thThe following four analyses will provide the information needed for you to form the core of a communication strategy.

Recall that the overall purpose of strategy is to develop the best way to make people’s life better, and all strategies consist of three interlocking processes: identifying the problem, guidelines, and action steps.

The information used in the analyses below are acquired from published writing, interviews, focus groups, and surveys.

Problem Analysis

I like to start with a problem. I think of the problem as a bucket to hold the messages about products and services.

A review of recent literature on the problem and examination of existing techniques that deal with the problem. This formative research helps to understand the audience and how segments of that audience perceive the intervention benefits and costs, identify the most appropriate places to reach each segment, and determine the best promotional tactics for bringing about the desired change.

Make preliminary decisions about audience segments, behavioral recommendations, and the factors they may have to address to bring about change.

Context Analysis

Strategic communication seeks to alter environments by providing options outside the normal set for a person to choose. The more that messages are designed for particular contexts, the greater the impact.

Clearly describe the intended audience at the time that they will absorb the messages. Answer the following questions:

  • what are they doing?
  • who are they with?
  • where are they?
  • where are they going?
  • which stage of life are they in?

Channel Analysis

Identify the pathways through which messages, products, and services can be delivered. This includes electronic and print media to social networks and opinion leaders.

It is necessary to inventory all the places where a person encounters messages and these in turn become possible channels to use. Through exploring channels, you will not only know what channels the population is exposed to but what are most influential and important.

The more channels accessed, the greater the impact of the messages.

Network Analysis

From the previous analyses, you can begin to isolate the value of accessing audiences at the right time.

Partnerships developed from a mutual interest in helping to solve the problem have a good chance of succeeding if the partnership increases the number of available channels for messages within a targeted environment.

Partnerships can be between private voluntary organizations, religious organizations, commercial organizations, and various governmental organizations.


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