A successful internal messaging strategy must always include one thing: a compelling message. Even if disseminating the message is executed to perfection with each and every employee thoughtfully reflecting on the information they receive, the campaign will fizzle if the message doesn’t resonate—particularly if the campaign is aimed at change management or spreading new ideas.
Messaging that truly resonates will inherently unify the workforce, inspire action, and motivate employees by giving them something to rally around. To craft a compelling message, you will not only need to consider what you are saying, but how you deliver it. Below are 5 key components in crafting and delivering a message that sticks with your team:
The logical first step is to capture your employees’ attention. The best way to do that is to make it about them. We as consumers are becoming increasingly expectant of personalization: it’s your Netflix recommendations, Amazon recommendations, the ads and articles you’re served on Facebook, even personalized clothing recommendations shipped directly to your door with companies such as StitchFix. Internal marketing should follow suit. In crafting your message, be sure to personalize it and ensure it is relevant to your audience’s intrinsic motivators. This often means tailoring the message to target each cohort of employees. Remember that what motivates and excites an accountant may be vastly different from what motivates and excites a graphic designer. For example, you’ve decided to launch an employer branding campaign to increase employee engagement and loyalty. Let’s say your campaign focuses on how employees are able to innovate inside your company. Communicate what innovation means for each target audience and how they will personally experience this in their day-to-day work. Graphic designers innovate by developing a new creative concept to advertise a new-to-market product, whereas the accountant experiences innovation in leveraging leading-edge software to generate financial reports.
The best way to facilitate buy-in from employees is to show them solid proof. Root your message in truth and ensure it’s credible, or it will fall flat. Employer review sites like Glassdoor are aiming to increase employer transparency, and although employees don’t yet expect full transparency, they certainly appreciate when the data and rationale behind believing in what they’re asked to believe is disclosed. Let’s continue with the example of increasing employee engagement through an employer branding campaign touting innovation. If you’re going to leverage employees’ ability to innovate as a key message, it must be true. Employees will absolutely reject the campaign if a strict, slow process stifles and bottlenecks their efforts at every turn. If employees are truly able to innovate, it shouldn’t be hard to prove. Include proof points like the number of patents your company has, the speed at which your company releases new products, or even the cutting-edge technologies employees use to do their jobs.
If employees struggle to recall the message, it will never take off. It could be as simple as giving your initiative a clever name, creating a catchy tagline or assigning a unique hashtag. You could make a splash in how you announce your initiative. You could leverage highly visible, top performers who are admired throughout your organization to market your message for you. It will be even more memorable if you do all of those things! Consider throwing a company-wide launch party for your employer branding campaign, or create a video featuring real employees talking about how they innovate at your company and how much that means to them. Even hand out T-shirts featuring a #CleverHashtag for the campaign. Think big, fun, and/or bold.
Don’t leave your employees wondering, “Now what?” Ensure your campaign has clear next steps and follow-up items. Soliciting for employee-generated content is one of my favorite calls to action because it reinforces the aforementioned key components of a compelling message:
A great way to prompt for employer-generated content (EGC)? Ask employees to submit an elevator pitch for a big idea they have for the campaign. Select the best ideas and invite those employees to corporate headquarters to take an elevator ride with your CEO to pitch their big idea. Make a video of the winners and their elevator pitches with the CEO to foster additional excitement and engagement. That will certainly get people excited and involved!
Ensure your message is interwoven throughout each and every single communications touchpoint of the employment experience. While there’s no standard formula since every company communicates differently, your message should be distributed in ways employees expect: emails, intranet, town halls, and conference calls with their team. It can also be distributed in ways employees don’t expect: office supplies, laptop stickers, iPad cases—the possibilities are endless. As marketers, we’re often more attuned to the communiques we receive than those who don’t specialize in communications. To ensure you reach your busy employees, it’s worth repeating your message more times than you think you need to.
No matter the size of your campaign, or whether your campaign is trying to launch something as ambitious as an employer brand or as brief as a holiday food drive, each of these strategies can be applied to ensure you’re touting a compelling message and effectively delivering it in a compelling manner.
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