How communication engagement alleviates challenges
Every business comes across commercial or internal operational challenges from time to time. But the businesses that are underpinned by a strong marketing and communications framework experience these challenges less frequently, and glide through issues more easily.
Regular updates that go out to all stakeholders keep people informed and knowledgeable about the business. It helps them understand a company’s values and messages. Communicating with stakeholders regularly creates a feeling of both momentum and stability, simultaneously strengthening the culture and the brand.
It’s just as important to apply the principles of good communication and marketing to internal audiences as it is to external ones. Employees can champion a business just as much as influential partners, so keeping a consistent approach to communication is key. Dan Swift from Empire Selling (Forbes) says: “Treat employees like investors, providing consistent and thoughtful communication with a holistic lens that helps them understand the bigger picture.”
From ensuring the marketing team is centrally involved across different aspects of the business, to embedding two-way communication within a company, here’s a closer look at the key pillars of effective communication engagement.
Pillar 1: Get marketing more centrally involved
When we start working with new clients, we often find that marketing teams could be more centrally involved across the business. Ensure you build strong relationships between marketing and sales, product, accounts and HR teams, to bring a positive focus onto the performance of each department, and to identify the needs and priorities.
Make marketing a key point of contact across all teams, to ensure relevant information from across the business is surfaced, whether its sales performance information to feed into new product development, or internal marketing to improve staff retention. According to research by McKinsey, businesses that have created an 'agile marketing' model – that makes marketing colleagues more present across the company –- have experienced a revenue uplift of 20-40%.
Pillar 2: Tailor communication to audiences
Tailor and customise communications to specific audiences and stakeholders, to ensure that it's always relevant, read and understood. Take the time to craft communications with specific audiences in mind - really take time to consider the reader. This means it is more likely to be digested and acted on in a positive way. For example, the messages and language used in a communication piece to a junior employee will be different to that of a big investor.
Pillar 3: Celebrate achievements
Create a sense of pride and direction for your business by communicating success and achievements. This helps make your business a conversation piece through employee discussion and networking, which spreads key messages. Celebrating positive news is important, but don’t be afraid to bring up the market challenges the company is going through too. You want your stakeholders to be - and feel - tangibly involved in collaborating to find solutions.
Pillar 4: Create clarity on the business direction
Be clear in your communications about the business direction and the product roadmap. This helps people understand what the company is looking to achieve, and tethers them to the vision. This makes all stakeholders feel part of your journey and enables them to contribute to it. On the flip side, when people don’t know what is happening within a company, or when they feel like what they know is hearsay rather than fact, it can leave them feeling detached from the business and less likely to engage.
In a Deloitte survey of C-level executives, more than two-thirds said that transparency in internal communications will have a critically important impact on their organisation's ability to realise its vision and mission.
Pillar 5: Listen – don’t just broadcast
Having a regular collection of communication methods tailored to specific audiences – including e-newsletters, blogs, social media posts, website updates – is the foundation of a strong marketing and communication framework. But you need to listen to your audiences, and not just broadcast all the time.
Ensure your communication engagement is two-way, and that all stakeholders have an opportunity to engage with you. Look towards webinars, workshops, all-hands meetings and focus groups as ways to encourage two-way engagement.
Pillar 6: Manage partners effectively
If your business relies on partners, make sure they are being managed effectively through a partnership manager. We’ve worked with clients who feel like they’re losing market share because their competitors are the preferred partners in the field.
You must maintain a high level of communication engagement specifically with partners, as this is critical to success and business profitability. Be agile in the communications you put together for partners too – being able to get key information to them quickly often leads to stronger relationships.
How well established are these pillars in your business? Haynes MarComs works with organisations to identify the current strengths and challenges, and craft bespoke communication engagement strategies to help achieve goals. Let’s have a chat to see how we could work together.