How to Conduct a 60-Minute Communications Audit


auditMarketers love to talk about a company’s messaging and conduct elaborate processes described as communications audits. They’re usually a good idea, but often unnecessarily complex, time consuming, and expensive.

You can take these two-simple steps and get a very good understanding of what your employees are communicating about your firm. After all, the most important communicators are your employees.

Step One: Conduct a Business Card Review

Get examples of business cards from every division, function and level in your company. You can have someone do this for you. It may take a week or two to receive a wide-enough sample since it’s best to look at actual cards rather than photos.

  • Are they consistent?
    • Visual
    • Format
    • Content
    • Do they communicate how you want your company to be presented?
      • That your company is focused rather than a disparate collection of unrelated parts?
      • That your company is quality?
      • A consistent description, message, benefit or positioning?

Step Two: Make Some Phone Calls

Call headquarters and every function and division. You’ll need to do this step yourself. Be sure to keep notes about every call. When we did something similar for Career Education Corporation, we were surprised at what we heard.

  • Was it easy and quick to reach the right person?
  • Did they communicate anything in addition to the company or person’s name?
  • What did they say when you ask them what their company does?
  • What was their attitude?
  • Were they consistent?

When you summarize the preceding two steps, you’ll know:

  • What your employees are telling their contacts about your company;
  • Whether there is a consistent message; and
  • A great deal about the company culture and employee attitude.

This can be done in about 60 minutes depending on the size of the company. If you find problems, then obviously a more extensive project is justified…but often these two steps are all you really need to make decisions.

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



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