Communication Goals and Objectives

Posted Nov 20th, 2015 in Strategic Communications

Communication Goals vs ObjectivesWhat is the difference between communication goals & communication objectives?  They both help us define where we want to take our business, but goals are broad and objectives are more specific.

Having both goals and SMART objectives are important when planning your communications strategy.  Knowing the difference, and clearly defining your goals and objectives can be the difference between success or failure.

Goals are broad and lack specific measurement. 

They are written to support the company's mission statement and vision.   A single goal may have many objectives.  Management by Objectives (MBO) is a term used to describe the type of management when work is done in a way that is strategic and measurable. 

Types of Communication Goals 

  1. Reputation  - identity or perception of the organization
  2. Relationship - how the organization interacts with their public(s)
  3. Task -  action items / getting things done

Questions to consider when developing goals for your organization

  • What type of goal is it?
  • What is the budget?
  • Do any goals contradict one another?
  • Does the organization (boards/executives)  want to work toward these goals?  If no, can they be inspired?
  • Ethical problems?

Objectives give an organization direction, as well as a reference point for evaluation. 

Preliminary research is usually done to give a baseline for these objectives.  Research is important.  There is time to plan and budget spent to not only design a communication strategy, but to implement  and evaluate.

Three levels of Objectives

  1. Awareness - Attention, Comprehension, Retention
  2. Acceptance - Interest, attitude
  3. Action - Opinion, Behaviour

Tip to remember:  AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action)

Questions to help develop communication objectives

  • Do you have an objective for each of the three types?
  • Are they SMART (Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) ?
  • Do they align with your organization's Mission Statement, Vision, Business goals?
  • Include an outcome?  Specifically to.... Create/Generate, Increase/Maximize, Maintain/Reinforce, Decrease/Minimize
  • Does it include -
    • Target Public - Contain the targeted public outlined in the Overview
    • Outcome (not output) - Each needs to be addressed -  Information Gain / Opinion Change / Behavioral Change
    • Measurement - Realistic and consistent / based on research & experience / Aim high, for inspiration and excellence
    • Target Date - help in the planning process  - implementation and evaluation guidelines

Sample Objectives (Fill in the blanks)


"To have an effect on awareness; specifically to create ___________ (knowledge / understanding) by _____% of ________(targeted public) about the __________________ within / by  __________ (targeted date)"


"To have an effect on acceptance; specifically to ______________(desired outcome i.e. regain trust / acceptance) among ________% of _________________(targeted public) __________________(organization is doing - i.e. acting responsibly, being transparent, honest, etc) by ____________(targeted date).


To have an effect on action; specifically to ____________________ (desired outcome i.e. support sales, increase registration, positive opinion) by _______% of the ________(targeted public) within/by ________(targeted date)

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