Looking Ahead to Communications in 2015
As we head into 2015, we wanted to give some additional context to what we see as a philosophical shift in how communications has changed and why it matters.
Know Who You Are
Communications about every type of company and industry is happening in real time. It has never been more important to invest the time in knowing who you are and what you stand for. The market is a crowded place no matter where you go or what you sell.
Mission statements and vision statements had become passé for a period. “How do these add value to the bottom line” was the question posed. “Our company makes this widget or provides this service” was the answer. But now people want to know your why.
Employees want meaning in their day, to work for something that matters. Consumers are craving authenticity and more importantly, they are demanding it.
While tempting to alter your brand message to go with a trend, people respect the willingness to be real, to be vulnerable. And they reward it with their loyalty and their business.
People Want To Be Inspired
Substantive content is a game changer. Minds follow hearts. Period. It really doesn’t matter what you are selling.
It’s super noisy out there. We are bombarded by millions of messages: ads that mean nothing, sales gimmicks that don’t deliver…all day long they come at us. But then you come across that one 20-second video short (you know the one I’m talking about). The one that makes you laugh or cry; the one that stops you dead in your tracks and makes you pay attention. There is NOTHING more valuable than connecting with your audience. This value cannot be quantified or monetized, but it’s real powerful when you have it and it’s becoming real painful if you don’t.
Invest in content that tells your story – videos, articles, graphics, compelling posts that you can share – that your employees will be proud to share.
As Seth Godin says, “We are a connection society.” Win the connection and you win the day.
Social Media Needs to Be SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
First there were phone calls to go with face-to-face meetings. Then there were faxes. Then came email and it didn’t replace anything (except faxes – who faxes?!). And now we have social media. It’s here to stay, too. And it’s the most powerful communication tool we have ever had.
See it as a supplement to what you are doing, the secret weapon for every crazy idea you ever had but couldn’t figure out how to execute, the lynchpin in your arsenal. Because that just scratches the surface of what is possible.
See social media and the costs to do it as an expense you must incur as part of doing business. Invest in experts and let them help guide your efforts. You would never question the cost of Outlook or your email host. Social media is a value-generating endeavor for your business. And value is something we are all after.
Integrate Communications Platforms
When people ask us what they should focus on, we tell them straight up – the integration of the message. It is critical that your content, press releases, emails and daily output on social media reinforce and support each other. There cannot be competing priorities.
In today’s barrage of messages, you will almost never land a customer from just an ad, an email, a media announcement or even a compelling piece of content. But you will most certainly land one with all of those vehicles working together like a well-oiled machine.
To do this, all your platforms need to be integrated into one overarching strategy with clearly defined objectives, audiences and measurable goals.
Your story has power. You have an audience waiting. Bring all your communication tools to bear and see what happens.
Push Communications Throughout Your Operation
More than 70 percent of online adults are on social media. This means your employees, your vendors, your current clients and the ever elusive next opportunity are all out there. And they are listening and engaging.
The most effective mouthpieces you have to get the word out are your employees. Don’t let the marketing department be the only group that pushes out messages externally. Arm your employees with the messages so they can advocate on your behalf. Be intentional about engaging them in the process. It matters. Be all in.
It’s about strategy. It’s about content. It’s about culture. Let’s do this, 2015!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. sail away from the safe harbor. catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. dream. discover." — Mark Twain