Focus around your North Star for a winning strategy in 2014

Few things are as liberating for marketing and communications pros as focus. And few things will drive better results.

Few things are as liberating for marketing and communications pros as focus. And few things will drive better results.

With focus, you can develop clear strategies that allow you to confidently say yes to tasks that matter, and no to distractions that can sabotage the best PR plan. At a time when the sands of healthcare delivery are shifting beneath our feet, finding focus is difficult. Start by helping your company answer this question: What do we want to be known for?

Then ask, do we have the credibility to speak with authority, and if not, how can we gain it? The answer lies in thought leadership. Definitions abound, but I like this one from the book Profitable Brilliance, which defines a thought leader as "an individual or organization that prospects, clients, and competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise."

A thought-leadership campaign builds credibility and positions your organization as that authority. In a recent ReviveHealth and LinkedIn survey asking about the key communications challenges under healthcare reform, about 900 marketing and communications pros across healthcare ranked transparency in cost and care as number one and advancing consumer knowledge as number two.

Healthcare has not exactly been forward thinking in either area, and speaking with authority on these topics will take a concerted effort. A thought-leadership campaign with a clear path can work wonders, providing that much-needed North Star for your organization's marcomms efforts.

As you put new strategies into place for 2014, here are some questions to guide thinking: In 2013, did strategies come together and contribute to your organization's goals? Next year, how can you put an integrated communications plan in place that positions your organization for success? Do you have a clear story to tell and the proof points in place to support it? And, are all your communications efforts aligned around a common theme and tied to overall business goals?

Be the person who helps answer these questions and establish that North Star for your firm and watch as your own star rises among executives eager for focus. Together, watch as your brand moves, too, in the very direction in which you have focused it.

Kriste Goad is CMO for ReviveHealth.

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