Every great campaign has a starting point. The humble beginnings of a blank Word document or team brainstorm have the potential to turn into something that catches national attention, but it’s nearly impossible to produce results without some planning.

Ashley Capps, Vice President at Fleishman Hillard, recently spoke to PRSA Dallas NuPros about why a strong strategic plan is important and will reflect in a comprehensive and successful campaign. A strategic plan isn’t pulled out of thin air. It’s written with intention, using research and informed decisions. Below are key takeaways from Ashley as she breaks down strategic planning into four pillars: goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.


This is the long term, big picture dream. The bigger the better. Think along the lines of “we want to be the best _______ in the world.” Every inch of the plan needs to align with the campaign’s end goal to ensure every step of the process is a success.


Focus your gaze. Objectives are specific, intended outcomes. Use words like “change” and “improve.” Your client wants to change public sentiment by 20 percent. What are you actually trying to accomplish with this campaign?


What specific, informed choice is your team trying to achieve? Use words like “leverage” and “highlight.” For example, “we’re going to improve public sentiment by 20 percent by highlighting our all-natural, organic detergent line.”


What specific action will be taken? Use words like “develop,” “create,” “pitch.” Think of tactics as being the hands-on, day-to-day work. Don't be afraid to alter a tactic that's not working.

Now, take these tips, schedule a team brainstorm and get planning!