research

Five Reasons to Consider a Communications Audit

Have your communications efforts stalled? Not seeing the results you expected? It may be time to consider a communications audit.

A communications audit is a systematic evaluation of your organization’s communications from both a strategic and practical standpoint. Here are five reasons a communications audit can help take your communications to the next level.

1. You haven’t done any research

Research results provide a framework for all communications, setting a baseline on where you are now and a road map for where you should be going. After the audit is completed and changes implemented, future research will shed light on what is working and where further changes are needed in communication efforts.

2. Making a difference

A communications audit provides clarity on which communications efforts make an impact. Where and how people get information is changing rapidly and varies by demographic group. Identifying the tools to use to reach target groups is an ongoing process.

3. You need an unbiased opinion

Your Discovery Session: The Ultimate First Date

We measure our worth by results. To get results, we build research-based plans, not whim-based ones. Our ideas are creative, vibrant and zesty, but always grounded in research. Style plus substance. Beauty and brains. We’ll never counsel you to execute tactics without the strategic intelligence to back them up.

The CFM Discovery Session doesn’t take place in a courtroom or involve a trail, but the session is a critical first step to becoming your partner and creating made-to-win strategies.

The session is primary research in the form of a mastermind meeting between your team and ours. We’ll learn all about your business, goals, resources, pressure points and past efforts. You live and breathe your brand everyday. The session allows us to dive in beside you to match our marketing PR expertise with your dreams and goals.

Our PR team develops a custom interview question set for your Discovery Session. Here’s a sample of some of the things we ask about.

Goals

What do you want your brand to do within the next six months, one year, five years? What’s the big idea, the vision, the raison d'etre?

Objectives

Objectives are measurables we track throughout our relationship to monitor program success. We discover objectives as we break down your goals. What do you need to achieve? Here are some examples:

  • To increase sales of our product by 30 percent in our local market

  • To engage new audiences in community decision-making

  • To attract 1,000 consumers to our summer event series

  • To build relationships with industry thought-leaders

Choosing the Winning Strategy

Marketing PR is all about attracting a target audience for a product, service or idea.Once upon a time marketing and public relations were seen as the opposite sides of two different coins. Now marketing PR is viewed as a smart combination of communications skills.

When mass media ruled, marketing was all about advertising. You could run an ad in the major local newspaper, a national magazine or TV network and be assured of a huge audience. But those days have vanished with the rise of the Internet.

It takes more nowadays than a clever ad to reach and captivate your target audience. In fact, the key is finding your target audience.

That's where the discipline of marketing is important. Marketers use research techniques to identify and confirm their prime audience, so messages and promotions can be tailored for them.

The Marriage of Marketing and PR

Marketing and public relations are not strangers. They are essential parts of effective, integrated campaigns.A recent blog charted the differences between marketing and public relations. With all deference, the two have merged in a marriage of strengths. Whatever differences exist are mainly matters of tactics.

The marketing mindset is distinguished by

  • Strong reliance on research;
  • Targeting a specific audience;
  • Shaping information for that audience; and
  • Delivering the information in familiar channels for that audience.

Key Messages in a Bottle

CFM helps the electrician’s union hoist its centennial celebration key messages by putting them on the side of a special-label bottle of beer.You can find wisdom in a lot of places, but usually not on a beer bottle. However, for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48, Old Voltage Meter is a perfectly appropriate place to look for secrets to the union's century of success.

This month Old Voltage Meter Ale rolls out to Local 48 members. The bottle carries a message that reminds union members of Local 48’s accomplishments.

“Brothers and Sisters:

Savor the taste of 100 years of history making. Since 1913, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 has:

  • Achieved many advancements within the electrical industry;
  • Won respect as a national model for labor-management relations;
  • Gained national recognition for innovation and leadership; and
  • Played a key role in making regional growth possible.

The foundation of a prosperous Northwest is built on the labors of Local 48’s members as they’ve led the industry through the dark days of two world wars and on to meeting today’s technology challenges and opportunities for the 21St Century.”

Warming up to Cold Calls

We can be hostile toward receiving them, and anxious about making them, yet cold calls are necessary.

Need to follow-up with journalists you haven’t developed relationships with yet? Recruit people to participate in a research project? Make contact with dream clients and partners? As a communicator, having highly effective phone communication skills is essential and highly useful.

When I started working in communications, I was tasked with calling more than 70 journalists to follow-up on media pitches. The project seemed daunting, especially after I placed my first handful and experienced less than pleasant receptions from busy news personnel. Since then, I’ve worked on many projects involving cold calling, and yes, I now even enjoy it.

Here are a few tips to help you or a businessperson you know warm up to cold calls:

Getting Started in Social Media? Listen Before You Leap

Start with research before taking the plunge into social media. Both Facebook and Twitter are littered with companies that decided to jump directly into social media. However, months later, their profiles have only a handful of fans and followers, most of whom are friends and family, and the conversation is completely one-sided.

This could have been prevented. Careful research before getting started in social media can help set realistic expectations. Here are three steps to take before taking the social media leap.