This issue of Marketing Coach is a call to action, a warning against laziness, minimalism and disengagement. We are calling on our PR colleagues to be SUPER HEROS. To proudly wear the letter "A" for anticipation.
Feel free to share these thoughts about how to embody this verb for maximum success all around.
"The anticipator does not wait for detailed instructions. This person takes initiative, plans and drives events."
The Anticipation Edge
In PR and corporate communications those who ANTICIPATE have a better chance of success. This philosophy and ability is just as relevant beyond PR for any person intent on success. But we are discussing it now because it is especially important in PR.
Anticipating takes on different forms. It's about being aware of and planning for the needs, expectations and opportunities that may arise for your target audience - whoever that may be - such as your boss/client, spokesperson, other top executives, news media, colleagues, shareholders or customers. In the service sector, your action should reflect the needs and expectations of your immediate audience, as well as those collaborators who participate in the creation, approval or use of your communications and actions.
With each day or assignment, it is up to you to figure out upfront what has to happen to get the desired outcome.
What has transpired that could create an opportunity for public relations? Or what are you expecting to occur based on ongoing business plans for which you need to prepare?
What are the possibilities and options for your strategy?
What are all of the tools and touch points needed from PR to effectively communicate internally and/or externally?
When do they need to be deployed or delivered?
Who are all of the parties who need to provide input or approval? What is the most effective way to communicate with each of them to ensure timely responses?
When do you need to prepare them in order to have a smooth (not rushed or stressful) approval process, and build in time for design and any digital development?
What are the habits, requirements, ways that information is used by those you want to get in front of?
Are there documents to be created, information to gather, questions to answer, and materials to be produced (print, online, video)? What has to happen to ensure all is effectively and completely executed?
Would it help your internal "customers" or external partners if you prepared messaging for questions that may need to be answered - both the friendlier routine questions and especially the difficult ones that you may prefer not to address or wouldn't see coming if otherwise immersed?
The anticipator does not wait for detailed instructions. S/he takes initiative, plans and drives events. S/he engages and connects all of the key stakeholders. S/he is proactive to maximize results, while doing her best to avoid criticism for things not happening or missed opportunities.
What Needs to be Said a.k.a. Messages and Content
The anticipator saves information and research on topics that can be related to your mission, leadership platform, project or POV (point of view). When you hear of a news item, white paper, survey or other content that has meaning for your company, brand or client, save it for future fodder or share it with others to stimulate ideas. Keep current while always looking to the future.
Preparation, preparation, preparation. Keep your brain stimulated to create new ideas that you can share both inside and outside your organization through training, education, and information gathering. Know what the marketplace is saying and develop a sixth sense o how to translate these thoughts into messages and content.
As you gather information from news media and the blogosphere, the PR anticipator is constantly assessing how and where the next opportunity will arise to put forward a brand's platform.
You are wondering: "when can I make my next move?" As opportunity arises, quickly consider how you will react and the objectives for any communication: inspire, understanding, support and a call to action, or something else?
Then, work your communication process, engage your stake holders, and don't forget to activate your ambassadors, interested consumers, employees, media, Wall Street, as appropriate.
Ready to React/Respond/Leverage
When you see news that your client/boss has expertise on, move quickly to seize the moment. If new climate data, disease findings, economic forecasts...or whatever is relevant to you and your agendas, dive into action to offer expert commentary and become part of the conversation. Write an OpEd or letter to the editor.
It's not just what's in front of you or what's been officially assigned.
Just because you are tasked to write a white paper or press release, it doesn't mean that delivering the output will complete the job. Gauge the gravity of a situation and figure out how to get the most out of it.
Marketing Coach is a publication of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc. ICCC helps companies build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market through brand building, public relations and strategic communications.
To find out how ICCC can help you and your company build your reputation