Communications specialist Chris Birdsall has developed a unique system which he believes could save millions of pounds for companies and organisations worldwide.
The multi-award winning communications consultant has created a “Communications Healthcheck” which is designed to prevent businesses, public sector bodies and voluntary organisations from wasting huge amounts of money by getting their communications wrong.
Chris, of St Michael’s Avenue Highworth said:”Good communications is all about getting the right messages to the right people in the right way, at the right time but in my 30 years as a journalist and communications professional I have seen literally millions of pounds squandered by ill conceived, poorly targeted, badly executed communications.
“For example, NHS organisations are legally bound to produce annual reports, which they do at great expense. Sadly, it is widely acknowledged that very few people read them. There are more than 400 NHS Trusts in the country so if they each spend an average of £5,000 on their report that is more than £2million of tax payers’ money being wasted on something very few people read.
“Wouldn’t it be better to fulfill the legal obligation of publishing accounts more cheaply and spend the rest of the money on improved patient information?
“Private sector companies can be every bit as wasteful. As a senior manager in the NHS I regularly received calls or (often expensive) mail shots from companies trying to sell me everything from advertising to lease cars. If they had done just a small amount of research they would have realised that hospitals only really advertise for staff or to announce public meetings and don’t run fleets of lease cars.
Companies and organisations all over the world are wasting alarming sums of money by failing to reach target audiences, by using the wrong communications tools, by not getting value for money from their suppliers, by giving out the wrong messages in the wrong way or at the wrong time.
“It is not just about money, there is also the issue of poor communications damaging reputation or alienating key audiences. For example setting up a help line and then not having enough people to answer the phone or having a website which is so complicated only the person who designed it can navigate their way around it.
“My health check is a unique package I have developed over the past six months which basically reviews the entire communications function of a company or organisation – looking at what works well, what could be improved and to see if there are any gaps which need to be filled. Its aim is to prevent the kind of expensive mistakes I have outlined whilst helping the organisation get the best value for money from its communications and protect its reputation.
“The Health Check looks at everything from the way the phone is answered to the contents and look of its website, from the way it communicates with its staff to the way it uses its corporate identity. From its media relations to the way it handles a crisis. It starts with the simple questions ‘what do you want to say and who do you want to say it to?’ and I then analyse whether those messages are reaching the intended audiences effectively.
“It is NOT designed to undermine existing communications teams, in fact the Healthcheck has been designed to work very much in collaboration with busy communications staff to help them to get the most out of the resources available to them.
“What I am offering is a different perspective, 30 years experience and guidance and advice on how to communicate most effectively and get best value for money. The aim is to leave my clients with a healthy communications strategy and a clear view for the future.
“I don’t pretend to know it all but I do know that throughout my career I have always valued the support and suggestions of experienced people who have helped me to do my job better. They always say you can’t buy experience but you CAN buy mine!
“In the next few weeks I will be contacting companies and organisations in the Swindon area and my hope is that by the end of 2010 I can look back and feel I have made a real difference to the people I have worked with.”