The AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) wanted to optimize their communications to stakeholders. At the time, they were going through a consolidation/restructuring which impacted a wide range of publics.
They wanted to better communicate the value of this consolidation and reinforce the labs’ far-reaching value to the country and the research community at large. We were asked to apply a “commercial” approach and consult with the AFRL to improve their communications and message delivery systems.
Our task was to evaluate their print and electronic communications to identify what was working and what was not. We knew this could only be accomplished by creating an objective evaluation process that was repeatable and measurable.
We compiled a “best practices” matrix for both text and graphics then developed an objective rating system. Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, we found that the majority of AFRL’s communications were written to a PhD education level. It was difficult, if not impossible, for people with average educations to fully comprehend the messaging. We also observed a total lack of continuity and style.
Using our “Evaluation Matrix,” we demonstrated how a brochure rated at 22% effectiveness could be transformed to 97% effectiveness without adding cost to the project.
In addition we consulted at a command level on transition strategies to create “buy-in” alignment between the labs and recruit the support of internal change agents. Our recommendations led to staff changes that substantially reduced operational costs.
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