change network

Choosing Communications for business change part 2

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How do you pick the right channel and get the best result from your communications?

There a great many communications channels available to most organisations – all with their own pros and cons. However, it’s easy to make your decisions on some pretty general statements, but when it comes to change programmes, there’s more to consider.

The first consideration has to be ‘what are we trying to achieve?’

They key here is not to get lost in the detail.  Focus on what the outcomes are and create a clear vision of the future.  For example, if there is  new technology on the way which will have a significant  impact on the way people, then mapping out the technology landscape will allow people to understand the context of the change. This could take the form of a narrative, interview with a key programme sponsor, or a rich picture.  Whatever you can conjure up to help people understand, you have to find the best way of doing this.

Are people being given face to face time?

Innovation and new digital technology is great but when it comes to change: face to face, real life presence works. From Town Halls, to roadshows, site visits and team meetings, face to face elevates the change above the everyday whirl wind of work and often gives people a chance to speak their mind.

Is this multi-purpose?

Your programme may have its own visual identity or brand to help differentiate it.  This often means you’ll need  to work together well with the internal communications teams.  You’ll need to get them on-side and ensure you have met internal brand guidelines.  You’ll also want your work be sustainable.  This means creating a series of templates and guidelines that are easily accessible and mean that you work can be visually portrayed online, via a number of different mediums.

Is it appropriate right now?

You’ll need to ensure that your efforts consider where the business is at in terms of its performance, mood and reputation.  For instance, you shouldn’t be recommending spending big money on a promotional video or website if there is a cost cutting initiative in place.  For instance, you may  consider creative high engagement value channels like rich pictures – a drawing which bring to life a story of change as people in the room are involved in telling it. In times of opportunity where creative ideas are needed this is a very worthwhile channel. If however the business is facing serious challenges especially in the public eye, anything fun and creative might be seen as inappropriate.

Can people put their own stamp on it?

We know that people often like to be involved in change, so it’s critical that opportunities are made available.  If people feel like they have helped shape the future of their organisation, then they are more willing to be ensure it is a success and encourage their colleagues to do likewise.  . It’s a worthwhile idea running user focus groups to cover key elements of your programme or to build a communications working group that can help gather feedback and assess the mood across the organisation.  They can also help shape your communications output too.  For instance, if people can amend, add to and co-create a rich picture, this is when the real value starts for change communications. People will only take change forward if they feel they’ve been part of it from the start.

Is it new?

Every programme needs to stand out. Of course it’s helpful to use selected tried and tested communications channels as part of the mix. However, if you also choose a new channel dedicated to your programme, for example a newsletter or a podcast, everyone knows it’s about your programme and you won’t have to compete with other communications when you use it.

There’s so much to consider to communicate about your programme effectively, such as the channels, company culture and sustainability.

Part three will cover, the final aspect – creativity.  Your campaign needs to stand out from the crowd, but how? 

Further reading: Part 1 Choosing creative communications