It’s rare that a PRSA national conference comes to our hometown, so when PRSA Connect announced its 2016 location in Dallas, I was in. (Not to mention, our awesome clients Topgolf and DFW Airport were presenting.) After nearly two days of presentations and networking, I’ll share a few key internal communications tools and learnings. Visual Storytelling – In nearly every presentation, video came up as a critical tool for communicating with employees. Video tells a story of emotion, passion, authenticity (see #4) – all of the components that 1,000 words never could.
Steve Handmaker, CMO of Assurance, said that 80 percent of communications traffic by 2018 will be video-based. 80 percent! If video isn’t part of your current communications strategy, it’s time to get moving. (If you didn't see Topgolf's sizzle reel - you HAVE to check it out.)
Supportive C-Suite – So many of the speakers pointed to the C-suite as a key to their communications successes. When a CEO backs an internal communications (or any) program, everyone else falls in line. Leadership sets the tone for all of your department heads, managers and front-line employees.
DFW Airport’s rebrand was led in totality by CEO Sean Donohue – from the new logo, to the color palette, to the music chosen for the brand introduction video.
Unique People – The most powerful tool every company has is its people. It’s a differentiator that no one else can replicate for your unique employee mix. There are fantastic stories to tell from the same people you walk the halls with, each lunch around, park next to. The key is to find those stories and share them with your employees, your customers and the world.
I loved Steve Crescenzo’s (of Crescenzo Communications) concept of a six-word story. (Here are some examples via HuffPo.) Ask your employees to share their “why” in six words. His results were powerful. When asked about working at her company, one employee wrote, “Needed a job. Found a home.” Few words, major impact.
Fearless Authenticity – Employees are smart, and they see right through any lick of pretentiousness. When you’re talking to your employees, be real. Be open. Be honest. Showing that you care will go a long way.
But don’t be careless with that authenticity. David Grossman made a great point: “Being respectfully authentic doesn’t give you license to be a jerk.” Share you – and your brand’s – true self in order to build trust with employees and deepen relationships with each other and with the company.
Want to see more of the conversation from PRSA Connect? Check out #PRSAconnect on Twitter. Have anything else to add? Let us know below!