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A lot of time and money is spent in companies on developing, designing and executing (DD&E) plans for the products and/or services intended for sale & revenue generation. Granted, a product development plan and a revenue & profit generation plan is needed in order to deliver shareholder value or providing a return on investment for a privately-held company. Unfortunately you will find many companies that are so fixated on product development plans and a revenue/profit plan, that there's a significant dropoff elsewhere in the company for any other planning efforts. A company can be in business for along time with little effort in planning beyond the product/service and how to make money from same.
Having said the above, you can now brainstorm a list of other departments, processes and functions that ought to have a well-oiled planning system, too. These other "areas" typically don't begin to get attention in smaller companies until someone in senior management, board member, shareholder sees how much MORE money could be made if plans were written & implemented beyond just product and revenue planning.
Communication planning is probably the most important plan to undertake after product & revenue planning. Often times business managers see communications as just one of those everyday tasks that people do. We send & receive e-mail, phone calls, attend meetings and send/receive documents from numerous other people, companies, and departments.
If a manufacturing company were to draw an organization chart there would be a sales dept, QC dept, manufacuring dept, engineering dept, purchasing dept, HR dept and a material handling/stock room/order fulfillment dept. A typical person might look at this company and decide all the pieces are there to run the company. But, what about a Communications Dept? The same person might look at communications & conclude it's not a department-type function. It's merely a tool that all the other departments use to for their work.
It's been proven many times in companies & university research that when companies take time to develop & use communication plans in all areas, other departments begin seeing improvements. Communication planning should take place in all areas, both inside and outside the company.
Here are some examples. Suppose your company has made the decision to install a completely different, new enterprise software infrastructure, such as SAP. Depending on the size of the company, launching a new SAP software infrastructure could take a year or more. A project of this magnitude is not just about the IT dept installing the software. It is likely to affect every employee. This project is a perfect example of a complete communications plan running in parallel with the software implementation plan. The communication plan will touch on each critical milestone in the software integration plan, and have a specific communication effort tied to the milestone.
Communication plans can also be developed for keeping your customers and/or prospective customers updated on new products, providing training classes, seeking their input on new product features. Maybe your customer receives monthly billing statements from your company. Putting a short message on the bill could be helpful.
Very successful companies realize communication plans help boost profits & employee morale & improve the company's public image.
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