The Big Picture

What is the big picture? To me the big picture is simply the ultimate goal or objective of the company. Lets not be shy about this. While every company may have its own culture, set of values, vision and mission, the ultimate goal is to make a lot of money, through selling their products and services. Every department in an organization is designed to support this ultimate goal. The human resource department sources for productive talents and manages programmes to improve morale and team-building so that everyone would work better together. The marketing department designs programmes to help the sale team sell more. Even the tea-lady makes life easier for everyone to be more productive. I find that it is helpful to keep this in mind in almost everything we do for our client. While ‘increase awareness’ and ‘create top of mind recall’ are some of the usual catch phrases in the strategy papers, what it really means is to get as many people to know of and remember the company and its products and services so that they would buy the products and services, possibly again and again. Understanding this is very important especially when creating the strategy paper for the client. Lets go through the basic checklist for a PR plan:

  • Client name
  • Business Nature
  • Tagline
  • Mission Statement
  • Business and Sales & Marketing Objectives
  • Public Relations Objectives
  • Target Market by Industry
  • Target Market by Geography
  • Communications Audiences
  • Key Products
  • Competitors
  • Key Competitive Strengths
  • Spokesperson
  • Recent Announcements

Take tagline. Does it tell the target audience that the company has product that they should want? That it makes them want to acquire it? Mission statement – that we promise to be conscionable while enticing you to purchase our products. Competitors – who is selling the same stuff as we, why are they doing better or worse. What can we learn from them so that we can sell more? Public Relations objectives – we need more people to know about us, to read about us, to know what we sell, and want what we are selling. Get the point? Enough said? So, how do we create a public relations plan that hits at the big picture? Before I continue, I must say the way I work may be somewhat different. I like to look at the objectives, see if it is aligned with the Big Picture, and shape the objectives, design the strategy and tactics towards helping to company work toward, if not directly achieving the Big Picture. My favourite way to start is to play the ‘what do you know’ quiz:

The things that we know that we know The things that we don’t know we know
The things that we know we don’t know The things we don’t know that we don’t know

This means research and investigation about the company through any means, by talking to the organisation, to their clients, to the media, read up on their competitors, google  them, etc. So that eventually all the information flows from the other three boxes to ‘the things that we know that we know’ box. Next, I study these information to find out why they are not achieving their Big Picture. What it is that they are doing that worked, but most importantly what are the obstacles and weaknesses that blocks them from the Big Picture. For example, an organisation may have a fantastic product, it could do many great things, save lots of money, basically help other companies work towards their Big Picture, the product itself is not easy to understand. Thus the sales team is already defeated with having difficulty in making the product understood, in addition to getting the target audience to listen to them. While the usual tactic will still be employed, like sending out press releases, establishing media relations and setting up media interviews, I would be thinking about the best ways to explain the product. Can we use an analogy? Allegory perhaps? Media trip? Clever direct mailers? How do we make the journalists not only understand the product, but remember it well, explain it well and even possibly champion it? It may sound like a tall order but I’m a Big Picture person, remember? Our clients come to us to help them attain or at least work with them to attain the Big Picture, so I believe we owe it to them to put on our best thinking hat. After all, they are helping us attain our Big Picture too. And together, we shall rule the world!

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