Conducting a Successful Communications Audit

Hart & Partners offers a proven communications audit process. A communications audit is a method of research that helps determine how your core audiences perceive your organization. You’ll get strategic information you need to take your communications program and organization to the next level.

Your audit helps define the relationship between your objectives and the communication methods used to promote those objectives. An audit works to establish a benchmark for the following:

* Identifying the overall strengths and weaknesses of your organization’s current communications strategy
* Explaining how the communications strategy needs to change to meet your current and future challenges – and reach your goals
* Ensuring that your resources are hard at work– and not being wasted on ineffective communications vehicles
* Presenting real-life, executable recommendations to improve your organization’s communications strategy

Please keep in mind that the communications audit process comes before the development of a strategic communications plan. It is a process of discovery that ensures the development of a solid, on-target communications recommendation.

Your communications audit will focus on eight key elements:

1. Vision — Where is your organization heading?

2. Mission — The questions sound easy, but they are surprisingly difficult to answer: Often they require a bit of soul-searching. “What business are we in?”, “What business do we want to be in?”, “How do we want others to see our business?” The mission statement should differentiate the company from the competitors.

3. Situation Assessment — Understanding the current situation is critical to success. It establishes the “here” part of the equation. We’ll also study external forces impacting your industry.

4. Target Audiences — Without a clear understanding of target audiences, you can’t begin to tailor your messages effectively, let alone develop the connections and relationships to achieve goals.

5. Message Development and Assessment — Clear, persuasive messages are the cornerstone of effective communications. What do you want to say to your audiences? How can you speak with one voice?

6. Product/Service Positioning — Offering great products and services isn’t enough. Positioning and communication is equally important. The process can break down when your overall vision and product/service positioning are not clearly aligned (creates confusion in the marketplace).

7. Media Assessment — How the media perceives you will determine the messages they deliver. What are your stories? How are they currently working in the media?

8. Communications Program Assessment — An audit can help whether or not you’ve ever had a formal communications plan. The process begins with setting communications goals. The next step is to identify the opportunities, structure and resources needed to get there.

Call 904/887-4045 or e-mail Rebecca@hartandpartners.com to learn more.