Red Brick Rhetoric Building Communication for Potential Client

2013-09-04T14:19:00Z 2013-09-04T14:27:06Z Red Brick Rhetoric Building Communication for Potential ClientContributed by Jasmin Zamora
September 04, 2013 2:19 pm  • 

HAMMOND | Red Brick Rhetoric, a not-for-profit firm developed by senior-level Purdue University Calumet students, is looking for a client to conduct a communication audit.

A communication audit is an assessment of a company’s internal and external communication. This audit will aid in opening up communication with the company’s employees, customers, shareholders and community.

Communication is monitored and researched by using methods such as focus groups, surveys, interviews and benchmarking reports. Ultimately, the communication audit will reveal how each target audience perceives the company by gathering the data evaluated in the processes.

The class, Problems in Public Relations, has been offering communication audit services for local and Chicagoland area clients since its inception in 1989. With the guidance of Professor Thomas J. Roach, who is now head of the communication department at PUC, and with examples of previous work, students have the tools necessary to perform the communication audit. Some of the past clients that have been a part of the experience include Dairy Queen, NIPSCO, B.P. Whiting Refinery, the city of Hammond, and Schepel Buick and more.

“Personally it reaffirmed the way we were perceived. It opened my eyes to misconceptions, I realized we weren’t communicating our mission and values,” said Tom VanProoyen, vice president of Schepel Buick GMC.

Red Brick Rhetoric provides the client with an audit book detailing recommendations on how to improve and facilitate communication within the organization and its publics. The recommendations help strengthen the company’s ability to adjust to changes in the environment and facilitate open, two-way communication. The class is offering services at a cost substantially lower than specialized professionals.

“The students were 100% professional. I was impressed with the level at which the students performed the audit and investigation,” said VanProoyen.

For the first time in 24 years, the firm is advised by PUC alumni and former Problems in PR student, Shawn Platt. Platt was born and raised in Hammond and graduated from PUC in 1997. One year after graduation, he served as vice president at the Lake County Convention and Tourism Bureau. Platt currently handles executive communication at Amway Corporation.

“The curriculum at Purdue University Calumet enables students to perform and analyze similar to tenured professionals. The class allows them to become consultants, as well as provide a great service to the community,” Platt said.

Organizations interested in a communication audit presented by Red Brick Rhetoric, call 219-218-9047 or email

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