"You can't not communicate" - At least everyone who had something to do with language or communication in their studies knows this famous sentence by the Austrian philosopher Paul Watzlawick. With everything we do, we communicate in a certain way. Our facial expressions, our behavior, even our looks can convey an incredible amount of information. But the most important means of communication is and remains language, and every communication concept is built on this.
The way in which a company addresses potential customers is crucial to its success. It should address them on an emotional level and thus build up a trustworthy corporate identity in the long term. This makes communication the prerequisite par excellence for corporate growth.
What is a communication concept?
A communication concept organizes - how could it be otherwise - the communication in a company. It forms the core building block, so to speak, and is geared to the company's internal goals.
Strategic and creative approaches are required in equal measure to create a concept that appeals to potential customers in an authentic and original way, but is also aligned with the company's image. The result is a type of communication that fits the company and at the same time picks up the clientele by addressing them in a target group-oriented manner.
But the term "communication concept" describes not only the finished strategy itself, but also the process of its creation. This consists of six points:
1. the analysis of the initial situation
The first step is to analyze the current situation. How is the company doing at the moment? What is the mood of the customers? What movements are currently taking place on the market and how do they influence the competition? All these specifics that emerge when answering this question are taken into account when developing the communication concept.
2. the communication goals?
Once you have analyzed exactly what the current situation looks like, you can define realistic communication goals. Which emotions What do you want to trigger in your customers? What do you want them to do? With which choice of words and tonality can you achieve this?
The more precisely you define them, the easier it will be for you to get there. Ideally, they are SMART. This is an acronym for: specific, measurable, actively influenceable, realistic and scheduled.
3. the target group
To determine which type of communication is right for you, you need to know your target audience. Who exactly does your company appeal to? What do your existing customers have in common? What is their communication behavior like? This is exactly what you adapt to with the help of your communication concept.
4. the communication strategy
The next step is the comprehensive description of the communication strategy. Topics such as the formulation of the core message, the benefit for the target group, tonality, stylistic devices, timing of activities and more become relevant here.
5. the communication budget
The fifth step focuses on the financial side. How much does it cost to produce advertising materials and place ads in individual media?
6. the measures
The sixth and final step is probably the most comprehensive. Here, the question arises as to which communication tools you can use to implement your strategy and fulfill your communication goal. You also determine who is responsible for which task and what the scheduling is like.
Why is a communication concept so important?
Those who go through life without a plan are often less successful as people who know exactly where they want to go and how they are going to get there. Of course, this is no different in corporate communications. Without a concept, it runs completely haphazardly and the employees are neither clear what exactly the goal is nor how they should address the clientele.
This means that a uniform form of communication cannot emerge, which quickly leads to confusion among customers. If the communication is always different, they are unable to form a complete picture of the company, and new question marks keep appearing in their minds. This can be to the detriment of trust.
Where is a communication concept used?
Basically, a communication concept is used in every company. It is completely irrelevant whether it is a large or a small company, because communication takes place everywhere. Employees send letters and e-mails to customers, create social media posts, recruit new colleagues and contact business partners. To ensure that all of this happens in a targeted manner and presents a consistent image, a communication concept is necessary.
A communication concept offers these advantages
A communication concept provides structure. Thanks to it, everyone involved knows exactly where the journey is going and what the overall goal is. This in turn enables systematic work and increases efficiency.
Not to be forgotten, of course, is the external impact. Thanks to the uniform communication that the concept ensures, a consistent overall image is created. This makes it easier for customers to identify with your company.
Then there is the financial aspect. Nothing has a more negative effect on the wallet than spending without a sophisticated plan. Payments are quickly made that would not have been necessary at all if you look at the big picture in retrospect. But if you have the big picture in mind right from the start thanks to your communication concept, you can avoid such expenses and the company's coffers will thank you for it.
How do I develop a communication concept?
Seven steps separate you from your polished communication concept. In the following, we'll show you how to master the path from the first idea to controlled success. So let's get started!
1. the briefing
In the briefing, you clarify the first important basic questions. You also describe how the current communication strategy is doing and to what extent it is fulfilling its purpose. Which points work very well and where is there still room for improvement? Does the type of communication still fit the image or do you perhaps want to reposition your company? You clarify all these and other questions in the briefing.
2. the situation analysis
You continue with an analysis of the current situation. You also pay attention to socio-economic developments here. Has your target group evolved and must now be addressed differently? Are there new trends that you should take into account from now on?
What about the competition? Has it perhaps overtaken you, and if so, how does it communicate with its customers? In this direct comparison, you will recognize where your entrepreneurial strengths and weaknesses and can build precisely on this.
3. communication concept: define goals
Now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty and clearly define where you want to go. Define your goals in as much detail as possible, and it's best to use the SMART Method an. Accordingly, your goals should be specific, measurable, actively influenceable, realistic and scheduled.
4. determine target group
Your clientele determines the success of your business. That's why it's so important that you address exactly those people who might actually be interested in your products and services and thus represent potential new customers.
So, who exactly does your company appeal to? How exactly do you manage to attract the attention of your target group? Which Needs does she have and why exactly can your company solve her problems? What language habits does she follow and how would she like to be addressed?
5. the content
Now it's time for the message. What do you want to tell your customers? This is not primarily about advertising something specific. It is much more important that you give your company a character. It should convey an attitude to life that engages your target group and shows your company in an approachable and likeable way.
6. the communication strategy
You know where you stand and you know where you want to go. Now it's time to move from the current state to the target state. You now define concrete measures how you can implement your goals. You define when you will implement which of the defined points and in which way this will happen. This includes, among other things, the choice between direct and offensive or indirect and discreet communication, emotion or objectivity and dramaturgy or uniformity.
7. communication concept: detailed planning
The last step is about the details. You set deadlines for working through certain points of the communication strategy and manage the budget. Some measures may require more financial input than others. To ensure that expenses remain within budget and that there are no unpleasant surprises, draw up a financial plan in advance with a sufficient buffer.
Examples of good communication concepts
Every communication concept is unique. After all, it is individually tailored to your company and that is unique, isn't it? It reflects your corporate philosophy and values. But let's take a look at an example. Imagine you run an exclusive real estate company.
Your goal is to sell expensive houses to wealthy families and businessmen. So your target group consists of well-heeled gentlemen who value luxury. Where would you put your communication focus then? Sure, on your website, email contact, and most importantly, face-to-face conversations on site. You express yourself in a particularly polite and refined manner and address your customers as "you".
The big contrast: serious vs. casual
Now imagine you own a party service. Then it's mainly young people you're addressing who want to have a good time and just have fun. Would your communication look the same? Certainly not! You reach open-minded, young people primarily via social networks - so the focus is clearly elsewhere.
In your posts and in personal contact, you are completely relaxed, use colloquial language and address your clientele with a casual "you". Because that's exactly what your target group wants in this case: a relaxed approach that guarantees fun.
No matter what industry you're in, every communication concept is always based on the same basic idea: you address your target group exactly as they expect it from a company like yours. Accordingly, the ways and forms of communication can differ greatly depending on the industry, but at their core they pursue the same goal.
How is this different from a marketing concept?
Communication is an important part of marketing. So it's no wonder that both terms are often mentioned in the same breath. In fact, if you compare them directly, you'll quickly notice a few similarities. For example, both concepts always have the target group firmly in mind and know exactly how it is developing.
But despite various similarities, a clear line can be drawn between the two. While a communication concept really only focuses on the topic of communication, a marketing concept goes a few steps further. It examines all the advertising measures that can bring your company forward. The focus is on a specific product or service, for example.
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