Submitted by: denise cox on Mon, 27/05/2013 - 17:46
Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Newsweaver’s CEO, recently spoke at the European Technology Summit 2013. In his presentation he highlighted the importance of using social networks not only for external communications, but within the organisation for corporate communications as well.
Before laying out the value of folding social networks into an internal multi-channel corporate communications approach, Andrew took attendees through the main challenge facing organisations in trying to effectively engage with employees. The growing proliferation of channels in which to contact them. It’s essential that the organisation doesn’t drop existing technology, or favour one – and push everything through one channel. Instead they need to first understand what they want to communicate, before they decide the channel for the message.
“Corporate communications teams need to join the dots between strategy, behaviours and technology, to improve the flow and quality of communication and collaboration.”
Andrew showed how integration looks (below) when the internal communications team puts themselves at the centre and use technology to orchestrate an effective flow of information and collaboration.
The three: The intranet, the backbone for most organisations as a central repository for information used by employees and the organisation. Social, which gives a voice to employees and is where collaboration and feedback happen. And email, the infrastructure such as Outlook and Lotus within the organisation for pushing corporate communications messaging.
Here are a few scenario-based examples of how our customers use Newsweaver to direct, push and control the flow of corporate communication channels within their organisation:
- “We have invested heavily in an Intranet, and want to leverage its value to employees”- A communication can be pushed out to the employee’s inbox, directing them to the intranet.
- “We need to ensure that every employee has received an important corporate communication” - Pushing out this communication to every employee’s inbox, and using the metrics available to ensure the message has been received.
- “We want to start a conversation around a company objective” - Employees could see this conversation on social networks, but to really power it, email pushs notification of the conversation, and pulls employees directly to the conversation to begin collaborating.
With this trinity of channels in place, communicators should be well positioned to create and deliver results and go a long way in fulfilling their corporate communications objectives.
Submitted by: denise cox on Tue, 21/05/2013 - 10:54
A meme is an idea or image that captures people’s attention and gets shared around the internet. There’s one going around right now that involves describing ’what people think I do’… It has been adopted for a variety of interests and business … This Email Marketing one caught my eye – of course – and made me smile. Though I was not surprised to see the word spam appear in ‘what society thinks I do’…
So with this accusation of spam in the back of my mind, I was talking to the marketing team here about ideas for blog posts. I asked for a list of popular search terms to spark my creative juices. I was amazed to learn that the most-searched word per month is the term bulk email. As a longtime practioner of email marketing, with a firm foot in the best practice camp, the phrase ‘bulk email’ means the same as spammer to me!
Marketers should strive to go from bulk email (or broadcast email) – to personalised …
The term ‘bulk folder’ is a reference to the folder many email clients send messages that appear to be from spammers or contain spam. (Check out the email experience council’s glossary). The phrase ‘bulk email’ is a perfectly legitimate method marketers use to describe the sending of broadcast emails – the same email to all on the subscriber list. It’s how many marketers communicate with customers and prospects.
To readers who may be looking for a solution for their email marketing campaigns, I’d like to remind you about email’s amazing ability to be personal. This is the direction you should strive for in your email marketing. The fact that you are communicating with your customers and prospects puts you far ahead of many of your peers, but the next step in accelerating your results is to reach beyond bulk or batch – and review your data to find where you can personalise. I recently covered easy personalistion tips in the business of email newsletter.
Submitted by: denise cox on Wed, 24/04/2013 - 15:57
I listened in to Neil Atkinson, Director, Global Corporate Digital Channels, for Unilever, speaking at the recent Melcrum Digital Communication Summit in London. His session, ‘Connecting employees to the heart of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan’ provided fantastic insight into a behavioural change management strategy to put sustainability in the spotlight across the entire organisation – the way employees work, the value chain and even the way consumers use Unilever brands.
Here are a few points that I took away from this very informative session …
- Align internal/external - A significant part of an IC strategy in today’s digital world should be aligning internal communications with external. Unilever did this by creating integrated campaigns that targeted both internal and external stakeholders to share the progress the business was making, generate solutions and invite interested parties to help shape Unilever’s plans. One tactic used was to create a 24-hour ‘web jam’ forum with a variety of live events, discussion and online participation that was open to both external and internal participants.
- Focus on content first, channel second – Focus first on the content – what content is needed for the messaging? How does it need to be localised or segmented to the audiences that will be receiving it? THEN look at what is the right channel to communicate the message. When generating content, Neil noted the ‘three Ps’ that interest employees: People (what are others doing?), Product (for example, here, how are they sustainable)? and Participation (how can I participate?).
- Create a user journey overview: Plan the entire user journey across all the channels you will be using to communicate so you can ensure consistent messaging is going out. Ensure local teams get the help they need to minimise the effort to implement the content. This can include supplying localised by language.
- Employee generated content is powerful - User generated content is VERY engaging. Especially in the form of storytelling, which we as humans respond to and helps us understand the message. Unilever opened up two-way channels to give employees many ways to tell their stories. Everyone was invited to submit ‘sustainability heroes’ in their workplace, participate in local events – and post their photos from the day. Plus, existing channels were ‘socialised’ – such as adding forum chat into Sharepoint.
Here’s an example of how Unilever created storytelling videos around identified sustainability Heroes within the organisation:
Submitted by: denise cox on Thu, 18/04/2013 - 11:34
Did you know … marketers who use email personalisation
- Achieved up to a 57% higher rate of conversion*
- Achieved up to a 30% increase in opens*
- Achieved up to a 50% increase in clicks*
Do I have your attention? It’s clear, personalising your emails is powerful – yet, one of the biggest challenges I hear from marketers (and in surveys) is ‘lack of data’ prevents them from implementing any personalisation.
Get creative with what you’ve got
No matter how little data you have, I believe you can get creative with your email personalisation. For example, if you have access to the 1) name of your subscriber and/or 2) business information such as who their account manager is and/or 3) where the subscriber is located , you can achieve simple email personalisation and increase the relevance of your emails.
Here are five no-excuse ideas for you:
1. From Field
Biggest influencer, right here: who the email is how subscribers decide whether to open or not. In today’s inbox it’s all about instant recognition. And if the communication comes from someone they have a relationship with, or recognise, that will incentivise an open. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Think about what will connect with each reader: Will it be your company, an individual, the brand or a combination of these three? (Example of Business of Email from field – which is personalised by the recipient’s Account Manager in the from field)
2. Subject line
This is highly valuable real estate. You should treat it as a small advertisement for what can be found in your email. Use it to let them know what they’ll find inside the email. A subject line can be personalised by offers, a reader’s name, company name, time-sensitve offers – to mention just a few. (Here’s an example of subject lines personalised by business sector)
Probably the most used element to add a personal touch to an email – greeting the reader by title, first name or last name. It is essential that your data is accurate! And don’t forget to create a default salutation, such as Dear Customer or Dear Reader. (Example from the Dublin Chamber addressing subscribers by first name)
4. Welcome message
A personalised welcome message is a nice way to acknowledge the relationship. It could be an opening letter – or a short editor’s note. Highlight articles or features in the email to entice the subscriber to ‘read more’. It could be as simple as mentioning specific content within the text, or a personalised sign off to the message. (Here’s an example of how Dorman personalises a flyer to their subscribers by inserting a short message at the top reminding the recipient what event they were at when they met a Dorman representative.)
5. Contact points
This can make the email quite useful to your readers – they’ll often archive such emails. Move beyond a one-size-fits-all contact point. Personalise based on customer versus prospect or geographic location. Elements in the contact points can include their name, title, picture, email and phone. (Here’s an example of a newsletter featuring Business Development Manager’s names, titles, photo, contact points and sign off.)
Submitted by: denise cox on Mon, 15/04/2013 - 12:39
I was looking over the latest Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list recently, it’s immediately apparent to me that the most profitable companies in the world are also the best companies to work for. But is this profitability a product of employee engagement?
It appears so, as these same profitable companies – according to findings in a recent Towers Watson Report – are more effective at employee engagement. In fact, they are 2.5 times as likely to outperform their peers on the balance sheet compared to companies that are not highly effective in this area.
Google employees can enjoy a range of perks such as subsidised massages, free on-site haircuts and dry cleaning and a giant German automaker is renowned for pioneering education and promoting-from-within, while Deloitte enables select employees to take a sabbatical from their position to work at a non-profit with full benefits and 40% of their pay.
These are ‘headline’ initiatives, but are among a host of factors that contribute to a highly engaged workforce, with arguably the most important being the positive contribution that effective internal communications has within an organization. For companies effective in this route to employee engagement, they are 1.7 times more likely to outperform ineffective peers according to the same Towers Watson study.
With these facts in hand, it’s easy to see why the internal communications department is increasingly seen as a vital contributor to the company’s bottom line. But they need to be more than just an internal PR function that pushes communications from top down through the organization. Communication by its nature is two-way. Enabling the ‘voice’ of the employee has contributed to the success of the companies mentioned above – driving innovation, internal brand advocacy and lower than average employee attrition rates.
The first step in improving employee engagement is to understand where it is now in relation to a known standard. These standards should be used as a yardstick to gauge success. Also needed is some way of measuring employee engagement in a meaningful and comparable way. Without measurement, and benchmarks, internal communicators are shooting at moving targets in the dark.
Then by implementing the right communications tools, and collecting the right kind of data, a clear picture of communication performance emerges. Identifying the areas where improvement is needed, and having the information at hand to make informed, strategic decisions will make communications to employees more effective, impactful and engaging.
Newsweaver has recently published a whitepaper entitled ‘Delivering Effective Internal Communications’. Download your copy here.
Submitted by: denise cox on Tue, 09/04/2013 - 11:04
This cartoon made me smile – and grimace – because it shows how much IC has changed. The role of internal communications once was simply pushing a message top-down through an organisation – and assuming it had been understood, no matter who (or what type) leader was sending it. Today, the leader – ranging from senior management to team managers – is responsible for ensuring they have effectively communicated to either their entire workforce, business unit or team. Poorly communicated information hinders employee engagement. It’s almost worse than not communicating at all!
To prevent any barriers in effective communications, Internal Communicators must now ensure structures are in place that enable consistency of the message sent to a distributed workforce spanning business units, skill levels, languages, regions and cultures. The modern IC professional enables and empowers organisational leaders to communicate effectively – whether it’s good or bad news.
Here are seven essential elements that Internal Communicatons professionals need to review as part of fostering effective leader internal communications.
- Have a clear vision, strategy and goals This almost goes without saying, but let’s say it. If you can’t explain your own internal communications strategy simply and effectively to others – you are part of the problem. You need to be able to communicate with and engage your lead communicators so they in turn have a clear understanding of the company direction and goals and can effectively communicate it to others in the organisation.
- Understand the value of good internal communications skills A recent Towers Watson report found that most employees don’t think senior managers communicate openly and honestly; and an employee’s most trusted source of information is their line manager. Some of this may come down to corporate culture, but much of it stems from poor communications. And, just because someone is in a senior position, or communicates regularly with a team, doesn’t automatically mean they are effective communicators! Managers must be able to explain, update, simplify, guide, support, listen, empower, develop and inspire.
- Have a place at the top table IC professionals should be striving to move from simply pushing out information to strategic partnership with stakeholders. Having this relationship with the decision-makers allows the IC team to get the buy-in and trust they need to both implement a communication strategy, and roll out a plan to identify and work with leaders to enhance their communication skills.
- Align leader and audience with message – The ’8 types of leader’ listed in the cartoon nicely shows how everyone has different styles of communicating. That’s part of what makes a leader unique, however it doesn’t work if they can’t speak clearly, are off-message or don’t craft the message to suit their audience. IC teams should work with leaders to tailor a specific communication or campaign to the communicator’s style AND think about who the audience is.
- Create informed conversations - Using social business tools can be very effective in this context. Opening up an informed conversation between the senior management and employees can foster extremely engaged conversations that enhances the understanding of the communication. By opening up a two-way communication channel you will also create ‘our door is open’ feeling – which leads to true understanding of the information being imparted.
- Measure, identify and align – Use measurement tools available to you to create a crow’s nest view to measure engagement across the organisation; department by department, by region, by country – and by leader. Creating a leader profile will help you spot engagement and internal communications issues at that level, which can be taken to the face-to-face level with individuals.
- Share results with stakeholders – This allows you as an Internal communications professional to be in an advisory position, you’ll be able to share measurement of engagement, and where the blockers are. Not only this essential to ensure you have a place at the table and are able to help shape the IC strategy.
We have recently published a whitepaper entitled ‘Delivering Effective Internal Communications’.
Submitted by: denise cox on Wed, 27/03/2013 - 11:49
“Tomorrow’s World in Today’s Inbox”
I recently spoke at the DMX event held in Dublin … It was a fantastic Digital Marketing Conference, and was fascinating to hear the Keynote speaker, Teddy Goff from the Obama re-election campaign, talk how email marketing played and essential role in fundraising for Obama’s re-election campaign (Most of the $690 million raised digitally was attributable to email!) Indeed, the important role email marketing programs play in the marketing strategies of most organisations was a recurring theme at the event.
I gave a talk there as well – “Tomorrow’s World in Today’s Inbox”. What do I mean by ‘tomorrow’? It’s based on how email marketing needs to respond to the digital world we now live in – an evolving and changing the way we engage with information and content. Probably the biggest impact is we now expect immediacy. We expect to be able to quickly scan information and decide what we want (and don’t want). We like to choose how we’re going to consume content – read it, listen to it or watch it. And, we want to be able to easily comment on what we’ve consumed – as well as share it with others.
How email marketing is like James Bond
To help illustrate my point I compared email marketing to James Bond. Like the early version of Bond, Sean Connery, email has been around for a long time – I call it the original social networking tool. Over the years, Bond has remained relevant, with a succession of Bonds that reflected what the audiences expected of their cool suave agent. With the advent of the Digital Age – the latest Bond was debuted, Daniel Craig. He’s still a Bond, but one of the edgiest, technically-savvy ones that ever appeared on the screen. And, bulk email marketing needs to be like the new Bond, evolve to be relevant and take advantage of all the technology available today.
Today’s inbox needs to take full advantage of the Digital Age
For your email marketing to be the Daniel Craig version of James Bond, it’s important to first understand how the Digital Age has impacted how people communicate. There is so much available information, we’ve evolved to scan and decide quickly how to manage information presented to us. This means emails should be designed to be appealing visually, and easy to scan.
In this new age of communication, we’ve also come to expect a two-way channel, to ‘like’, to rate – and comment. Email should take advantage of the technology now available to offer these types of two-way communications facilities to subscribers. A third area that has been hugely impacted by the digital age is the wide choice of how content is consumed. We read content, of course, but we also really want to view videos, share videos, and images. Marketers must think beyond the written word – and offer rich media such as video and images.
Email is and remains a powerful communication channel. You probably already know that it’s immediate and measurable. But you may not realise how easy it is to bring tomorrow’s world into today’s inbox. Emails can deliver the same experience we expect to find everywhere in the world today – if you are using the right technology. They can be designed to be scannable, offer dynamic choice, include rich media and facilitate immediate two-way conversations.