As I draw to the conclusion of this term’s various lecturing commitments for the CIM marketing communication diploma classes that I teach, my students are preparing their assignments.

One of the key concepts that underpins most of what is taught in this course is the relationship between task, tool and message. The beauty of the best concepts is that they both simplify and illuminate:

Task – What is it that you are trying to achieve?
The first and most important task is to define what it is that you are trying to achieve. And to produce some SMART objectives? Are you trying to create awareness? Improve awareness? Change perceptions? Make an impact? Drive traffic to your web site? Generate leads? Get people to attend an event? Initiate a dialogue? Convert interest to business? Get more from an existing client relationship? No doubt your campaign comprises a number of different tasks and these need to be set out first.

Tool – What is the best tool to tackle this task?
It may be that you must break down the task into a number of component parts and then look at the best tool for each. It may be that you can forget all about advertising and PR and focus on a concentrated sales campaign.

Message – What is it that you must communicate?
Too often the message is unclear, confused, bland or too complicated. The core message needs to address the client’s needs, in their terms, and show what value will be delivered. The message must also be sufficiently distinct from what your competitors or the alternatives might offer.