Here’s how to build a solid communications plan – Part 1

A step-by-step guide to creating your unique value and expressing it consistently.


Every company has one. Every not-for-profit. Every professional organization. Every celebrity. Every city. And you should too.

Your personal communications plan

If you want to reach your goals and increase your success, you’ll need to get your message out. But before you start spreadin’ the news, there are two important questions you must answer:

  1. What am I going to say?
  2. To whom am I going to say it?

What to say?

You must develop a message that clearly describes your unique promise of value — what you have built your reputation on. Strong executive brands are known for one thing, not 10 things, so you must do some soul-searching and determine your area of thought leadership. What makes you successful and differentiated from all those other people with the same job title?

Your message must be:

Authentic — Let it come from the heart. You need to be able to demonstrate what you talk about, otherwise it is just hot air.

Differentiated — You won’t get very far if you are sending a ‘me-too’ message.

Consistent — Strong brands don’t change. Be consistent and stay the course.

Compelling — Don’t sell ice to Eskimos. Think about what you can authentically express that will get the attention of your audience.

Aspirational — Connect your message to your goals. Keep them top of mind when you are expressing your message.

To whom?

There’s no sense spouting off about something if it’s not going to help you reach your goals. Just as Volvo doesn’t waste time or money communicating their message of safety and security to 16-year-old boys, you must target your message to those people who will help you reach your goals. Your target audience — or brand — includes everyone who needs to know about you so you can be wildly successful: your peers inside and outside your company, senior executives in your industry and related industries, headhunters, hiring managers, influential thought leaders in your field, your networking contacts, etc.

You must apply what you have learned by answering the two questions above to all of your communications tools. Your communications tools fall into three categories:

  1. Standard Career Marketing Materials
  2. On-Line Communications
  3. Executive Brand Communications

Stay tuned next week for an exploration of these three communications tools. In the meantime, get to work figuring out what you want to say, and to whom you’ll say it!