How to Gain Executive Buy-In for Switching to the PESO Model
The start of a new year is a fresh opportunity, while you are finalizing your annual business goals and drafting your communications plan, to introduce change into your organization.
When I share the PESO model integrated communications approach at conferences, there are always a few attendees who come up to me after my presentation and tell me they love the approach, but it would be impossible for them to get their executive teams onboard.
What’s holding them back? Leaders fiercely protect budget dollars and headcount. Executives with pet projects without a concrete return-on-investment that hoover up resources. And large, bureaucratic structures that resist change the way a toddler resists bedtime. Every. Single. Night. Not that I know anything about the latter. Ahem.
But here’s the thing: Even if all of these issues are present in your organization, you STILL have the potential to gain support for moving to the PESO model. All it takes is presenting a convincing business case for why it’s in the best interest of the organization to do so.
I’m sure some of you broke out in hives after reading that last sentence, envisioning needing to partner with an MBA and spending months constructing a bulletproof plan with hard dollar cost savings projections. While that may be necessary in some organizations, in most a solid business case is simply one that identifies a business need, presents an idea for meeting that need, weighs the risks and rewards the idea presented to the organization, and then presents a plan for moving forward with the idea.
Identify the Business Need the PESO Model Meets
No matter how passionately you believe in the PESO model (and believe me, I understand that passion!), you will not gain the buy-in from your leadership team unless you can directly tie it back to your business goals. Is your organization looking to drive a significant revenue increase? Or are you expanding a specific product or service line? Which overarching goals can you, as a communicator, best support through your efforts?
Identify the primary goal that needs extra support from communicators across your organization—that includes PR, marketing, HR, product, or customer success. By its very nature of integrating paid, earned, shared, and owned media, the PESO model provides a framework for integrating communication efforts across the organization.
Show Why the PESO Model is Critical to Meet that Need
The benefits and outcomes of the PESO model are ready-made to translate to common high-level organization goals.
PESO helps communicators “do more with less” by eliminating duplication of effort, encouraging reuse and repurposing of content across channels and throughout the organization, and increasing the reach and engagement of your efforts instead of just creating more content and marketing materials.
PESO drives revenue by influencing potential buyers and including measurement and tracking into all communications activities to prove the return on the communications investment.
PESO builds brand awareness through consistency of message, creating share-worthy content, and improving your domain authority and search placement.
PESO breaks down organizational silos and creates an opportunity for collaboration throughout the organization that in turn enhances the customer experience.
Depending on your organization’s goals, you may want to meld two or more of these statements together to best illustrate the specific way in which the PESO model will help move your organization forward. To better support your recommendation for implementing the PESO approach, it can help to give a couple of other possible solutions for meeting the need, and point out why you chose to champion the PESO model instead.
Weigh the Risks and Rewards of the PESO Model
During our 30-day Communications Challenge, we walked participants step-by-step through how to implement the PESO model in their organization through creating a PESO communications plan. One of the homework assignments was to do a SWOT assessment of their organization from a brand and communications standpoint.
You’ll want to do the same thing, only focused on the effects of implementing the PESO model in your organization:
Strengths: What internal factors would give you an advantage over your competitors if you implement PESO?
Weaknesses: What internal areas for improvement could put you at a disadvantage to your competitors if you implement PESO?
Opportunities: What external changes or trends could be business opportunities if you implement PESO?
Threats: What external things beyond your organization’s control could adversely affect your business if you implement PESO?
Present Your PESO Communications Plan
For many folks, this is the hardest part. How do you present your business case at an executive summary level, and finally gain the buy-in to move forward with taking a PESO approach in your organization? Approach it as you would approach pitching a reporter by warming them up with a good story that has an emotional hook.
Paint a picture of your company’s future state—executives’ improved thought leadership profiles, loyal customers turned brand advocates, internal departments collaborating and working more efficiently—and show how PESO is what gets you there. And it can do so without a messy reorganization or a budget increase.
To ensure your message resonates with the team, identify one person who will be in the room when you present your plan, and present it to them beforehand for their feedback, and recruit them to your cause. This can give you practice in responding to the inevitable challenges and questions you’ll face in your final presentation. It also will help you make your case to have a supporter in the room who’s already onboard with your plan, and feels some ownership in helping you make your case.
The PESO model is all about taking a smarter, more strategic approach to communications across your organization to create better outcomes for your customers and your bottom line. As long as you make that clear in your presentation, you should have little trouble getting the green light to implement the PESO model.
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