Communicating is one of the most important aspects of an organization and yet, it is often the least efficient. Our job is to make communications operations — the communications supply chain — more productive and cost-efficient. We optimize both internal and external components of your communications supply chain.
When we began our communications analysis journey in 1977 most communications departments were identical. From Fortune 500 companies, to the United Nations and governments, all constructed communications fairly similarly. Even small companies, institutions and organizations used similar constructs, albeit on a lesser scale. Who did what was clear. How you produced communications output had little wiggle room. Whether you were preparing packaging, a publication, a television advertisement or a full fledged international campaign, the roles and methods were well defined.
Then came the digital revolution.
Personal computers, desktop publishing, offline video editing and, of course, the internet and mobile computing fueled a monumental reinvention and fragmentation of our profession. University programs followed suit creating a multitude of new communications trades. Countless small businesses cropped up filling a growing number of niches. It has gotten to the point that anyone can produce what was once reserved for the highly trained. Websites, newsletters, sophisticated imagery and even critical branding elements are within reach of anyone with a suite of creative applications and a sprinkle of creativity. “My son-in-law can do this easily” is now a commonly heard phrase. So too is “this shouldn’t take a minute to produce.” Also familiar is “we can print this for half the price in Bangladesh.”
In short, what was once a straightforward process is now multiple processes replete with countless opportunities for error and inefficiencies. Our studies show that some departments are operating at 50% efficiency meaning that they could produce the same output for 50% of the resources, both human and financial.
Experience has taught us that redundancy, inefficient delegation, under-qualified outsourcing, burdensome tender practices, runaway equipment upgrades, below par work environments and a multitude of other misinformed decisions are habitual culprits. We also find endless strategic renewals caused by new hires who feel compelled to add their personal touch with insufficient understanding of context. Few departments are reinvented as often as a communications department.
Our list of potential parasite parameters is over 100 lines long, and we keep adding new ones. Our optimization recommendations will show that advertising, marketing, fundraising, behavior change campaigns, internal communications and motivation, media relations, advocacy, stakeholder relations… all these and others can be made more powerful with fewer — or better — means.
In their defense, communications departments, units, teams and suppliers are passionate; they want to succeed. Unfortunately, being the most affected by reorganization, new top management, last-minute outsourcing or budget cuts; their inefficiencies or errors are often not of their own doing.
Practical knowledge matters. Our team has extensive experience both inside and outside the organizational framework. Our analysts have headed very large communications departments in large organizations as well as heading their own large media and communications service companies. Some in our team have, instead, worked in smaller situations both in the private sector and on the ground with civil society organizations providing local assistance.
We achieve results by finding miscalculations in strategic planning, erroneous budgeting allocations, administrative overhead, human resource oddities, poor production choices and ergonomics. From large to small, the challenge is similar: find inefficiencies and replace them with opportunities.
In all cases, we follow a strict methodology thus ensuring transparency and substantive recommendations.
We offer private and public sector organizations the opportunity of revisiting how they construct their communications. The audit reveals errors and, as importantly, positive components of the communications supply chain. The optimization then provides recommendations on how to — as realistically as possible — refine or restructure procedures, policies, tools and people involved in generating public relations, marketing, advertising, online buzz, recruitment, staff motivation and all other organizational functions related to communications.