Time-honoured wisdom tells us that the route to fulfillment is to ‘know ourselves’. The fly in the ointment is that it’s not a once-and-done scenario. We change. Companies change. Society changes.
Like all forward-thinking businesses, Big Red Oak evolves with the times; and we recently took time for an introspective appraisal to support our growth and better serve our clients. We recognized that our sweet spot lies in our capacity to develop and invigorate our clients’ marketing and communications platforms with strategic, creative content grounded in agile processes and excellent quality.
Our business thrives when our clients thrive … and so we came up with a set of 10 questions to help organizations evaluate and elevate their capabilities, and ultimately find solutions to their own specific challenges.
1. Who are you?
Seems simple enough … but look closer. Does your Vision, Mission and Values statement translate into actionable initiatives that reinforce your brand to your staff, partners and clients? Are your people aligned with your objectives and culture? A compelling and cohesive message is key to your marketing success by letting your clients know exactly who you are.
2. Where do you want to go?
Where do you want to be in the next 12 months? In five years? In ten years? What are your goals? Are you following industry trends and watching the competition? Do your marketing strategy and tactics keep pace with our dynamic digital landscape?
3. How are you going to get there?
What’s the state of health of your platforms and resources? Are you sending the right marketing messages through the right channels to the right audiences? And getting the results you want? What about your internal communications? Is your staff enthusiastic and energized, or could your internal comms use a shot of adrenalin?
4. Who will lead the way?
When people don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s easy to get bogged down. This is why it’s important to clarify roles and responsibilities, identifying the decision makers who can look at the big picture, delegate the tasks and coordinate the action. Are your teams equipped to put your company on top of their game? Do you consider complementing your in-house resources with outside strategists, creatives and content producers?
5. Who are you speaking to?
Marketing is never a case of one-size-fits-all. It’s worthwhile to frequently re-assess your various audiences – stakeholders and employees, clients and leads, partners and investors, government and the public. Keep your communications on target by understanding their current needs and speaking their language.
6. What are you telling them? And how are you sharing your story?
If your audiences are well defined, you can hone in on the right story to tell and the best way to tell it. Remember that people consume content differently: through websites, social media, presentations, newsletters, podcasts, events. And every format has its role: Video is a magnet for engagement; infographics simplify complex facts and stats; white papers take a deep dive; case studies prove value. To get the most bang for your buck, know what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, and how you’re saying it.
7. What are the other guys doing?
Forge your own way, but don’t pass up the chance to learn from your competitors. How are they distributing their message? What do they do that you’d like to incorporate into your own marketing and communications campaigns? What do you think they’ve done that misfired? The experiences of others – both good and bad – can be productive.
8. What could you do better?
Put yourself in your competitors’ place. If you’re looking at them, they’re likely looking at you, too. What do you think they see? Try sending a survey to your employees and trusted partners to ask for their honest impressions of what they like, what they don’t like, and how you could improve. Then use their insights to tweak your marketing and communications approach.
9. What’s holding you back?
Perhaps you’re having trouble attracting the best talent and could use a refresh of your recruitment tactics. Maybe your marketing strategy is inconsistent or lacking fresh, creative content to back it up. Or your resources may not be keeping up with your growth, and staff members may be heading to burnout.
10. What’s pushing you forward?
Don’t just dwell on your weaknesses; consider your strengths, too. A balanced view can unlock opportunity. You may have a great plan, a dedicated team and exciting new products or services to launch. When your capabilities and strategies support your objectives, you can soar to new heights.
We hope this is food for thought. Our own journey of introspection gave us some constructive insights. Insights that we can pass on to our clients as we listen to their stories, help them find their solutions and celebrate their success.