Your autumn communications plan: identifying the right topics

Good communications strategies are fluid, adapting to changing markets, politics, regulation, and client demands. And for many firms, the past 49 days of lockdown will have tested those communications strategies to breaking point.

In the latest Virtual Breakfast from Meridian West we look at how those communications strategies will change and the role thought leadership will play.

The breakfast was attended by over 70 people drawn from marketing, communications and business development roles from the world’s largest professional services firms. Meridian West’s Ben Kent chaired the discussion and was joined by Amir Hussain, Head of Marketing CBS at Deloitte, Suzanne Snowden, Director at Message Consulting, and Matt Baldwin, Managing Director of Coast.

Watch the webinar here

The five takeaways from our webinar

1. Time to pivot

Coronavirus has seen firms focus communications on the immediate steps they and their clients need to take to survive. They have been supportive, offering guidance, signposting and help.

But the narrative is beginning to change from response, to recovery and, we believe, to transform.  Communications strategies need to once again pivot. Thought leadership will be part of that transformative agenda.

2. Building communities

Firms that have embraced digital in their communications strategy in a deep and meaningful way prior to the Covid-19 pandemic have given themselves a head start.

By truly understanding your audience and creating content and thought leadership that resonates with them and their business is the way to build strong and engaged communities. And the only way to do that at the moment is online. An engaged community is, as webinar delegates were told, the ‘gold standard’ in thought leadership.

The Deloitte Covid-19 Taskforce Daily Update, (subscribe here) which has largely been promoted through word of mouth, built a global community of thousands looking for insights and guidance at this time. A deep understanding of the data your CRM can provide will unlock personalised content and future thought leadership.

Source: Deloitte LLP

3. Time is precious

Despite many of us working from home and likely to continue to do so, our time has become more precious. Thought leadership outputs need to recognise and respond to this. Detailed reports are still needed, but business leaders tell us time and again that they want short, snappy insights.

The same goes for research methodologies. There will, the panel believes, always be the place for the deep-dive data-driven insights, but right now and for the next 12-18 months there is a real appetite for short ‘pulse’ surveys that capture client sentiment.

Thought leadership programmes need to recognise and embrace both.

4. We’re all content creators now

The coronavirus pandemic and global lock-down has created a nation of content creators. From teachers delivering online lessons to professional firms providing detailed Covid hubs, we are all copywriters now. And with that, the rise of imperfect content. Clients are more forgiving or rapid turnaround content that may be a little rough around the edges.

But a word of caution. Always keep in mind who you are writing for. Tone, style and language needs to reflect the audience. What will work for the FD may not be appropriate for the head of risk, and that will be different for the business owner.

5. Plan now for autumn

Now is the time for marketing and BD teams to plan autumn campaigns. Consider not only what will be at the front of mind for clients but also where your own firm’s revenues will come from. Successful thought leadership campaigns should reflect both.

Join us for the next Meridian West virtual breakfasts or get in touch to learn more about our Ideas Labs

Meridian West is also offering a series of virtual thought leadership ‘ideas labs’ to help firms in their campaign planning. Get in touch to find out more.