Taking the Blocks Out of the Box: The Value of Fresh Thinking
This month, I have been thinking about thinking. New thinking, to be exact. In the inevitable way that the calendar
shift to a new year makes us all focus on personal inventories and those inevitable resolutions, this month has also been filled with planning, planning and more planning.
One of things that I like most about planning for a new year is the opportunity to look at what I’m doing and ask, “If I was starting all over with this, is this the mix of strategies and tactics I would propose? Why or why not?” One of my clients referred to it as “taking all of the blocks out of the box.” Would you just re-stack the same blocks, or would you throw them all out and get a whole new set?
While some may groan at the prospect of starting over, I enjoy the opportunity. And I’m especially grateful when a client invites me to take a fresh approach. To me, that’s a large part of what keeps the PR world challenging and fulfilling. In my younger days, I fulfilled this need for new by packing up my car and moving to a new state every few years. In my somewhat older and wiser years (and because I have a child who loves where she lives), I channel that need into my work.
I’m not alone: one consistent strength of successful PR pros is the ability to step outside of what they are doing day-to-day, not rest on their laurels, but rather strive for improvement – and look for new opportunities – every day. A new calendar year just gives all of us an added reason.
So, I’d like to challenge you to take a look at your box of communications blocks. Go ahead, take them out and play with them for a while. And while you’re stacking, consider these three things:
- Are you thinking like your target audience?
We’re all guilty of a bit of navel-gazing. One of the hardest, but most rewarding, exercises any marketer can undertake is to step outside of his or her own head and take a fresh look at messaging from the perspective of their target audiences. Even if you can’t afford a formal market research program, the explosion of social conversations can provide invaluable insights into where your audience is, how they think, and what they want from you.
- Are you fully leveraging the social media space? And, more importantly, are you doing it in coordination with your traditional marketing?
So much has changed, and so quickly, that many companies and organizations are either struggling to keep up, or jumping into every space too quickly, without consideration for integration into other established communications strategies. No matter what you do – or don’t do – on social media, the bottom line is that all of these channels and tactics will be most successful if they are looked at holistically and not in silos: you get a bigger bang for the buck, and your audience gets a consistent message online and offline.
- Speaking of offline, have you forgotten the value of good, old-fashioned grassroots programs?
Sure, any number of social media sites be touted as the next big thing, but don’t dismiss the value of a more human, in real life, approach to communications. Those Rotary Club speaking engagements, coffee shop bulletin boards and local event sponsorships could still be valuable, depending on your audience and your goals. We love the immediacy, anonymity and power provided by the digital world, but even the biggest tech geek needs some face-to face connection time. If they didn’t, Tweetups wouldn’t exist.
Did this get you thinking about thinking? I hope so – playing with blocks can be fun at any age.