The Best Tool for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Agency’s Communications

A communications audit helps identify strengths and weaknesses in an agency’s communications, as well as perceptions that exist and barriers which prevent or inhibit effective communication. An audit also flags areas that may require more in-depth, quantitative research.

Comm Audit All Reverse Mort Checkmark 24379202246_5ca2770bdf_n (1)

What is a communications audit?

A communications audit is a management tool that helps agencies and their clients determine how effectively they are communicating with various audiences. It involves the collection and analysis of information about perceptions clients and influencers have about the agency. In essence, a communications audit is a snapshot of an organization at a given time. An audit may be broad or narrow, focusing on a particular audience or a variety of audiences. Likewise, the audit may address a single issue or a wide range of issues affecting an agency. The bottom-line goal for any audit, however, should be to improve the effectiveness of an organization’s communication with important audiences.

Why should an organization have one?

A communications audit can help agencies and/or their clients understand how well their messages are being received and accepted by audiences. While people may think that others understand and accept their messages, the fact of the matter is that we are often unaware of how the messages we send are received or understood. Equally important as sending a message is listening for feedback. A communications audit also can help identify barriers to effective communication and provide practical solutions.

How is a communications audit conducted?

The best way to conduct a communications audit is through an independent, third-part individual who thoroughly understands the communication process. Audits typically include a review of formal and informal communication processes; one-on-one interviews with community and industry leaders, influencers, customers and members of the organization; focus groups; and sometimes surveys.

What are the expected results?

An audit gives organizations an opportunity to find out what they are doing well in their communications and where they need to improve. The audit also may uncover important issues or perceptions that need to be addressed, and in some cases it will significantly alter the way an organization operates.

It’s hard to fix something if you don’t know exactly where it’s broken. A communications audit helps identify communication gaps, barriers and pitfalls, and it ultimately provides a roadmap to get communications back on track.

photo credit: All Reverse Mortgage Check mark via photopin (license)

 

Don’t Try to Fix Broken Communication Until You Have Completed a Communications Audit

Field Observations Notebook Image large_5014162053

Several days ago, I finished a communications audit for a client that has customers throughout Tennessee. If you’re not family with a communications audit, it’s simply a management tool that helps an organization gauge how effectively it’s communicating with various audiences.

While people may think that others understand and accept their messages, we are often unaware of how the messages we send are received, understood or accepted. An audit helps identify strengths and weaknesses in an organization’s communications, as well as perceptions that exist and barriers which prevent or inhibit effective communication. An audit also flags areas that areas that may require more in-depth, quantitative research.

When I do an audit, I always include:

•       A review of past methods and vehicles used to communicate with various audiences.

•       The collection and analysis of information about perceptions individuals have about the organization; what they want and need to know; how they prefer to be reached; and the extent to which organizational communication is clear, consistent and relevant.

•       An analysis of what would make communications more effective in the future, along with specific recommendations.

In addition to reviewing this organization’s communications materials and vehicles, I interviewed employees as well as customers from one side of the state to the other to determine perceptions and how communication could be improved. By comparing employees’ and customers’ answers about key issues and perceptions, I was able to identify common concerns and trends, as well as to see where gaps exist between what they think about a particular matter.

As it turned out, there were three reoccurring themes I heard over and over again. All three are intertwined, and the good news is that there are practical ways in which they can be greatly improved, though they won’t be fixed overnight and they will require a financial investment.

It’s hard to fix something if you don’t know exactly where  it’s broken. A communications audit helps answer that question and provides a roadmap to get an organization’s communications back on track.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to advertising agencies and businesses.

photo credit: Calsidyrose via photopin cc

Communications Audit: Helping Ad Agencies Uncover Important Issues

A communications audit gives an organization an opportunity to find out what it is doing well in its communication and where it needs to improve.

The audit may also uncover important issues or perceptions that need to be addressed, and in some cases it will significantly alter the way the organization operates.

The end product is a written report of findings, along with recommendations for improving communication.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Communications Audit: Ad Agency Tips for Conducting One

The best way to conduct a communications audit is through an independent, third-part individual who thoroughly understands the communication process. Ad agencies are in an ideal position to provide this third-party research for clients.

Audits typically include a review of formal and informal communication processes; one-on-one interviews with community leaders, influencers and employees; focus groups; and sometimes surveys. An audit will review the facilities (e.g. signage, displays and lights), publications, public relations activities, telephone voice messages, videos, direct mail, electronic communications (Web site, e-mail lists, etc.), meetings and outreach programs.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

 

Communications Audit: Benefits to Ad Agencies and Their Clients

A communications audit can help organizations understand how well their messages are being received and accepted by audiences. While people may think that others understand and accept their messages, the fact of the matter is that we are often unaware of how the messages we send are received or understood.

Equally important as sending a message is listening for feedback. A communications audit also can help identify barriers to effective communication and provide practical solutions.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Communications Audit: An Effective Management Tool for Ad Agencies

A communications audit is a management tool that ad agencies can use to help clients understand how effectively they are communicating with various audiences. It involves the collection and analysis of in-depth information about perceptions individuals have about an organization. In essence, a communications audit is a snapshot of an organization at a given time.

An audit may be broad or narrow, focusing on a particular audience or a variety of audiences. Likewise, the audit may address a single issue or a wide range of issues affecting an organization. The bottom-line objective for any audit, however, should be to improve the effectiveness of an organization’s communication.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.