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2016

The Value of Information: a Barometer for Change

The release of this week’s Ottawa Chamber of Commerce’s second annual Ottawa Business Growth survey is an excellent example of how valuable information can be in helping determine organizational priorities.

By surveying their business members, the Chamber of Commerce is able to find out first-hand what issues matter most to them. This includes topics such as the current business confidence in the city; access to credit and market expectations; and which industry has the greatest potential for growth in the National Capital Region.

In addition to informing future priorities, information is also valuable for successful communications and marketing. It helps teams make informed decisions based on objective results rather than anecdotal evidence. A few key advantages of using information in your communications efforts include:

Learn what’s working and what’s not

Understanding how your communications efforts resonate inside and outside your organization is invaluable and can help teams improve the effectiveness of their activities. It can be achieved in many ways such as conducting a comprehensive survey (data collecting) with target audiences, or it can be as simple as counting website page views or Twitter followers. It can also be achieved through one-on-one interviews which gives you the opportunity to further engage with your audience.

Communicating change

Information is also important when managing and communicating change. It can be as simple as enacting a role-playing scenario and seeing how people react. Test your communications ideas out and see how people’s behavior changes as you are running a campaign. It provides valuable information and analytics that can better inform your communications strategies and priorities.

Advancing your competitive position

Knowing what your competitors are doing, and keeping up with trends in your industry, is all about staying on top of information. Listening to your target audience and trusting the information you gain from them is key. It is valuable “intelligence” that amounts to smart communications efforts. Subscribing to public opinion and marketing research services that use the latest survey technology tools can generate useful information and provide you with a powerful competitive advantage. The information gained helps you stay ahead of the curve and avoid common mistakes.

The importance of using information in your communications and marketing activities cannot be underestimated. There are many ways to collect information, and to get feedback. Think of information gathering as having more of a conversation. Change your approach and it will be rewarding. It will help you to be better informed and ultimately make better communications decisions.

Janet is an Ottawa based strategic and organizational communications specialist at the Hillbrooke Group. She has more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing communications and stakeholder strategies in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Janet can be reached at jweichelmckenzie@hillbrooke.ca