Auditing or peer reviewing PR Department structures and programs
Undertaking a regular independent one-off PR audit or peer review of a PR Department’s existing public relations structures and programs can help ensure the ongoing support of senior management to public relations.
I advocate an independent audit or peer review approach to Australian PR Directors or Managers regardless of whether an organisation handles all its public relations internally through its own PR Department, uses a PR agency or a combination of the two.
The reasons for undertaking an audit of your existing PR objectives and programs include:
• If you are finding it hard to keep the support of the CEO and other internal managers for PR.
• If you are new in the job and you’ve inherited someone else’s PR programs and activities.
• If the organisation has been undertaking the same PR activities for an extended period.
• If your business, or the environment in which you operate, has changed substantially.
• If you are determined to ‘shake things up’ and make PR more dynamic and aligned with the business.
• If you want to be sure that you are using your PR resources (both internal and PR agency) in the most effective manner.
• If you just want a peer review or another perspective to ensure that your public relations is on the right track.
The processes that might be followed in such an audit or peer review very much depend on individual circumstances.
One PR audit or peer review option is to undertake a very discreet and private exercise direct with the PR Director/Manager. An alternative is a more open and transparent approach involving the PR Department and other senior management.
Ideally you should aim to undertake such an audit well in advance of a new financial year so there is time to incorporate any changes into the new public relations plan and budget.
Undertaking a PR audit or peer review of this type typically involves three stages: – understanding the business environment and issues facing the company, analysing the current PR objectives and programs and their impact, making recommendations for continuance or modification.
Depending on the situation a fourth stage might involve working collaboratively to develop new initiatives and helping ‘sell in’ the new approach to senior management.
A basic audit should be capable of being done within 15-20 working days from obtaining a full brief.
While the PR Director or PR Manager will typically undertake their own review of public relations objectives and programs annually it provides extra comfort or peace of mind to have an external audit or peer review done from time-to-time – ideally every 2/3 years. It is simply good business practice.
If you wish to have a no obligation chat about your issues, challenges or vision please contact me.