Strategy – improve your performance
We help clients to assess and address a range of issues affecting their performance. Usually these are issues affecting reputation, communications, market positioning and differentiation – but we’re increasingly addressing a range of broader strategic issues that impact on direction (such as corporate strategy development, strategic reviews, restructuring, performance and effectiveness). Our consultants also serve as strategic coaches and senior team facilitators.
We’ve undertaken more than 50 reputational reviews for clients – to understand how they are currently perceived in their markets and among opinion leaders and to help create practical plans for addressing reputation gaps or weaknesses. Many clients now commission us to undertake perceptions research on an repeat basis in order to provide benchmarks and metrics as part of their overall performance measurement.
We help clients to examine their communications structures, roles, effectiveness and performance – often drawing on comparative insight from similar organisations or other ‘acclaimed’ models. Our expertise here includes research and development of detailed communications strategies, as well as advising in effective ways to deliver and measure the strategy. Where clients have strategic expertise in-house, we can help to provide coaching and advice to challenge and consider new approaches.
Taking time to assess the competition is essential for any organisation – and we help clients to undertake in-depth research of their competitors and comparators, often leading to differentiation and to repositioning strategies. We also undertake tactical competitor research – tracking, for example, annual media performance against a competitor set.
We help clients to review their internal communications structures, processes and practices – often leading to new methods of internal engagement and communications (especially in light of technology use). We’ve supported clients with staff communications and with better student and alumni communications.
We’ve devised and delivered lobbying campaigns for clients who want to access policy-makers and influence policy change – and we help clients to understand the structures and processes of policy decision-makers, often undertaking audits of policy contacts and relationships.
Public consultations and engagement
When organisations are planning new ventures that affect internal and external communities we help them to engage with their stakeholders, identify their concerns and modify schemes and plans. We’ve particularly worked on estates planning campaigns to help inform planning applications and the planning approvals process.
We help clients to build effective crisis communications plans – undertaking reviews of current processes and assessing best practice. For many clients we also offer an ongoing crisis communications ‘response’ service on a retainer basis. Our Director of Client Strategy has experience of on campus incidents as well as major (headline) disasters.
Mergers and acquisitions
We have worked with several education institutions and commercial providers to help them communicate internally and externally during mergers, acquisitions and partnerships. Clients here have included the merger of Henley Management School with the University of Reading, the merger of the Work Foundation with Lancaster University, the takeover of Kenexa by IBM, and a college merger with a university as part of the Area Review (of Further Education) in London.
Where clients want to gather feedback from their (existing and potential customers) or are planning the launch of new campuses, services or courses, we have helped them to undertake appropriate research that feeds into their planning and decision-making.
“As part of our efforts to make sure we continue to be a leading university for our communications approaches and practices, we asked Justin Shaw and his team at Communications Management to be part of our own communications review team. They were able to work with us as a trusted adviser in this review and to provide important evidence of competitors and relevant comparators. They looked at our digital communications, internal communications with staff and students, media and public affairs, and alumni relations. Their work has been important in identify continuing improvements.”Ian Rowley