At present, during the process of defining a corporate strategy that clearly embeds the organizational approach to create value, the central difficulty does not lie in the measurability of tangible assets which support it, but in the measurability of the intangibles ones: Knowledge Human Resources, the Institutional Image & Communication, Information Technology, the Potential for Innovation, etc., which has a potential value that is indirect and occurs in a particular context.
In this context, we present this brief introductory summary for the implementation of the Image and Communications Audit: this communicological tool enables the identification, analysis, evaluation and integrated programming of the different dimensions that make up the Institutional Image & Communication:
What the Organization "is": Self-image.
What the organization "says" about itself: Intentional image.
What its publics "believe" about it: Public Image.
Its main objective is to know the state of the Image & Communication resources of the concerned Organization through the analysis of its Communication Strategy and its impact on its various internal and external publics, to proceed to its optimization through the proposal of a group of policies and actions that should be put into practice.
Therefore, with the audit the needs and institutional aspirations regarding Image & Communication will be identified and the strengths and weaknesses within the Communicational Policy used so far will be analyzed for its optimization.
Whatever the size of the concerned Organization, every single category of the staff should be represented among the interviewed people. To do so, samples (a group chosen from a research population) play a key role so that their analysis will allow to extrapolate and generalize results. Sample must be representative because conclusions are drawn and the value of these conclusions drawn will depend on them.
The process in which the Image and Communications Audit is implemented comprises a first stage in which, in general, a Test-Audit or Pre-Test is done. This is a pre-Diagnostic tool consisting of a general questionnaire prepared with a member of the Board of the Organization, including questions that will provide information about the type of Organization, its Market Share, its Products and Services, its Human Resources Policy, its Institutional Image & Communications’ strategy, its Internal and External Communications’ Circuits and Systems, its Crisis Communication Strategy, among others.
In the preliminary phase of the audit, the person who is in charge of its implementation should define whether to carry out a partial or global audit, the documents that will be useful for the study, the list of people to be interviewed, the chosen methodology, a tentative schedule and budget. The methods of survey should be designed according to the type of desired results (expected to be obtained) in which elements such as anonymity of the answers, play a decisive role.
After the surveying phase, data and information obtained require Operational Validation for their processing and analysis, (tabulation, graphing and other forms of schematization) according to the methodology established by the researcher at the beginning of the study. In this context, the discussion and interpretation of the processed data and information will take place, considering the contrast of the starting hypothesis with alternative interpretations that emerged from the different surveys.
Partial assessments should be carried out at the end of each stage, sending the corresponding Progress and Final Reports to the members of the counterpart in the concerned Organization. The full final report will go to the Board. Its tone should be simple, understandable. The layout should present a clear hierarchy of headings and sections, together with graphs, charts and infographics to facilitate and allow various interpretations.
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