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  • Writer's pictureAlan Shoebridge

‘Nobody knows about us’ – Avoid the eyeroll and build a strategy (part 2)

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Note: Post contributed by Amber Shoebridge

I recently met with the executive director for a small foundation. Her board wanted to “raise awareness” for the organization. I’ve heard the same request numerous times during my years in public relations. I’ve managed to mature (a little) over the years and didn’t automatically roll my eyes. Instead, I asked her, “What does success look like to you?”

That simple question can help you steer the conversation towards the valuable pieces of information you will need before launching a successful marketing/public relations campaign. For instance, is success more patients, more donations, an increase in people following the client’s social media channels, etc.? Another way to look at it is, what will greater awareness achieve?

No one wants to be the naysayer in the meeting when someone says "we need more awareness." You want your client or partner to know that you are taking his or her request seriously and that you are there to help. By putting the emphasis on success you show that you have a shared goal. From there you can start asking more specific questions. The sample question tree below is one way to get there.

Key questions to narrow the focus

1. What does success look like?

  • Increased donations

  • Expanded donor base

  • More sales

2. Who are your key audiences?

  • Existing donor/member/customer base

  • A specific, targeted segment of the community

  • A large segment of the community

3. Where do you stand today?

  • Have you formally measured your awareness with the general public or key audiences?

4. What are your measurable results?

  • 10% increase in sales from previous fiscal year

  • 10% increase in names in donor database

5. What are your key messages?

  • What do you want the audience to remember?

  • Who will be your subject matter experts?

  • What sets you apart from competitors?

6. What is your budget?

  • Is there an existing fixed budget?

  • Are you looking for recommendations?

  • Who will be executing the tactics?

You want to have a clear and concise plan with buy-in finalized before you kick off a campaign so you won’t be distracted and potentially miss your goals. Working through the questions above will ensure that your partners/clients are focused and success is achieved. It's also a much more productive strategy than rolling your eyes!


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