New Financial Year: Are you investing in your communication to fail? Take the CommDiv test
What an insane few weeks it’s been! I’ve just returned from the Measurement and Evaluation Conference in New York (there I am!) and we’re now in July. Of course, that can only mean one thing: a New Financial Year is here!
In recent times, I have been looked at a little strangely for expressing my enthusiasm about the New Financial Year. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not expecting you to go out and party like it’s 1999 (I’m thinking about New Year celebrations here) but there’s something exciting to me about a fresh start. July means a clean financial slate and while so many organisations are already looking ahead and preparing for the festive season, it’s important to review your last financial year. Particularly in relation to your Communication/PR department.
Now, if you’re a CEO and organisational decision maker who got a little stuck on that last sentence, hear me out. Chances are, when you think of the notion of reviewing the last financial year, your mind may automatically leap to your financials and sales targets and so on. You’d be surprised at how many people I’ve worked with, who confess they’ve never seen a metrics report from their Communication/PR department. Typically, measurement and evaluation are missing, with reports focusing instead on detailed descriptions of the success of the past month’s activities.
Have a think about some of the PR campaigns that have stuck in your mind recently. Off the top of my head, I can think of three very effective campaigns in particular:
- Metro Trains: Dumb Ways to Die – at the heart of this is a very serious issue around safety, however, by tapping into a catchy tune (it borders on annoying but it does its job in terms of sticking in your head) and cute animated characters, it achieves exactly what it’s meant to with the use of a little dark humour.
- Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty – soap: it’s not exactly the most exciting product to push to consumers but this clever campaign changes social perceptions in relation to beauty. Personally, I think it’s a real winner because every woman can relate to it.
- Apple: Get a Mac – Apple is notorious for its effective PR campaigns but this is the one that has probably etched itself in my mind most. “Are you a Mac or a PC?” The powerful Mac versus PC commercials have now led to people asking one another: so, are you a Mac or PC person? I don’t recall being asked this question before these advertisements hit the box.
Sure, I’ve picked some really standout examples here but what I’m going to share with you next would apply to smaller organisations and campaigns equally. It’s only through measurement and evaluation that Metro Trains, Dove or Apple would be able to determine the success of their campaign. There’s no doubt word of mouth is a great sign but each of these companies would have used SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives to track each campaign. With supporting Communication/PR activity, there’s a good chance audiences won’t embrace the campaign’s call to action so unless you’re measuring and evaluating various elements, you’ll never be able to adapt what you’re doing so that you’re constantly experimenting and gradually improving.
As I often mention, I’ve been working with CEOs, organisational decision makers and Communication/PR professionals for over three decades now. And in that time, I’ve seen a lot of money being thrown away by team members busily engaging in a host of activities that for whatever reason, just aren’t working with the target market. Consider this amazing statistic:
Each year in Australia, organisations invest almost half a billion dollars on their public relations activities.
Here’s my question to you: how much of this activity is delivering value and where is the proof? Sadly, I’ve seen so many companies investing in their Communication/PR activities with what can only be described as a scatter gun approach.
Now that we’ve hit the New Financial Year, CEOs and organisational decision makers have the opportunity to implement systems that will assist with cash flow, budgeting as well as margins and profit. When it comes to your Communication/PR departments, you won’t be able to assess the situation until you start measuring and evaluating its activity. The Communication Dividend is here to help by allowing Communication/PR professionals to measure and evaluate their work so that they can present regular reports to CEOs and organisational decision makers in a way that outlines the department’s strengths and weaknesses. While you may not jump for joy at the thought of hearing about a department’s weaknesses, you need to be informed as to what they are before any action can be taken. Otherwise, you’re merely repeating behaviour that isn’t beneficial to anyone.
You can learn more about The Communication Dividend here but for now, we encourage you to take what we’re calling the Communication Measurement Challenge. After answering 10 simple questions, you’ll know if your organisation is successfully aligning its Business Strategy with your Communication/PR Strategy. Take the quiz now!
If you’d like to get in touch with the team, simply contact us and you’ll hear back from us as soon as possible.
By Deb Camden