It starts with the brief…

Our approach to planning an effective communication campaign starts with the brief. This may sound like a statement of the obvious, but we believe that you cannot overestimate the pivotal importance of the brief in developing a successful communication strategy. Rather than a one-way directive, the brief should ideally be a co-operative process between advertiser and media agency. This helps to create an environment where the marketing objectives are clearly understood, and where prescriptive briefing, though sometimes necessary, is kept to a minimum. Time and co-operation invested at the briefing stage will deliver dividends later on in the planning process.

From this starting point, our next step will be to create a “situation analysis”. This is where we collect and assess all available market data in order to get as clear a picture as possible of where the advertiser is positioned in terms of a whole range of factors: these include such things as brand perception, brand strengths; who isn’t buying? Why aren’t they buying?  Competitive threats,  share  of voice, short and long term trends etc.

One of the outputs of the situation analysis is a clear definition of the kinds of people the advertiser needs to be talking to, and how those people differ from the ones the advertiser is already talking to. We use a range of methodologies to help us arrive at the target audience. This may involve attitudinal or demographic analyses based on studies such as Target Group Index, or it may result from a geo-demographic analysis of a customer file or visitor file. The media/communication repertoires of the target audience,(or groups of audiences as in a segmentation) are then established through a variety of methods.

Having identified who we need to talk to, and the ways in which they can be reached, the next all-important stage in the process is to decide how they should be talked to. This in essence is the stage at which the communication strategy is laid down. At its heart there must be a connection idea or communication platform; this is the element that will give direction and cohesion to the various communication streams.

When the communication strategy has been agreed, that is when media to support that strategy starts to be analysed, first in terms of media channels (press, online, TV etc) and then by channel usage (individual press titles, TV campaign weights etc).

The agreed media plan is then bought at the most competitive rates achievable, using the negotiation strategies described in more detail elsewhere on this site. Those strategies will often encompass a mixture of laid-down activity and short-term buying. It is very important to ensure that the principles of the communication strategy are carried all the way through to implementation at the “sharp end”.

Throughout the whole communication campaign process we provide precise administration and documentation and nowhere is that more important than at the scheduling and buying stage, where we move very quickly to ensure that everyone : client, creative agency/production house and media owner are simultaneously provided with relevant, accurate documentation to ensure smooth ad fulfilment.

The next stage is measurement. What worked and what didn’t work? Why did it /didn’t it work? This can be sales, visitors, cost per acquisition, enquiries, attitudinal shifts, market share shifts or other measures of ROI  – whatever the original objectives of the communication strategy were.

And it doesn’t end there. We deliberately do not describe the measurement stage as the last stage in the process – because the process is a circular one. All the learnings we acquire as we progress through the communication planning process help us to gain insights that inform our thinking and give more substance to the next communication brief.

Of course it goes without saying that there will regularly be occasions when a media plan is required in an extremely short timescale. That does not mean that the process gets jettisoned; what it does mean is that with the right mind-set, and asking the right questions, the best communication solution can be arrived at, no matter how tight the timescale.

That, in a nutshell, is the Mediability approach to developing an effective communication campaign.