A shortsighted communications strategy can make or break the effort of any organization. Whether your company is a Fortune 50 organization advancing a national campaign, a privately held group with interests across the Lone Star State, or a startup looking to get a foothold here, poor communications planning is vulnerable to failure.
In Texas, there are simply too many variables that can impact the outcome of any undertaking: vast geo-political diversity, varied industry interests, splintered media landscapes, broad socio-economic gaps — all scattered across a massive footprint.
A strong communications team can assess each of those variables and develop strategies to get your company’s message across. An unprepared communications team will find it challenging to bust through the crowded and competitive, discussion of Texas business and industry.
Understanding how to structure your team and work with an outside partner who knows your industry, initiative or target market is essential. If you want to position your company for success in Texas, we’ve put together a list of some important considerations before hiring a communications partner, and a brief downloadable primer to understand how we approach your issue in the Lone Star State, and how your first conversation with us will go.
Communications Is Usually Last to Arrive at the Dance
In general, communication teams are often the last to be brought on board. First you hire the worker bees, then a financial backbone that supports operations and accounting. Then you find the lawyers to keep away from court and a human resources team to hold it all together with culture.
But staffing a communications office can be a capstone moment for a company. It’s an indication that the leadership understands the potential impact of the public on an organization’s reputation and business goals and is ready to invest in the internal personnel required to take it to the next level. They realize that leaving communications to chance in a market like Texas is risky, and a veteran strategic partner can help minimize that risk and improve your outcomes.
Give Your Communications Team the Attention it Deserves
Comms should not be kicked to the side as an accessory function.
Your legal, HR, sales and even marketing teams are not trained to be effective in this space and they do not think in terms of how best to communicate with stakeholders who have the ability to derail the best-laid plans And if they are trying to pinch-hit in the communications arena, it’s likely they’re doing more harm than good.
Any company focused on Texas needs to know how much their reputation and public perception affects their business. Communications provides some assurance (and insurance) that their investment in the state pays off.
Today, the public has an expectation that their voices be heard and considered in almost every corner of industry across the world. If you don’t take into account how the public will respond to your business, project or initiative, you’re neglecting a very important part of the equation, and often the area that has the greatest ability to impact outcomes: public sentiment.
Communications is a profession that should be left to the professionals, especially considering it’s potential to influence outcomes. Would you hire a lawyer to do your taxes? Don’t hire one to conduct your communications either.
A Texas Communication Partner Helps Drive the Conversation
Communication done well creates a path for success. Communication done poorly destroys the road you have worked hard to build. Whether you’re seeking to gain momentum or stop the bleeding in Texas, communications plays a vital role.
We describe it like this: If you don’t have a communications strategy to tell your own story, then somebody else will do it for you. That’s a chance you can’t take.
That doesn’t mean you need to put on a full-court press the minute you step into Texas. But you need to have a plan. And you need to know how a communications program is structured, how it works and what stakeholders should be prioritized.
The Communications Umbrella is Bigger Than Ever Before
In today’s fast-paced digital world, communications covers multiple forms and disciplines, all of which need to be considered before developing and executing your strategy in Texas.
And you need to understand how each discipline ties back to your overall communications goals Does your organization lead or lag these areas:
Marketing and advertising. The emphasis here is brand promotion and sales. It’s about selling your product or service or increasing your brand’s awareness in the marketplace. Marketing doesn’t mean you’re protecting your reputation or communicating about your company.
Public relations. PR is focused on managing publicity around your company, making a splash and generating buzz or controlling negative sentiment or falsehoods. Media engagement is the core function.
Crisis communications. Cool heads and steady hands, coupled with an objective mindset, are key when facing crises. A good partner brings strategy and logic to the table and leaves emotions at the curb. Your stakeholder list likely just got a lot bigger and more sophisticated.
Media relations. This team works closely with reporters and editors, often on deadline. They are also prepping company leaders for interviews and helping CEOs navigate a world of regulatory matters and political landmines..
Digital. Everything from your company’s website to its video operations and social media channels falls under the ever-changing digital canopy.
Creative. Completely separate and apart from digital and marketing, creative is the engine that feeds those beasts to maintain a deep and lasting brand impact. These guys help make your points more punchy.
Government relations/public affairs. This is the bucket where the practice of PR and public policy intersect. Distinct from lobbying, but helpful to lobbyists, it requires a strategic communications staff and plan, as well as a heavy does of political wherewithal
Strategy. Finally, there should be one person who is overseeing all of these areas, bringing them together under the broad communications umbrella and making sure they are contributing to meet your company goals.
As you can see, the communications sphere is large and constantly evolving. Assessing your company’s current communications team’s strengths and weaknesses is an important first step before deciding whether to hire an outside partner.
A Strong Communications Partner Can Smooth Your Path in Texas
A right-fit client for The Monument Group understands that they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s it. You already recognize that some of your greatest challenges are the ones an inexperienced eye doesn’t see.
In Texas, an experienced communications partner can wrangle all of the essential components, recognize those hidden challenges, and optimize your message and delivery to achieve desired outcomes.
At its core, successful communications is about building public trust. If you want to learn more about how we help companies like yours, let’s talk.