Communication Audit – Strategic Analysis

Yesterday, I published a short article about some immediate tactical steps you can take to audit and improve your company communication.  Continuing with that theme, below are some additional questions you can ask when you have the opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture.

Did the company have a discernible goal with each communication?  Was that goal met?

Often the goal for a given communication is taken for granted, and this can contribute to missed opportunities and poor messaging.  Consider system generated emails, for instance.  Many companies use HTML formatted emails for communication when the emails are thought of as part of a marketing conversation with the consumer.  Confirmation emails sent after someone signs up, or when they change their password, are often given much less attention because they don’t seem like marketing materials.  They are, though.  Any kind of interaction you have with your customers is a marketing opportunity – and that is not to be confused with a sales opportunity.  It’s an opportunity to leave a good, neutral, or bad impression on customers.  Every communication should have a well defined goal, and may have more than one.  If you can’t name it, you may not need that communication – or, perhaps it just needs a real overhaul.

Do various types of writing portray the same voice?

Experiment and develop a conversational voice, then formally define that voice so others have a stylistic model to follow.  All writing has a voice, and particularly when multiple people are involved in writing materials for your company, you need to make it clear what that voice sounds like.  Writing with a playful voice won’t come naturally to everyone that might be involved in writing, though.  Defining that playful voice, even by going so far as to create a caricature of a virtual person, may help your team achieve more consistency.

Are there any kinds of communication that are missing?

Don’t simply review what you already have.  Stop and think about whether your materials answer the questions you think your customers might have.  Work with someone who knows nothing about your company or even about your industry, and ask them if any questions are left unanswered when they read your materials.  Dig into any support databases you have access to and look at what customers are asking about.  If you have customer service reps, talk to them.  They are an invaluable resource when it comes to understanding what your customers really want and need.

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