Strategy is an over-used buzzword

Definition: Strategynoun – a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific, goal or result.

When I hear people use the word “strategy”, I often wonder what they really mean or if they even know what they’ve just said.  So I ask them what they mean by “strategy”  and it turns out, the people that use the word the most, seem to understand the least.  This post is for you guys.

Call it what you will….brand strategy…PR strategy….customer engagement strategy.  Folks, it isn’t that hard to develop a PR strategy. There, I said it.  The secret is out. Here’s how you do it:  sit down, look at the challenges and the goals you want to accomplish, then map your tactics to them, and get to work. Sure it’s an over-simplification but I think this is better than watching  people throw the word around or spin their wheels by over-thinking the best “strategy”.  Let’s get beyond the buzzword to the real meaning behind the word as it relates to PR.

Questions a PR strategy should answer:

Where are we now?
Where do we want to be?
To whom are we talking (audiences)?
What do we want them to do?
Why do we want them to do it?
What are we going to say to them (messages)?
Where are we going to reach them?
When are we going to reach them?
Which techniques (methods) are we going to use?
How much are we going to spend?
What if there are unforeseen problems?
How did we do?

I’m not saying that a communicator’s job is easy.  It’s not (although a great PR pro makes the work look easy).  I merely want to shed light on what strategy is rather than watch people over-complicate it or sound self-important using words they don’t understand.

I’ll admit, sometimes I cringe when I hear these phrases: “I’m a consultant that advises companies on  strategy“,  “I think we’re getting off-strategy” or “we focus on pursuing strategic alliances“. (Really? As opposed to crappy, useless, unimportant alliances?)

Strategy  isn’t a mysterious black art.  It’s part of that each day direction and management of your  PR / marketing program and it pulls all the constituent parts of your team around that one common purpose – your goal as a business. Thanks for listening.



Filed under PR Planning & Strategy, Public Relations General, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Strategy is an over-used buzzword

  1. Interesting post! I didn’t realize my overuse of the word “strategy” until I read this post. Actually it seems that we make the word “strategy” a magic, which can be used to solve problems and express ourselves. Instead of using the abstract words, we should be more focused on the idea and the concept we want to deliver. Personally, I like the questions you listed. They make an outline for us to deliver our idea to substitute the buzz word “strategy.” More importantly, easier said than done. While making the so-called strategy, we are supposed to think about our client and audience and predict the possible difficulties and challenges we may face to. Only in that way can we make the best “strategy”…

  2. AC

    This is so well written. I feel like you took my thoughts and found an eloquent way to put it in writing…

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