“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans
are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
As a career PR and marketing practitioner, I have always appreciated this quote from our 34th President. A subtle reminder that planning for success is essential, but also that media is fluid and news cycles can change with a simple Tweet.
I try to keep this in mind when working with clients to ensure that we strike the right balance between preparation and execution. The underlying message from Eisenhower was, that in battle, and in tech PR, you need to plan for contingencies and evolving conditions. The planning process and the ultimate objective is much more valuable than the actual plan itself.
Look, we’ve all been there. We get in a room with a group of smart and creative people and develop the perfect marketing plan. Everything from the news pipeline to graphics and social campaigns are accounted for. Then the landscape changes and everyone is writing and talking about issues no one saw coming.
This is where the importance of planning comes in. Is there a clear connection to business objectives? Do we understand our message forward and backwards? Do we recognize the larger business universe and how we fit into the overall picture? Do we have the credibility to provide a unique point of view on a story? If we can answer yes to those questions, we will still be successful.
What separates an effective PR team from an ordinary one is the ability to adjust on the fly and still achieve the desired results. A plan should serve as a useful guide, not an obstacle to success. The expectation should always be that it will be necessary to deviate in order to maximize opportunities. To lock into a plan of action without accounting for changing conditions is a disservice to the ultimate goal.
We shorten the path to success. That is our creed here at Corporate Ink. If we aren’t shortening the path, we are making it longer and that is unacceptable. If the plan is the obstacle, then it’s time to remove it and adjust. Sticking to the plan should never take priority over achieving results.