Do You Copy Communication Plans?

Here is what I love about Facebook and Twitter. You make an innocuous comment or state an opinion – for fun or for business – and a colleague picks up on it. All of a sudden, you are having a conversation, which may or may not grow into an idea that takes action.

Case in point: today I posted the following question on FB:

“Do you ever feel like you could just copy and paste communication plans from one business to another?

The reason I posted the question? I was working on two business communication plans and the background were so similar, that it would have been too easy to just copy one and apply it to the other. It was asked in jest, but my friend Robert J Holland who blogs at Communication at Work, replied (somewhat in jest):

“Yes…. but don’t do it!!! :-)”
I didn’t copy the plan of course, but Robert and I went on to have a fun discussion about it. We’ve both heard stories where some agencies have taken a plan for one client, changed the names and submitted it to a different client.
I won’t get into the ethical question of such a practice (I think it’s wrong), but just look at it from a practical standpoint:
  • Perhaps the client projects are similar, but aren’t there some differences?
  • What about the key messages?
  • What about the nuances of the subject, product, audiences, etc.?

Those are just a few questions I have.

I mean, we, as communicators, spend so much time discussing how you have to apply the right tools to the project at hand versus just using every single tool you can think of, in order to have a strategic and tactical plan that will work…well, it just boggles my mind that people would do that (copy plans).
Don’t you think that creating messaging and plans that take in every possible nuance of the project, audiences, etc., is much more fruitful for the client? What happens when you are asked to measure?
What do you think?

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Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.

2 thoughts on “Do You Copy Communication Plans?”

  1. I can draw a parallel in six sigma, eBiz & Logistics even – translation opportunities is how we labeled them in SS. Simply put, there’s no harm in leveraging learnings, concepts and ideas across businesses and platforms BUT nothing cuts & pastes neatly and force fitting plans/solutions is ripe for failure (as evidenced by many an SAP implementation).

  2. Susan – all your questions and comments are completely valid.

    What it ultimately comes down to for me, is when you simply copy&paste one plan to two (or more) projects, you aren’t actually thinking about the project as the individual and unique situation it represents. For me that is always a recipe for failure.

    Even if you can get away with the laziness of this approach on the occasional situation, your own ability to effectively do your job is compromised by using this kind of short-cut.

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