Where do we go from here?
What does the industry think of us? Are we known for what we want to be known for? What does our community value most about us? How could we better connect with our target audiences?
These are the kinds of questions that the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) asked themselves when considering what next move to make with their communication efforts. As a non-profit dedicated to leading the fire and emergency service to excellence, they were not new to exploring new ideas and embracing honest questioning in pursuit of improvement.
Getting wheels to turn in the same direction
So, CPSE enlisted the RedFlash Group to help them answer those questions.
“At CPSE, we’re proud of the work we do but realized we needed expert support in telling our story…enter RedFlash. They took the time to understand who we were as an organization and what our goals and values are.”
– Preet Bassi, CEO for CPSE
Identifying the right messaging and getting everyone on the CPSE team to use that messaging was a needed opportunity for improvement.
Additionally, CPSE wanted guidance on where to focus marketing energy and how to improve their brand perception in the marketplace.
These opportunities pointed to a need for creating a Strategic Communication Plan to provide direction on messaging, branding and outreach strategy. Creating the right plan for CPSE–and any organization–requires conducting a “diagnostic” exercise to better understand existing industry perceptions and current positioning so that marketing strategies and tactics are the result of evidence-based recommendations. So, we dug in.
Surveying the land
To get started, we identified just where we were starting from. Our team worked with CPSE to develop and deploy an industry survey to identify existing brand awareness and perceptions. The level of turnout was impressive. Respondents from all 50 states and Canada were represented, totaling 1,187 surveys completed.
“To develop the Communication Plan, RedFlash led us through a process that included extensive research and a deep dive into market perceptions of us. We came away with a greater understanding of our strengths and opportunities.”
– Preet Bassi
In parallel with survey development, we also conducted a review of CPSE’s print and digital marketing collateral to assess messaging, imagery, branding and overall presence to capture the current state and make recommendations.
Together with CPSE, we synthesized key findings and themes gathered from the industry survey and marketing audit. The data and information gleaned from the diagnostic phase served as the foundation for development of the Strategic Communication Plan.
Charting a path forward
Once there was a clear understanding of where CPSE was at in terms of their existing marketing efforts and perceptions, we worked together to develop a roadmap that would get them where they wanted to be.
“To aid our staff, dedicated board and commission members, and extensive roster of volunteers in telling our story consistently, RedFlash worked collaboratively with us to develop a Strategic Communication Plan. This plan identifies what we should say about ourselves, to whom, and where/how those messages should be delivered.”
– Preet Bassi
CPSE’s Strategic Communication Plan had to address messaging and activities for multiple facets of their business and a variety of audiences. Careful attention was given to these factors to ensure all were considered and prioritized appropriately. Collaboration with CPSE was important in finalizing the plan so that it took into account the nuances and details important to them.
A compass for communication strategy
CPSE’s Strategic Communication Plan will guide their communication efforts for up to three years. It’s important that plans be reevaluated for relevance and updated 2-3 years after their development.
The benchmark on marketplace perceptions that the survey provided will be able to measure improvement going forward. This will be hugely valuable in gauging how much they’re moving the needle and in what direction.
“Our Communication Plan helps ensure that time and resources are spent on the right things. Narrowing this focus really makes us more effective and intentional in how we tell our story.”
– Preet Bassi
In addition, Strategic Communication Plans like the one developed for CPSE help organizations by:
- Reducing the risk of spending dollars and time on communication activities that aren’t strategic
- Improving messaging consistency by specifying what you should say and how you should say it
- Increasing efficiency by avoiding guesswork on what to keep doing, what to stop doing, and what to start doing
- Instilling confidence in knowing where to focus marketing and outreach efforts