Corporate communication evaluation plays a vital role in corporate communications strategies, enabling communicators to assess the impact of their activities and improve their tactics. It involves identifying what works, what doesn’t, and how to enhance communication strategies.
Importance of corporate communication evaluation
Evaluation serves two primary purposes for strategic communicators. It allows companies to report on the results of their corporate communication plan. It also provides evidence of the value communication brings to the organizational mission and vision. Evaluation also offers valuable insights into corporate communications strategy, helping communicators enhance their skills, build stronger relationships with stakeholders and audiences, and inform decision-making for future communication actions.
Determining evaluation needs
Before choosing an evaluation model or method, it’s crucial to clearly define what needs to be evaluated. That’s based on well-defined communication objectives that follow the SMART framework: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Furthermore, align these goals with the overall company values and goals. For instance, communication objectives could include increasing brand awareness among target audiences. They can focus on influencing stakeholder behaviors or attitudes. They can also center on building trust in the brand and supporting new initiatives within the company.
There are several models available for evaluating corporate communication plans. One popular option is the input-output-outcome-impact model. This model keeps track of the inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impact of corporate communication strategies. This allows for the measurement of both effectiveness and efficiency. Another effective approach is the logic model, that’s used to visually illustrate the connection between inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impact, while also considering assumptions, risks, and external factors that might affect results. The balanced scorecard is another valuable model that evaluates the performance of corporate communications strategies from four different perspectives. Those include customer, financial, growth and learning, and internal. This helps align corporate communication plan goals with the company’s strategy as well as vision.
Integrating evaluation into corporate communication strategy
Corporate communication evaluation needs to be incorporated into the planning and application process as a cyclical and continuous practice. It’s important to evaluate communication at various stages of the communications cycle. Before implementing corporate communication frameworks, conduct formative evaluations. This way, companies can understand the preferences and needs of the stakeholders and target audiences. This information will help design effective communication strategies. During the intervention, conduct monitoring evaluations to track progress and make adjustments as necessary. Finally, measure the results of communication interventions and communicate the findings.
Corporate communications evaluation isn’t complete without effectively communicating the results to relevant stakeholders and audiences. This step allows for sharing challenges and successes, providing recommendations and feedback, demonstrating transparency, advocating for the value of communication, and motivating the corporate communications team. To effectively communicate evaluation results, identify key stakeholders and audiences. Then, tailor messages and content formats to their needs. Evaluators should use compelling and concise language. That means avoiding technical terms and jargon. They can employ creative communication methods such as videos, stories, dashboards, and infographics, to present the information. Highlight main recommendations and results, provide concrete examples, and encourage feedback by addressing concerns or questions.
Evaluators can create visually appealing and concise infographics that present key findings, statistics, and recommendations in an easily understandable format. There’s the option to develop interactive dashboards that allow stakeholders to explore evaluation results, displaying data in real-time and facilitating data-driven decision-making. With videos, evaluators can showcase the evaluation process, present key findings through interviews or testimonials, and highlight the value of communication in achieving organizational goals. With stories, evaluators can use storytelling techniques to narrate the journey of communication interventions, showcasing the impact and outcomes achieved. Lastly, evaluators can prepare executive summaries that provide a high-level overview of evaluation results, focusing on key takeaways and actionable recommendations.