From informing to engaging

There has been a significant move away from the old-fashioned, broadcast-style communications. Companies now recognise the need to engage with audiences in a more relatable way.

But with often limited resources, how can you optimise your existing channels and use brilliant creative and content to attract more attention and drive engagement?

Following our recent ‘Ask the guru’ events with CIPR Inside on the role of design and content in driving engaging and authentic communications, our Executive Creative Director Mark Litchfield shares a few tips and tricks…

Firstly, look around you

It’s rare that we choose the first thing on a menu without reading the rest of the options. We want to know what we could have.

The same logic applies when choosing how you will speak with your audience. Look at what else is out there and understand what your peers are doing – and, more importantly, how you can do it differently. You might be inspired.

Think inside out

Don’t necessarily think you need to create separate comms for internal and external audiences. Some of the best campaigns (Tesco’s ‘Every Little Helps’ still resonates) address both internal and external audiences in equally engaging ways.

It’s how you communicate to different audiences rather than what that counts.

Inform your staff

Your employees are your best brand ambassadors. If they don’t understand your story, there’s little chance anyone else will, so get them on board and your vision, values and culture will become theirs.

The numbers support this:

– Highly engaged businesses see a 20% increase in sales

– Productivity improves by 20–25% in organisations with ‘connected’ employees. (The McKinsey Global Institute)

– Teams with high employee engagement rates are 21% more productive. (Gallup)

– Engaged employees are 27% more likely to report ‘excellent’ performance. (Gallup)

Tell stories

We are all human, we care more when we connect with what we are reading. Be authentic; articulate your brand narrative. And make people want to read it.

Our Octapharma work demonstrates the power of getting this right.

Give people the tools they need

Building a central bank of assets can save time, help consistency and increase quality.

Our U+I Brand Hub demonstrates the long-term advantages of this upfront investment. We created a suite of brand documents and templates that can be accessed easily by time-poor staff.

Which nicely leads us on to my next point…

Drive it home

Believe in what you’ve created. Avoid the common tendency of internal comms teams to get bored with their own work, and then changing it needlessly.

Understand your audience and the information-saturated world they live in. By the time you’re bored with your message, your audience has probably only just noticed it.

Pick and mix

Be media neutral – choose a mix of channels, each for a different purpose. And don’t rely on people finding your story.

And finally, create that conversation

People want to feel connected. Today, communication is less about pushing content and more about dialogue. The best conversations are two way, not only allowing your audience to feel part of the story, but giving you the chance to measure your impact and tailor your content to create more refined, targeted and relatable communications.

So there you go. A few simple principles to help you create engaging campaigns more easily. But what did I miss? What are your challenges? Take part in our Twitter poll to let us know…


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