The global pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have dramatically changed the ways in which most businesses collaborate, creating new dynamics between organisations and their stakeholders in day-to-day interaction and engagement.  The pandemic is also resulting in a ‘relationship disconnect’ between many organisations, not least in the property and built environment sectors.

It may not seem immediately apparent because of the clear efficiencies of widespread remote working.  However, we are continuing to endure prolonged periods deprived of face-to-face contact with our clients, customers, communities and collaborators.

As a result, perceptions are shifting subtly across the disconnect; and businesses need to understand the implications of these shifts for their long-term relationships once there is a return to more frequent, in-person contact.   So, what happens when an organisation’s sense of its own values, expertise, purpose and strength, is in dissonance with the perceptions its stakeholders hold?

A perception audit is a way of understanding what your core audiences and wider stakeholder groups think about your organisation and what needs to change to strengthen that relationship.  It also provides you with an informed, direct understanding of your market position at a given point in time and in how it exists within its own competitor ecosystem.  It seeks to get under the skin of your strengths and weaknesses as well as highlighting opportunities – and obstacles – to future business success.  And it can identify and address underlying issues – sometimes not immediately apparent – before they have the potential to damage or even undermine established relationships.

Perception audits enable businesses to integrate complementary change communications and marketing programmes with their core business development activities. The findings of these audits can be used to:

  • Review organisational structure to support/justify change that can unlock your potential
  • Energise a leadership team to ensure you stand out in a competitive marketplace
  • Provide a benchmark for your current market standing, against your competitors
  • Support your business development drive identifying the opportunities to lean into
  • Gain a greater understanding of your stakeholders’ perception to inform brand recognition

Redwood adopts a considered, business-focused approach to carrying out perception audits.  We use our experience to draw out genuinely impactful and insightful trends, themes and focus areas, and make clear recommendations to inform not only internal/external comms, but also brand, marketing, and organisational shifts, growth areas, service and customer satisfaction issues.

Twelve months following the imposition of restrictions in the UK to manage the pandemic marks an appropriate watershed moment to review, retune or refocus your engagement with clients, collaborators and wider stakeholders and find out if they still perceive your organisation and their relationship with you in the same way as they did a year ago. Reality check ahead.