Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Value of Conducting a Communications Audit

In some instances, usually larger organizations, communications audits can even aim to get the pulse of what employees or members of an association generally feel about the efforts made to communicate with them.

For example, if your organization is above 50 employees, are you aware of your employees' overall impression is of the direction of the company? If you're a non-profit that's looking to make a difference in fundraising dollars or motivate
government, what impressions do the public or your members hold of your executives or even your image?

Failing to grasp whether your communications and PR are in touch with a brand image will likely mean a publicity campaign will be off it's mark. If your marketing collateral isn't the right tool for the job of creating new sales opportunities, then it doesn't matter how pretty it is, or how much it cost to produce. It just won't get the job done efficiently.

You're Only As Good As Your Tools

And a communications audit can tell you just how good your tools are. Before going into any campaign or even a communications plan, I've recommended organizations review these important pieces of their brand and the public relations efforts:

First: Conduct interviews with your staff to review current challenges, perceptions, and infrastructure in place to accommodate effective membership and external communication

Second: Development of a membership or customer survey

In these instances, Action Strategies usually undertakes the mailing, follow up, and tabulation of results to determine satisfaction and overall perception. It's usually recommended that at least 25% of your base should be surveyed. Your top twenty media outlets, target publics and/or key government contacts of relevance to your issues, (creating a random list) need to be interviewed on their perceptions and the effectiveness of your communications to them.

Third, I believe it is essential for a complete audit of your internal and promotional materials (web, print, etc.) be conducted to ensure consistency with your brand.

While these cover the basis http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.spell.gif of a communications audit, they should not be considered exclusive. Like any marketing or PR campaign, there are rare times when a cookie cutter approach can be applied. Over the years, I've developed an approach that is more in depth and thorough. I invite you to drop me a line and leave your comments here for others to see as well.

Happy auditing!

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & marketing tips newsletter by visiting www.actionstrategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Mark. Very useful. Keep up the good work.

Frank A.

Mark Buzan said...

Thanks Frank! If I can be of help, please let me know and please consider subscribing to our newsletter for more tips and advice.