…a blog series by Anthony Cogswell
During my undergraduate studies, I learned a few fundamental steps to developing communication strategy:
- Define your goal; why are you doing this; what will success look like?
- Define your target audience; who do you need to reach in order to achieve this goal?
- Define your communication channels; how does your audience receive information?
- Define your message; what message will reach your audience and have the desired impact?
These questions are the universal foundation for any communication plan. However, it seems that with shifting methods of interaction through digital technology, it has become easy to over-think the process. There are so many forms of innovative communication tools and more are arriving each day. How can a public relations agency effectively operate on the cutting edge of audience interaction without getting lost in the deluge of emerging communication channels?
I think the key is to always put the audience at the center of communication strategy. After all, public relations is a business that focuses on personal connections. Having an in-depth understanding of who your audience is will allow you to most effectively determine how they can be reached.
In order to continue to be effective, public relations agencies need to maintain a comprehensive understanding of the newest frontiers in audience interaction and digital communication, while recognizing the vast generational changes taking place in their audiences over the next decades.
My generation – “Generation Y” or “Millenials” – includes all age groups born in the 1980s and early 1990s. We are a generation characterized as tech-savvy, self-confident, well-educated, group-oriented, entitled, entrepreneurial, coffee-addicted, twenty-somethings who still live with their parents. We represent over 35 percent of the current workforce and are projected to represent 75% of the workforce by the year 2025.
Generation Z consists of individuals born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Made up of teenagers, Generation Z has been credited with owning up to $30 billion in spending power.
These two groups are sure to make up the lion’s share of most target audiences over the next few decades.
How can we keep up with a multiplying array of communication methods that younger generations rapidly adopt and then abandon? How can we reach targeted groups of people when social media, technology, and communication itself is changing by the day?
The answer is to adapt and evolve along with change and always focus on the audience at hand. Having a pulse on evolving technology, zeroing in on specific subgroups and understanding how their unique cultures communicate; these are practices that allow agencies like TFG to creatively and effectively reach audiences and produce results.