Time for your company’s 10-step communications health check?

Busy executives know how important the annual medical check is, but when was the last time you gave your business a communications assessment?

The realities of social media, the 24/7 news cycle and consumer scrutiny, demands organisations to regularly review communications as a matter of course, just like a business would assess its strategy, financial performance and corporate governance.

Similarly to GPs undertaking a series of tests and procedures as part of a medical checkup, the same should be done for a business, after all, just as the heart pumps oxygen through our arteries, an organisation’s communications breathes life into its vision and strategic direction.

Each business is unique and faces its own set of opportunities and challenges, so no one communications assessment will be the same, however, there are some universal steps organisations can take to kickstart the process.

Does your organisational purpose align with your offering?
As Simon Sinek famously declared, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Revisiting your ‘why’ is key for building a powerful corporate narrative.

Does your organisational behaviour reflect your purpose?
Do your employees clearly understand the codes of behaviour expected of them, and is this regularly communicated?

Do your communications objectives link to organisational goals?
Rapid technological change means the goalposts are constantly moving. Communications strategies need to be revisited to reflect market changes and changes in business objectives.

Have you undertaken an issues audit and have a crisis preparedness plan in place?
Now more than ever, companies need to be prepared for a crisis. Have you considered how the different issues and risks facing your business could impact your organisation? Are plans in place to mitigate risks and manage communications to protect your company’s reputation in the event of a crisis?

Are you a trusted authority in your chosen field?
In the era of fake news, the accuracy of facts from credentialed experts have never been more important to ensure your thought leadership strategy meets the very high benchmark now expected by media and, most importantly, the general public.

Do you have a content strategy in place?
The fragmentation of how people are absorbing news is multi-faceted and covers multiple channels, so breaking through the noise to grab your audience’s attention is getting tougher to achieve. A content strategy is key for telling powerful stories that reach and resonate with your audience.

Do you know your audiences?
Identify and prioritise the audiences you need to reach this year to achieve your goals. Are these audiences the same as last year’s? Importantly, do you understand your audiences’ motives and how to reach and engage them?

Are your employees your advocates?
Employees can be your most powerful advocates, after all, no one knows your business like your people.

Do you have measurable targets in place to check how effectively your communications initiatives and campaigns are meeting your objectives?
Measuring outcomes and evaluating success is vital for learning and improving performance.  Identifying outcomes, as opposed to output, is essential for linking your communications strategy to direct business outcomes.

When was the last time you undertook media training?
The media landscape is constantly evolving; the 24/7 nature of today’s news cycle, and the high-pressure environment journalists are working in to create attention-grabbing headlines, means the rules of engagement has changed.  Media interview refresher training provides spokespeople with the knowledge and confidence to successfully navigate media interviews.