There has been lots of talk recently about how to improve the reputation of PR. It reminded me how students often ask about the difference between strategy and tactics.
The best way to understand strategy is to think of it as a process that includes research, analysis, weighing up options by bringing in knowledge from theory and practice, and then deciding what the most appropriate general course of action is. This is all associated with developing measurable communication objectives related to the specific stakeholder groups concerned. Tactics are then the appropriate actions taken to achieve the objectives.
Of course, we all get excited by the tactics. It’s when we can get stuck into what we do best, producing content, running events etc. The trap we can occasionally fall into is to think about the tactic first and then retro-fit it to a vague or ill-defined problem. One way to think of this is that the more challenging the objective, for example, changing deep rooted beliefs, the less likely that a video - on it's own - is the best tactic.
So, when someone suggests that a video is a good idea, my advice is to stop and ask what the actual communication problem is and then work through whether or not a video is the right tactic. Failing to do this can end up with a lot wasted effort and money spent on a well written and well shot piece that makes no difference to the actual problem it attempts to address.