Adding Value for the Organization
Throughout my career, I experienced leadership bringing in outside consultants to do work I knew my team and I could have done just as well, if not better. The “outside” consultants for projects and business improvement were a constant source of frustration for me, and for years I couldn’t understand how leadership didn’t realize that we auditors had the same skills and could do the same work. We could easily go get a job at any of those firms! It was so evident to me that not only could we do the work, but our organizational knowledge meant we could often do it better and faster than external consultants. As a result, I was frequently insulted. Then unexpectedly, I learned what was really occurring. It was perception. The perception the executives had of Audit. I had an off-handed conversation with an executive regarding an ongoing project for which the organization was spending a small fortune on consultants. He was expressing frustration about their ability to complete something, and I informed him I already had that information; it was something we looked at regularly. He was stunned. This led to a conversation about what he knew and, shockingly, didn’t know about our capabilities as an audit team.
That conversation taught me that I was wrong to assume anyone understood our skill sets or abilities. We were viewed similar to an IT department. Often from the leadership’s perception, the IT department just “makes things happen,” but the executive team doesn’t fully understand “how” those things are happening or the skills required by the individuals to make them happen. Audit was apparently viewed similarly. We did “stuff” and submitted the final result and the plan of action for the business in a very brief two-page report. I was very proud that our reports were only two pages. But what I had failed to realize was that while I had succeeded in ensuring our clear, concise, and concrete two-page reports got read by the executives, I had completely eliminated all reference to the work performed or the skills needed to get those results. It was like we weren’t even a part of it. There wasn’t even a slight inference to the skills required to do the work. Or the work performed. I was assuming what we did and the skills required would be inherently understood. I was wrong. Very wrong. And we all know what happens when we “assume.”
Marketing Your Team’s Capabilities
There was zero chance I was going to revert back to a 20-page audit report that detailed our work. No one wants to read a 20-page report to get to the “so what.” I had to come up with another way to make our capabilities known to everyone. I turned to marketing approaches and found that there were easy and straightforward ways to implement branding and marketing into our audit process and our communication with clients and leadership that would ensure our skills were known and advertised. The approach had an additional benefit; it made what we were doing and why more transparent. This led to much better conversations with both audit clients and leadership and enabled us to frequently achieve genuine collaboration, resulting in better insights and improvements, and adding greater value to the organization.
This month’s free webinar is going to show marketing and branding techniques that will help audit teams showcase their skills, and better explain what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how they do it, naturally creating transparency. The session will focus on 4 key areas:
Story Brand ®
For innovation in audit, I often turn to ideas, concepts, books, and approaches from other industries. This talk will be no different. In addition to showcasing what I have learned and successful approaches I have implemented with my teams over the years, I will introduce some of the books and sources I have borrowed from for marketing and branding audit, including a marketing approach from the book Story Brand ®, by Donald Miller. This approach outlines a wonderful client forward marketing approach that helps business consultants better solve their client’s problems. Isn’t that what we do as auditors, solve problems? It’s a great approach and one that I believe can add great value in our work.
Come join us and learn how branding and marketing can benefit Audit!