No matter what industry you or your clients operate in, a well-crafted strategy brief serves as a North Star, guiding efforts that help you plan to achieve organizational goals. A strategy brief outlines key objectives, target audiences, messaging and tactics for a marketing or communications campaign. Whether it’s planning ahead for a new year, launching a new product, rebranding, announcing a new leader or expanding market presence, a strategy brief acts as a blueprint for success when used correctly. In this blog, we'll review four questions your team should ask to create a compelling strategy brief.

1. Defining the landscape - What is the situation and the desired outcome?

Before embarking on a new project, the first step is to build a comprehensive understanding of the situation and any business objectives. What’s the SWOT analysis? What challenges are you facing? What goals are you aiming to achieve? By clearly defining campaign intentions, you pave the way for a more focused and effective strategy. For example, are you looking to boost sales, enhance brand awareness or increase customer engagement?

Timing is important too. Set the pace and schedule for the work against these goals.

2. Metrics that matter - Which KPIs have the greatest influence on business outcomes?

Every public relations initiative should be driven by quantifiable results, which leads us to our second question: which key performance indicators within your industry must you impact?

This is where communication professionals sometimes miss the mark, as KPIs are unique from one category to the next. Specify the desired impact - be it a percentage increase in market share, a higher click-through rate or a surge in new business leads. Remember, you can’t measure success without a well-defined target. For more insight on this topic, review our recent blog, "Three ways to make your communications results more measurable", which explores the different types of KPIs and their significance.

3. Exploring sources and segments – How can you maximize business opportunities?

The third question broadens the scope beyond numbers; it’s an opportunity to pinpoint where the potential for business growth lies. In doing so, you’ll need to navigate the nuances of target segmentation and analyze which customer or business groups hold the most promise. This can mean assessing products, demographics, and sales strengths, product mix and margins. Overall, this holistic approach helps ensure your strategy doesn't just boost numbers, but also promotes sustainable growth.

4. Setting boundaries for success – What elements are mandatory for your strategy brief and overall project?

In the fast-paced world of PR, it's easy to get carried away with ideas and possibilities. That's where our fourth question steps in. To align your team, clearly outline any non-negotiable elements that should be included in your strategy brief. These could be brand guidelines, ethics considerations, budget constraints or legal requirements. By setting these boundaries early on, you create a framework that fosters creativity while ensuring your efforts remain aligned with your brand's vision and business values.

In addition to asking these questions, it's important to incorporate other elements into strategy briefs, including preferred communication channels, budget allocation, desired tone, supporting proof points and the appropriate key messages. Together, all of these components serve as a helpful tool to refine your business focus and summarize your plan of action.

*The insights provided here were inspired by the Mirren Account Mastery Training Series™.