Strap yourself in, it’s going to get fast
If a week is a long time in politics, three years is an eternity in business. The speed of technological, social, political and economic change is rapid, and as is illustrated by global events such as Brexit, sometimes unpredictable. Decisions made by global leaders can impact whole industries with little notice and less consultation.
Traditional strategic plans for corporations are blueprints for development over a three- to five-year time frame. Let’s do a tiny experiment in time travel. If you got into a room with your colleagues at the start of 2013 to work on a three- to five-year strategy for your business, you did so making assumptions about the trends that would shape your markets, your access to labor, your competition.
Now, look around at the business environment. How many of those priorities, drivers and forces remain in place today? Disruption and seismic shifts are the new normal. The forces that require a strategic response today are, for many industries or sectors, already significantly different to what had been anticipated even three years ago.
How can communicators establish a strategic response to changing times?
- Become part of the planning team
- Treat strategy as a process, not a product
- No more set and forget
- Understand the relationship between strategy and bottom line
Organizations exist for a purpose, and for the majority, that purpose is financial return. The process of strategic planning provides direction for all parts of an organization to align to deliver on the purpose, through building capability, responding to external factors, mitigating issues and risks and focusing effort. The opportunity for communication is to contribute to the business outcome through the tools and capabilities of our profession.
This is an extract from my article for Communication World, Rethinking Strategic Communication for Changing Times – Communication World in the February edition of Communication World.
What lesson does Disney’s Frozen have for internal communicators?
In the lead up to the IABC World Conference, this came up in the conversation with Natasha Nicholson, Executive Editor of IABC’s CW Magazine about how transmedia storytelling is changing the game for internal communication.
We discuss the difference between stories and story worlds, seeing the corporate story from multiple perspectives and the idea that sometimes, communicators need to ‘let it go’ when it comes to trying to control the message.
A good story is still a good story, but the ways in telling it are now very different and the ways of sharing it are a lot more open.
Release Control of the Corporate Narrative—and Reap the Rewards | IABC World Conference.
The full interview runs 14 minutes and is available here.
IABC World Conference Banner
In the era of the remix and mashup culture, I am really excited to be presenting a session on two topics that need to meet: transmedia storytelling and organisational communication. The IABC World Conference in June has me presenting the following session:
Traditional approaches to corporate narrative are being disrupted by the multiple forces of technology, social change, trust and a shift in the role of the corporation. In this environment the role of the communicator is shaping, telling and retelling the story of the company is shifting. Employees are co-creators, subject matter experts are curators and traditional business models become opportunities for collaboration. This session will explore:
- The death of the corporate story
- Sense making through social media
- Co-creation as a model for true engagement
- Empowering employees to own the narrative
- How IC is the original transmedia communication strategy
As the conference approaches, I will add some pre reading here on the blog.
In addition to all the residents, businesses and travellers impacted by the catastrophe, my thoughts are with the communication teams working through the current situation in Queensland and northern NSW. So many of you will be working through your crisis communication plans and business continuity programs.
If you are managing communications during a crisis for the first time, there are a number of IABC resources that may assist.
The February 2010 CW Online featured Social Media for Crisis Communication:http://www.iabc.com/cwb/archive/2010/0210/
A prior CW Online edition on spokesperson training includes links to some disaster & crisis related resources. Includes links to reactive messaging. http://www.iabc.com/cwb/archive/2009/1109/RelatedResources.htm
If you are an IABC Discovery subscriber, there are a number of case studies that may be useful for the recovery phase. http://discovery.iabc.com/phrase.php?phrase=crisis+communication
Google has established a single landing page for the key official information sources (Government, emergency services, donations).