It all starts with the ‘WHY’

It’s a ridiculous concept to say that any form of comms or engagement for an internal or external audience costs money. It’s equally ridiculous to say that we don’t know what the return is on the communication solution we adopt.

When the decision is made, for example, not to run a company conference for budgeting reasons, what’s the real cost of not doing this event? Is it a real cost saving or a monumental loss to the organisation?

Of course, if the conference was ill-planned, had little relevant content, purpose, or outcome, then you can understand why the event shouldn’t happen. However, if the conference had purpose, clear objectives, outcome and a defined ROI (Return on Investment) it would be total madness not to invest in the event, which should be designed to make a sizeable difference and return for the organisation.

When planning, we need to see our comms in the form of a revenue creator rather than as a cost to the organisation; in the same way as we see the treatment of our products and services we sell. If we are going to invest massively in a sales conference, what will be the return – 5-fold, 10-fold, 100-fold? If we don’t know, then we shouldn’t be spending the money in the first place.

Just like any product or service we sell, our comms whether internal or external needs to return an income to the organisation. Rarely do I see this spelled out in a creative brief, instead, I see a bland and ineffectual list of objectives you could apply to pretty much any solution. I can’t be seen to put everyone in the same box, not everyone does this.

An ROI target needs to be set in the advance of any solution happening. We need to have clearly defined measurable benchmarks and objectives before we even look at the solution.

A brief for an event, a video or an online solution needs to focus on the outcome, the impact, and long-term effects of the comms solution and the biggest question we should continually ask ourselves is ‘WHY”. Why are we doing this comms? Are we doing it for the right reasons? What’s the “Profit” and “Loss” in doing it?


Dale Parmenter – Group CEO at drp

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