attending. We'd been talking about things at a "big picture" organisational level, then leapt right into the nitty gritty detail and started putting actions into the calendar.

But wait! There was an important bit missing. It's all very well to simply "do stuff", but to really make an impact you need to know why you're doing it. What's your objective? Where do you want to get to? And what will it look like when you get there?

A builder doesn't jump straight from looking at a house plan to fixing the tiles on the roof or putting in the windows. First, there needs to be a solid foundation, then a basic structure. The details come last.

Instead of plunging straight into "let's organise a launch", take a step back and think about the three or four major things you want to achieve. Why would you hold the launch? It may well be because you want to have better relationships with your customers or a specific group. That, then, is your objective. Is a launch the best way to achieve it? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Perhaps there are three or four actions you can take to help you get there. Voila, you now have a strategy.

It's great to have creative ideas about how you'll communicate with your audiences. To have a greater impact, always ask, "why are we doing it?" If you can't answer that question, it's time to re-think what you're doing.