From engagement to strategic comms: my first few months

Before starting at Copper back in May, I wasn’t aware of how much my background in engagement would support my growth into strategic communications. Throughout my first weeks at Copper, I was granted the opportunity to learn first-hand the ins and outs of strategic communications. Quickly learning how essential it is to the success of many projects.

A good strategic communications plan will allow you to tactically inform and influence your audience to achieve their objectives. In this piece, I’ll take you through the OASIS framework – objectives, audience, strategy, implementations, and scoring/evaluation – which is a surefire process to ensure all angles are considered when planning your strategic communications. I will also use this framework to highlight my key takeaways from my first few months at Copper.

 

Objectives

My first key takeaway is that defining your objectives is the most important aspect of strategic communications. They will guide the development of your strategy and ensure targets are met. However, defining objectives is not as simple as you may think. You must navigate the complex web of the wider business objectives alongside your own. In our work for Shell, we are working across three separate projects. This involves supporting their energy, automotive, and aviation sub-streams. However, each piece of work needs to be undertaken with consideration of Shell’s wider objectives – one of which is to become (and therefore perceived as) more sustainable.

 

Audience

After defining your objectives you’ll then need to define your audience. This is because your audience’s needs, values and priorities are key to informing the strategy and content which follow. Your audience includes two key groups: influencers (public figures who can become advocates or opponents of your project, campaign) and ‘end users’ (your ultimate target audience).

Before beginning any communications plan, Copper completes a stakeholder mapping exercise, which allows us to define and determine who we will be targeting. It is important to truly understanding your audience as people, and what works for them, instead of simply seeing them as a target to influence. This provides you with a better understanding of how to manage and communicate with the audience empathetically and effectively.

 

Strategy and implementation

From agreeing your audience and objectives, the next point to consider is your strategy. You should be able to capture your strategy in a line or two, which can be unpacked into more detailed workstreams below. This then informs your tactics which is the implementation of your project, including the content, channels, and activity that accompany your strategy. Which is usually the longest, part of the process which requires a high level of detail. Providing the shape of the full programme of activity, or at least the next phase.

A crucial aspect of your strategy is your messaging – clear and concise messaging is essential if you are to influence and inform your audience. A detailed and nuanced understanding of your audience will enable you to create a targeted and defined message that supports the narrative of the overall strategy. Developing a concise strategy and plan for your chosen messaging is much more likely to allow you to achieve the set objectives.

Top tip: remember that your messaging needs to be active, and not passive.

Scoring/Evaluation

Here at Copper, when it comes to scoring and evaluations we take into account the deliverables following the three O’s: outputs, outtakes and outcomes. Utilising various tools and metrics to ensure return on investment for our clients. 

Copper

My first couple of months at Copper has allowed me to deep dive into the world of strategic communications, learning so much from the range of projects that Copper work on. You can read more about the work that Copper’s strategic communications team does here: