London, Stockholm, New York, Zurich – different cities, same IC challenges
On the back of our acclaimed IC Forum series in Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, Dallas, New York and Los Angeles, Poppulo rolled into Zurich on March 23.
It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with communicators from some of Switzerland’s – and the world’s – most recognizable companies.
The Poppulo Forum series gives senior communications executives the opportunity to hear from leading IC practitioners, who share their experiences and give practical best practice takeaways that can be applied by all who attend.
Over the last 12 months, while the cities have been different, the same challenges and the same truths exist for the internal communication profession.
Measurement in IC remains a black spot.
A recurring theme in Zurich was the importance of measuring IC effort in terms of demonstrating the value which the function adds to an organization.
Too often the IC function is seen as a tactical partner responsible for pressing the big red ‘send’ or ‘publish’ buttons without any great thought or expectation as to how communications land, are interpreted or are actioned.
It’s no longer good enough for internal communication to be a tick-the-box exercise. The onus is on IC professionals to drive this agenda forward and to be proactive in demonstrating the impact that internal campaigns have.
With quantifiable data, the IC professional is no longer just another person in a room with an opinion, but the person that holds all the trump cards, the person that demands to be listened to.
This is the route, and in some cases the adjustment, that IC teams need to take to get that seat at the top table where strategic decisions are made.
The power of storytelling
So how did Donald Trump win the US election? A hot topic for sure in the current news environment and this is something which our keynote speaker Terence Barry discussed in detail.
In simple terms, Terence discussed how communicating to the hearts of people as a means to motivate and drive action can be (and generally remains) a more compelling lever than communicating logic, facts, and figures.
You can watch one of Terence’s previous session’s at Poppulo’s Amsterdam IC Forum here in this blog.
The key learning for communicators needs not to be simply WHAT to communicate, but HOW to communicate in a compelling and engaging way.
There is so much communication happening in large organizations that very often it’s difficult for employees to discern the woods from the trees.
One sure way to ensure employees don’t engage with communications internally is to bombard them to the point of not caring.
Usually, it isn’t the IC team that is the root problem, more often it’s communication that comes from different pockets of the business which is not aligned with the overall communications plan.
Internal Communication teams need to take control of the communication flow by first identifying where communications come from and effectively coach the business to communicate in a more thoughtful and sustainable way.
Then equip the business with the tools that enable those teams to effectively create and target communication to the right employees and, critically, communicate at the right time.
After all our Poppulo Forums over the past year, what was most striking in Zurich was the universal nature of the challenges facing internal communications professionals everywhere, no matter where they are in the world.
But for us in Poppulo, this is encouraging as it provides added focus for the team to continue to develop technologies and capability to help the IC function progress to even greater and more effective heights.