Chief Communication Officers benefit from my review, assessment or study reports in building a business case for the need to change. The change they propose could be to the PR/C department’s alignment to enterprise business strategy, to the department’s business model, to its organizational structure, to its capacity and allocation of resources, to its capabilities and services and/or to its performance and performance measurement.

Senior PR/Communication department Heads demand that I deliver evidence-based findings benchmarked against industry best practices and scholarly theory, draw solid and wise conclusions and draft well thought out and actionable recommendations, in the detailed reviews, assessments or studies they ask me to conduct.

My work is their launching pad.

What triggers their need to change? Many times, the PR/C Head/CCO is recently hired, running hard against an ever shortening honeymoon period, and wants a knowledgeable and objective appraisal from a third party of what she or he has inherited. Or, the PR/C Head may be facing a merger with another organization’s PR/C department, may be facing the arrival of a new CEO, may be facing the need to support an new structure and business strategy for their organization and/or may be facing the perception that their PR/C department is underperforming and not providing expected value.

With scores of PR/C department reviews, assessments or studies under my belt, probably many, many more than any other specialized reviewer, I bring in-the-trenches-experience coupled with subject matter expertise - both in my broad knowledge of industry best practices as well as my knowledge of the best scholarly research - to each new assignment.

Case Study: PR/C Department Review


Since members of the organization’s executive team held different views on what the PR/Communication department could or should do, the CCO felt the need to establish an accurate ‘baseline’ to enable future discussions. This baseline included an assessment of the department, comparison to like organizations, comparison to industry better practices and comparison to scholarly theories on excellence in PR/C department management.

Likely Communication Strategies was contracted to conduct this review exercise.


Likely Communication Strategies began by trying to understand the differing viewpoints and the history behind those viewpoints. In-depth interviews were conducted with board, management team and PR/C department management members. We triaged opinions on mandate, strategic direction, roles and responsibilities, service support quality, resource allocation and utilization and CCO leadership expectations.

Next, we assessed the management, service and operational capacities and capabilities of the department by reviewing documentation and different data streams, by conducting interviews and through observations.

We benchmarked with five like organizations, by comparing budget and capacity data, results data, organizational charts, job descriptions, mandate documents, and service provision documents and by comparing questionnaire responses.

We analyzed trends and professional practices, comparing the department to best practices and the PR/C management literature including to excellence theories and generic principles.

We developed a series of findings and ‘workshopped’ them with different stakeholder groups to ensure factual accuracy and a true reading of various perceptions. From this feedback, we developed a set of evidence-based conclusions and from them, doable recommendations, which we discussed in various meetings, as well as an implementation plan.


The report drove the creation of a common understanding amongst board, executive team and PR/C management members. Reality overtook perceptions and attitudes. The CCO had the needed ‘baseline’, in terms of the actual state of the department but also in terms of how the department stacked up to like departments and to industry and academic best practices. The organization used the report to create a change action plan, which the CCO was accountable to the CEO to deliver. By nine months later, the department was well on its way to becoming best in class for a department of its size and scope.


Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information.