In this first of a series taking an in-depth look at the key elements of an effective written strategy, let’s uncover the importance of discovery.
Regardless of what kind of project a partner may bring us to work on or what goals they ask us to achieve, virtually every initiative starts with performing some level of focused discovery.
The short answer is risk mitigation.
We know that’s rarely an exciting concept, but business and brand communication is full of risk. If a project, or campaign or initiative doesn’t reach its goals, you risk losing time and money. If you don’t identify the right communication opportunities, you risk a competitor outmaneuvering you. If you don’t connect with your audience, or worse turn them off, you risk losing customers and market share. The list of risk runs long.
Discovery is an opportunity to get at the basics:
What are you offering?
How does it help the audience you’re trying to reach?
What should they do next?
But a thoughtful discovery process is also a chance to dig deeper into the intersection of brand, target audiences and your competition:
- Alignment. Are internal stakeholders aligned around your mission, vision and values? Do stakeholders agree on goals and your brand’s purpose? Does your product or service align with consumer perceptions and expectations?
- Aspirations. What is the desired future state of your business? How do you enhance employee engagement and culture? How do you manage change such as new product development, new market positioning or partner acquisition?
- Consumer insights. What behaviors or sentiments have you been overlooking? How are media trends affecting those you’re trying to reach? What is the journey a typical consumer takes from awareness to purchase to brand advocate?
- Competitor insights. How are your competitors positioning themselves? What kind of experience do they offer their customers? What tactics are your competitors using to communicate about their brand?
Whether through workshops, surveys, focus groups, interviews, market research or other approach, discovery is an ideal time to challenge assumptions and uncover the surprises and unique elements that can set a brand apart and galvanize your operational and strategic plan. It’s important to ask open-ended questions, embrace curiosity and practice critical thinking that doesn’t take face value at face value.
Since the insights revealed in this phase will inform any messaging or visuals that follow, doing your discovery due diligence is crucial for developing creative solutions engineered to resonate with your audiences. Giving discovery a little time and effort mitigates risk, saves time and money and turns communication anxiety into communication confidence.
To see examples of how a focused discovery process can take the guesswork out of meeting your brand’s communication goals, start here.