Chapter 2: Setting Strategy: Finding the “Why”

My CEO pokes his head into my office to tell me he thinks we need a company brochure and would like to set up a meeting for later in the week to discuss. When we sit down to talk details, what should be my next question as a public relations manager?

  1. What information did you want included in the brochure?
  2. When did you need this brochure?
  3. Why do you think we need a company brochure?

These all seem reasonable questions, but it’s the role of the professional communicator to consider strategy before execution, so you have to start with the “why?”  A big part of the job is asking questions and doing the research to ensure there is strategy – a reason why – behind a course of action. After sitting down with my CEO, I learned that he recently attended a conference and noticed that other executives had materials that easily fit inside a suit jacket and gave them a place to take brief notes or quickly give out basic company information. We discussed his needs and ultimately decided to create a notepad slim enough to fit in a pocket that had the company logo and some basic contact info and lines for note-taking. It was less expensive and time-consuming to create, and better met the need.

For larger initiatives, a more in-depth discover process is needed to find the “why” and explore other information relevant to development of a strong strategy.

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