The Zoom Method of Communications Strategy SuccessWhen you finish this blog post you will be able to use your iPhone as a tool to improve your communications strategy development, execution, and measurement.

There’s an app for that….

….OK, not really, but it will serve as a reminder of how you should approach your communications strategy.

So everyone, pick up your phones.

Go to your photos and choose one.

Now look at it as is in your screen.

Take your fingers and zoooooom in.

Look at the details.

Scroll all around and try to notice things about the shot you didn’t before. Colors, angles, small objects or differences in facial expressions, body language maybe?

Just observe the new details.

Zoom out again and look at it in context.

The original photo might look slightly different to you now.

It might have more dimension or emotion attached to it.

It should feel deeper and more involved, because now you’ve seen a bit more than how it first appeared.

Zooming Around Your Communications Strategy

Learning to zoom is a skill every communications professional MUST learn.

Successful development and execution of a communications strategy requires you to zoom into the details, but also zoom out to the context and the bigger picture.

And, as a result, understand how to prioritize details and tactics in terms of how they best contribute to, and drive, the success of the bigger picture (or how they don’t).

What You Learn When You Zoom In

When you zoom in you learn:

  • Your individual tactics in isolation.
  • How tactics interconnect and can be thread together.
  • Niche opportunities.
  • Important plan flaws that you might not see from a full view.
  • Additional organizational opportunities.
  • The “working” pieces: Human resources, partner resources, capital resources.
  • Consumer touchpoints.

What You Learn When You Zoom Out

When you zoom out you see:

  • How your individual tactics integrate together.
  • What details most powerfully affect the whole: This helps you troubleshoot and adjust, but also understand what details are important to focus your time and attention on, and which are not.
  • How the consumer sees the organization and it’s message overall.
  • If all operations and tactics create a complete and attractive picture.
  • Cohesiveness and flow.

Learning to Zoom

Unfortunately, a communications strategy isn’t like a photo on your phone.

You can’t just roll your fingers over it and zoom in or out, but you can deliberately and consistently take time to practice this exercise on your own.

For example, I tend to do this weekly when we put together client dashboard and review the success metrics we track.

I look at the data and zoom in to the red flags or opportunities.

Then I zoom out and look at the whole again.

I continue this process, following the different paths my “zoom investigations” might find, until I have a sense of what’s going on at the zoomed in level, and how it affects the zoomed out bigger picture.

I also self-check myself this way when my often OCD perfectionist nature finds me spending a lot of time on something at the zoomed in level….I stop, take a deep breath and zoooooom on out to see how that detail, which I’m devoting so much time and energy on, affects the big picture and overall goal.

Is the picture the same (both now and in the future)? If so, I decide how much value the time spent agonizing over the detail provides.

If not, I zoom back in and dig deeper into what can be done to resolve the glitches of that detail and improve the bigger picture (as well as how that will affect the details around it).

By zooming in and out of your communications strategy often and with intention. You’ll be able to better prioritize your time, resources, and tasks, as well as see opportunities and obstacles you might have missed by only looking at one level.

image credit: shutterstock

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

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