Those of you who do or purchase communications audits will find that this paper by Lou Williams and David Dozier includes plenty of background and some new research on just why people think audits are valuable. "Framing Communication Audits to Create Positive Outcomes for Organizations" was presented at the 13th annual International Public Relations Research Conference, March 10-23th, 2010, in Miami, Florida.
For this study Williams and Dozier polled 44 communications audit consultants to gain "...understanding of how recommendations that emanate from an audit are framed, communicated and linked to a. organizational acceptance and b. successful outcomes."
Here's a quote from their discussion:
[Respondents] clearly had very well developed and considered ideas about how an audit would help an organization succeed... Several respondents saw multiple benefits of an audit and listed them... It might not be an exaggeration to say that they have each had a drink of the Kool Aide, and they have invited their clients to drink, as well.