I have been asked, on occasion, about communications campaigns or programs that I have led or been involved with. I do not necessarily think of the work I do in terms of campaigns, or even stand-alone programs. As I explain in detail on the planning page, I prefer to take a more integrated approach, viewing everything as interconnected. Because if you start thinking in terms of independent campaigns instead of comprehensive annual plans, it limits both the results you can achieve as well as the value you can bring to the table as a communications professional.
For example, I once worked on a “buy American” initiative for Monsanto’s Plastics Division. But we worked it in as part of our overall public relations plan for that client, as opposed to treating it as a stand-alone program. As such, we had a web of knowledge and connections that made our effort easier and far more effective than it would have been if this were some sort of project we were brought in to do. And we had already been working to establish the reputation and value of the company and its products, services, and support in the automotive market we were targeting.
When tasked with this initiative, we were able to deliver exceptional results, generating more than 150 million media impressions in 24 hours – in an era before the internet, social media, or even media relations departments. Thanks to all of the earned media coverage we produced, the initiative helped pump an estimated $50 million into the sagging U.S. auto industry and secured face-to-face meetings for Monsanto with the Big Three U.S. automakers, which was the ultimate goal. But our familiarity with the company, its products, and the automotive market it serves were crucial to this success – as was the work we had been doing on the client’s behalf in that market before the initiative as well as the work and the merchandising of the results we did afterwards.
If there is to be a particular campaign or program dedicated to a specific product, service, or event, that should still be considered part of – and therefore integrated into – the overall communications plan as opposed to being viewed and treated as a separate, independent effort. To think in terms of stand-alone campaigns and programs does a disservice to everyone involved. And limiting the scope and timeframe of a communications effort effectively limits the results it can achieve.