Communications management is about understanding your market and stakeholders, developing and implementing strategies to engage with them so you improve relationships then maximise opportunities for growth. It is not tele-communications, so if you are thinking I am about to talk mobiles and landlines, you have come to the wrong place.
For the past few years I have had this conversation with people many times…you don’t try and fix and engine yourself, you call a mechanic. You know when you need legal work done, you call a lawyer. You must also use a professional communications manager or consultant for your communications and marketing. Like trying to fix the engine yourself or argue for yourself in court, you can do it, but the chances are you will be doing more harm than good!
So how can a communications consultant save you money?
Taking the time to understand your business or not-for-profit organisations objectives and relationships can make all the difference. Here is just one small example from my past. This particular organisation has multiple brands and locations. They require contracts to be completed by clients. These contracts are several pages long with multiple copies required of various pages and they are bound together in a coloured folder. You get the picture – this is not a cheap production.
Each location, let alone each brand, is only really watching out for themselves. Consequently they were in a situation where locations would place small orders for contracts based also on only spending a small amount at a time. There was no real absolute consistency in the contracts either.
By establishing a design template, creating consistency in the contracts and printing 12 months national supply by going to a single supplier where a longer term relationships had been established – I saved the organisation thousands of dollars. In addition it added considerable value to the relationship with the printer and the consistency throughout the organisation made it much easier to manage the contract processes. So the savings were not just direct, but indirect because through quality communications I worked together with management and a supplier to make a difference.
This was not just about central control. Don’t under estimate the value of the relationships. The communication process between management and suppliers is not an easy one, particularly as the spread of an organisation increases. There is a lot of localised self interest to overcome for starters.
I could list many more examples of how professional communications can save you money . This may seem simple and obvious, but from experience I know how often this one part of a professional communicators role goes missing. When you consider that much of the other part of a communications consultant role is about building your audience, surely it is not ecnomically sustainable to attempt this on your own. The risks are high, wether you operate a business or a not-for-profit organisation.