Free Word: marketing and communications strategy

We worked with members of the Free Word team in 2013 to create a marketing strategy for the organisation’s development between 2013/14 and 2015/16.

In a project such as this one, our role is to prompt and open up thinking, test propositions, contribute knowledge of the wider context and organise conclusions into a clear set of recommendations, aims and objectives and a delivery framework/timetable. We worked closely with the Free Word team and Board throughout, testing and capturing thinking along the way, to ensure there were no ‘surprises’ on delivery of the final strategy. Our approach was designed to make the planning process a learning experience for everyone involved, and to ensure that in itself it created a tangible legacy for the organisation and the individuals involved.

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Typically the development and delivery of a marketing strategy consists of five phases: context setting; diagnostic; development; implementation, and evaluation. Our work with the team to develop Free Word’s first ever marketing strategy looked in detail at the first three phases, with advice on the final two.

The final strategy, co-authored by us and the FreeWord team, included a situational analysis of marketing activity to date and an organisational history; an examination of target audiences; strategic aims and objectives, in relation to: branding and positioning, product development and pricing, digital activity, direct marketing, print and media and PR, income generation; an action plan and related HR plan, and a budget and related financial projections.

Although the FreeWord team had worked with us throughout the whole process, at the end of the planning process we facilitated a ‘soft landing’ session, to ensure they were inside the action plan and felt confident about the next steps. Running our own small business we know how difficult it can be translating strategy into action so we work hard to make it as easy as possible for clients to do this.