In our last post, we looked at the importance of defining scope for successful business communication. Our tool for defining scope is AM/PM: Audience – Message – Purpose – Medium. We’ve already addressed audience and message. Now let’s look at purpose and medium.

Purpose is the unspoken part of the scope. It is the why of your effort: why do you want this audience to hear your message? What do you want them to believe in, respond to, take action on? Every communication purpose should be tied to a business objective, and achieving the purpose should be measurable.

Asking for the purpose when nailing down a project’s scope can stop a misguided communication project dead in its tracks. Before you proceed with any project—be it a social media campaign, a website, an ad blitz, or even a lowly brochure—ask yourself why.  What do you want the readers of your content or consumers of your information to do, think, feel? Seeing every communication project from the recipient’s point of view will dramatically affect your scope—and probably save you time and money.

Once you have established audience, message, and purpose, you’re ready to think about the medium. But most businesses start planning their communication projects at this tactical level. Communication products are often thought of in terms of medium only; this is a big mistake.

In today’s multi-channel communication world, one medium is usually not sufficient to effectively reach your intended audience with your message and achieve your purpose. So any communication project, from the flashiest campaign to the most perfunctory press release, should be approached holistically.

To do this, consider where else your audience will see, hear about, or experience the message you are trying to convey. Then make sure all your media are aligned, humming the same tune. This doesn’t mean every project has to be a major campaign. But it does mean:

  • You’ve considered options and selected the most appropriate primary vehicle(s) for your message;
  • You’ve aligned or integrated other channels to support your communication (e.g., update the web page to match the brochure); and
  • You’ve prepared for feedback, measurement, and response to response (e.g., you know how you will handle comments posted to the blog, or what’s going to happen if someone does call the toll-free number).

Sound like a lot of work? It can be. But in the end, when you apply the simple discipline of AM/PM scope definition at the outset of your business communication, your  communication will produce less noise but more attention, less commotion but more connection to your business objectives.