You wouldn’t go to the cinema for a live performance and you wouldn’t go to Silverstone to watch a horserace, so why get confused with your comms?
It seems like common sense, but it’s become all too frequent to see a message that’s perfect for print appearing online, or a simple online story masquerading as a video.
Why does it happen? All too often it can be because people, both communications teams and their clients, get seduced by the latest trend, sometimes at the expense of the message they are trying to get across.
You’re probably familiar with periods where ‘everyone wants a video’, ‘everything must go on a social platform’ or ‘we need an app’ but, while all these channels are brilliant options when chosen for the right reasons, for the wrong message or the wrong audience, they might not be the best use of your time and money. Exactly the same can be said of any channel, be it print, any type of digital communications, audio, face to face, the entire communications mix.
Print is not going to suit an audience that goes straight to social media for their news. Equally, creating a fantastic online magazine is great, but if 90% of your people work in shops with no internet access, your return on investment will be poor. Likewise, creating a 30 minute video that gets across all your key points with Hollywood-style production is perhaps not ideal if research shows your audience only have the appetite for two-minute clips.
So how do you avoid this pitfall? The first thing is to ensure you make individual decisions for individual messages. It’s very easy to go into auto pilot if a certain channel is in vogue, but one of our key responsibilities as communicators is to question every choice and recommend the most effective solution, taking into account budget and the outcomes required.
If you opt for video, what quality of video does the message suit? For instance, if it’s a charity story user-submitted content could do the job, but if it’s a major business announcement you’ll probably need higher production values.
All about the mix
Of course the likelihood is that a mix of channels is the way to go, for instance, a news announcement on the intranet and/or social platforms, followed up by more in depth context, be it via print, video, or online features.
The key thing we need to recognise is that every story needs to be treated on its own merits. One size does not fit all, so spending a little time up front to consider all the options will pay off not only in the effectiveness of your communication, but in the value you get from your budget.
“From a Sequel perspective, we work with clients to identify the best communications for the audience and the message. We don’t produce a mag or app just for the sake of it, or try to sell you a product that we know isn’t suitable for the audience. Instead, we aim to be a trusted partner that will help you deliver your messages in the right format and on the right channel.”
Sequel Managing Director Suzanne Peck
Though it’s all too easy to deliver the exact solution that someone asks for, we have a responsibility as communicators to offer better suited alternatives if available.
So, when we realised that a multi-events app was the perfect solution for Nationwide ahead of a major awards ceremony, we pushed for the idea and helped the comms team build a strong business case based on employee insights and the functionality of our product.
Though Nationwide – as an organisation – was concerned about the potential over use of apps, the IC team looked at what this particular app could add and saw it fulfilled the twin goals of being useful and cost effective.