Over the past 15 years, my partner, Patsy Trubow, and I, designed and developed a Communication Effectiveness Study (CES) process that researches and evaluates how successfully an organization is communicating with the key constituencies whose understanding, support and advocacy is critical for that organization to be successful.
Our process involves researching and evaluating the messages that are sent, the messengers (or communication vehicles and modes) that are used, and the outcomes of those messages. The CES provides an analysis of:
- the flow of information (how messages are sent and received);
- the flow of influence (what means of communication are the most credible and trusted according to the receiving audience);
- and the connectivity, consistency and continuity resulting from the flow of messages between message shapers, message senders and message receivers.
Message Shapers, as we use the term, are usually members of the organization’s executive team, some board members and senior members of the communication units. They are the people who decide what messages best represent the vision, mission, values, activities, products and services of the organization.
Our CES process also studies Message Senders who are most often members of the communication units (Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising, etc.). They interpret, shape and decide on the messenger vehicles and modes to get the messages from the organization to its key constituencies.
Finally, we research and study Message Receivers. We use this term to reflect the key constituencies (target audiences) whose support for the organization and its products/services, or lack of support can appreciably affect its success or failure.
Our experience shows that the CES provides useful and useable information to the organization’s leadership on the credibility, efficiency and economy of their communication resources and products.
Peter Hollister, APR, Fellow PRSA, CPRC, principal and counsel, Hollister, Trubow, and Associates, has worked in the corporate sector as a vice president for three different universities as a consultant. He spent 33 years in military public affairs, retiring from the U.S. Army as a colonel.
Get the analysis you need to evaluation your messaging and public relations function with Peter Hollister at his pre-Conference seminar along with Patricia Trubow, APR, Fellow PRSA, CPRC, and Jay Rayburn, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, CPRC, The Communication Effectiveness Study — Testing Points of Connection, at the PRSA 2008 International Conference: The Point of Connection on Saturday, October 25, in Detroit, MI!
Also, join Hollister for his seminar Strategic Communication Planning and Action: Learn How to Set Priorities, Be Proactive and Improve Your Business Relationships on Friday, May 15,2009 in San Francisco, CA !
This system could be very useful. May I suggest there is one element you could add: a key under-recognized and under-utilized message sender is the design group in an organization, expecially the industrial/experience design group. These people concretely embody what a company stands for, but most organizational communicators focus only on the marketing potential of the group, not it’s messaging potential. Consider the powerful impact of the Apple design group and its VP of industrial design, Jonathan Ive!
Clearly design is an extremely important part of message. During my seminars I talk about brands which combine design, messages and other components. Your point is well taken.