Harmony in Motion: Key Insights from Forward 2023
— December 13th, 2023
We all strive to make a difference for our organizations—to help guide them in the right direction, and to move them all forward.
And that starts with understanding your target audience, what drives the people we need to reach, and how they want to be communicated to.
At Poppulo, we’re passionate about making communications more effective for our customers—and that’s why we’ve held the Forward conference for the last 9 years. At Forward 2023, we shared insights from peers and colleagues, offering insight into best practices, product innovation, this year’s communications trends, and our vision for the future. But we know that life is busy and not everyone was able to attend, so if you couldn’t make it, we’ve wrapped up the key takeaways in this article. Let’s dive in.
Best Practices & Advice From Our Customers
In our session titled Customer Experience and Transformation, two of our customer users—David Schmidt from KPMG and Anna Shapiro from Advocate Health—offered insight into how they’re using Poppulo, their communications strategies, and some key learnings they’ve realized along the journey.
Digital Signage at KPMG
The KPMG Lakehouse—KPMG’s state of the art training facility—has been using Poppulo since 2019 and now has over 200 digital signs. Today, they’ve dialed in their communications strategy, and have seen success communicating with visitors and employees. Here’s some of the advice David has to offer around how to best leverage the Poppulo platform:
- Don’t Do it All Yourself: Leverage permissions within Poppulo to grant access to other employees so they can manage their own content and signs.
- Use Surveys to Measure Engagement: Send out regular surveys to see what content is resonating with employees, whether employees are seeing the message on digital signage, and how you can improve.
- Governance: Ensure that you’re putting the right content in the right place for the right audience—for example, don’t put content directed at employees in places meant for external audiences, and vice versa.
Poppulo Email at Advocate Health
With 75,000 employees today—and that number growing to 150,000 with an upcoming merger—Anna leads a team responsible for communicating with a huge number of employees. When they first started looking at comms platforms, they knew a one-size-fits-all solution wouldn’t work as they have a diverse workforce split between nurses, doctors, fully remote employees, business professionals, corporate staff, and more.
Poppulo has enabled them to segment communications between the different audiences they care about. They have several newsletters going out to different staff groups, and today, they see an average open rate of 80% on all of their comms—significantly higher than the industry average of 54.4%.
Here are some of Anna’s top pieces of advice for Poppulo users:
- Develop a Relationship with Poppulo: Don’t just familiarize yourself with the platform—also familiarize yourself with your account manager, customer success rep, and other members of the Poppulo team to get the most value out of the solution.
- Use Templates: Take advantage of all of the options within templates to make them visually appealing and consistent with your brand.
- Harness Your People Data: Integrate Poppulo with your people data to segment your audience based on demographics, location, job roles, and more.
- Leverage Analytics: Analyze dashboards to regularly check on open rates, click rates, best and least performing content, and more to understand how you can improve.
Poppulo’s Approach to Operational Comms
Many internal communications professionals have a complicated relationship with operational comms, but they’re vital for employees to know. Whether it’s health and safety messaging, procedural updates, bad weather alerts, KPI updates, or any other critical piece of info, these comms are crucial for the company to run successfully, but it’s not always easy to get right. At Forward 2023, Andrew Hubbard, Poppulo’s Director of Communications and Engagement, shared his approach to operational comms.
- Build Your IC Network: Build, train, and maintain a cross-functional team of subject matter experts who should be involved in communications, and create a governance document that everyone can align themselves against.
- Meet Regularly: Meet with your IC network once a month to review a shared calendar, discuss plans, share ideas and feedback, and execute training on how to write and communicate, and what channels to use.
- Deliver Content by Themes, Not Teams: Don’t allow your communications to become siloed coming from a single team. Instead, create content by themes of information that help create an experience for colleagues.
- Share Progress Toward Specific Projects: Operational comms typically communicate progress towards strategic projects, which often span multiple departments are require several channels of communication to keep everyone up to date.
- Be Data Driven: Operational comms are data-driven, so simplify that data as much as possible to make it accessible and easy to understand for anyone in the organization.
Taking on operational communications doesn’t mean you have to shoulder the burden of more information sharing across the organization—it’s about professionalizing it. Giving people more templates, frameworks, and training in order to level up the way people deliver information across the business.
Reaching Unreachable Employees
More than 2.7 billion workers make up the deskless workforce—and for many manufacturing companies, communications resources like computers, mobile devices, and email aren’t always available for these employees. But there’s critical operational and safety information they need to know—and if they don’t get it, it will have a negative impact on the bottom line.
But digital signage is uniquely positioned to communicate to workers who are otherwise disconnected. Here are some of the top use cases for digital signage in manufacturing:
- Employee Engagement: Recognition, new hires, promotions, big wins, team highlights, job openings, wellness campaigns, and more.
- Disconnected Workers: Safety content, training requirements, process changes, schedules, announcements, EVP content, and more.
- Connected/Hybrid Workers: Company and team updates, location-specific content, job opportunities, peer recognitions, marketing or PR content, and more.
- Operational Metrics: Production goals, progress against goals, inventory and resource data, call center queues, sales metrics, and more.
For more information on how to better reach your hard-to-reach employees, check out our executive brief Breaking Barriers: Strategies to Engage Hard-to-Reach Employees.
Breaking Barriers: Strategies to Engage Hard-to-Reach Employees
Creating Harmony Through Great Comms Design
When most people think about communications, they think about the text or message they’re trying to communicate. But the design and the way you present the information is just as critical. In order to create a solid design foundation from which to build your comms strategy, there are three main areas to consider:
- Brand Alignment and Consistency: Make sure your brand is consistently represented with the approved brand color palette, appropriate logo, and accessible font. Display links and buttons in a web safe, consistent format. Ensure you have a strong contrast in color and lay out your content in a meaningful visual hierarchy.
- Know Your Audience: Consider how your employees prefer to consume content, where they are located, and what types of content will resonate the most (video, text, etc.) Consider whether they have a preferred channel for comms—like email, mobile, digital signage, or feeds—and whether they have an email client or operating system they prefer to use. Ensure that your communications are accessible via all of these formats.
- Design Best Practices: Ensure you’re following design best practices for each type of content, including:
- Include 8-12 articles in email content to promote engagement
- Embed videos to see click rates increase by up to 300%
- Include no more than 50 words on a non-interactive digital screen
- Keep in mind font size vs. screen distance and color contrast for optimal legibility
To learn more about design best practices for digital signage, check out our Universal Design Guide.
Universal Design Guide
Unlocking Revenue for Your Property
It’s been a difficult couple of years for the hospitality industry, as COVID has left a lasting effect on how hotels operate, ultimately affecting how they can drive revenue. But as a long-standing partner to the hospitality industry, Poppulo has worked with hotels and casinos of all sizes and brands to develop sales strategies and awareness campaigns to create revenue streams and increase sales on property. Here are some of the key strategies we’ve uncovered:
- Revenue Stream Development: Leverage your existing sales teams for meetings, events, and local partnerships. Offer packages with signage takeovers, ad regions, sponsorship recognition, etc. to increase sales and improve sponsor satisfaction.
- Local Partners: Partner with local restaurants and attractions to promote their goods and services on digital signage, increasing guest satisfaction and creating and additional revenue stream.
- On-Site Amenities: Leverage space on your digital signage to advertise on-property restaurants, stores, and other amenities based on availability, time of day, promotions, current events, and more.
To see these strategies in action, check out this video showcasing how Hilton San Francisco drives revenue with digital signage.
Our Vision for 2024
As you’ve probably learned, Poppulo brings together core communication channels like digital signage, email, and multichannel feeds along with powerful analytics to increase reach, enhance personalization, and improve outcomes.
But the world keeps changing—businesses continue to evolve and have new needs. And as technology evolves at a rapid pace, key trends are redefining customer and employee experiences.
We asked our customers what they want and need out of their comms platform, and we’re listening. To learn about some of the features that we’ve added to the platform this year, check out our blog on product highlights from the second half of 2023.
Attendees also got a look at some of the new features and functions we’ll be building in 2024. To learn more about what’s planned, reach out to us today, we’d love to talk you through it!