There are different techniques for keeping an eye on what goes on at other places and analysing your own challenges. Here are just a few.
One of the better known and simpler methods of analysis is SWOT analysis, which can be useful in identifying your communication challenges. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, while opportunities and threats are external. A common method of visualising the results is in the form of a grid.
One way to perform a SWOT analysis can be in the form of a workshop where participants write down what they can think of in each area on post-it notes, which can then be put up, discussed, grouped and prioritised.
Scenario analysis can be useful in crisis communication and when planning for different future scenarios. The different scenarios have different levels of uncertainty and may require different types of strategies.
Trend analyses are useful for gaining insight into long-term changes in the world around us. It is a good idea to analyse one trend at a time. Which countries, people and sectors are affected? What speaks in favour of the trend and what speaks against it? How much uncertainty is there about the trend? What is the short- and long-term impact of the trend on your organisation? How many people are affected by it in the short and long term?
Read more about trend analysis in Statistics Sweden's statistics guide (in Swedish)
Are there existing analyses that you can utilise?
One way to conduct an environmental analysis is to find out whether analyses in the area you want to communicate about already exist, such as trend analyses. The University issues a report on student recruitment each year. Could there be analyses performed by interest groups or industry organisations? Kairos Future, Ungdomsbarometern and the Swedish Internet Foundation are examples of organisations that perform trend analyses relevant to the field of communication.
Trend monitoring performed at Umeå University (in Swedish)
Swedish Internet Foundation
Ungdomsbarometern (in Swedish)