Category Archives: Communication

The magic of communication

With so much technology at our fingertips, the ease in which we communicate is something that many of us take for granted. Our worlds are thrown into chaos and we realise just how dependent we are on technology when our email is down or a mobile phone is lost. Imagine if, until recently, you were unable to communicate freely or effectively. Imagine what social media sites like Facebook and Twitter would mean to you if you were deaf or unable to speak. The new ways in which we communicate are giving people a voice that, until recently, they did not have. We think that’s pretty magical!

Now, more than ever, government organisations and businesses, need to look at how their target audience communicates and ask themselves “is our message being heard? or is it falling on deaf ears?”

Yours in effective communication,
Andrea.

Communication….. Then, Now and In The Future

As a baby boomer being in the workforce for over 40 years, I can say that I have seen some compelling changes in the way we communicate in business.

Before computers, email or faxes, one very early form of communication that was used in my workplace was Telex via a Teleprinter Machine similar to the one pictured below. The Telex network is a switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network and it was used to send text-based messages. It began in Germany as a research development program in 1926 and became an operational teleprinter service in 1933.


A Teletype Model 32 used for Telex service.

Image source: Wikipedia.

Over the past two decades, technology has transformed communication by making it more and more pervasive. Advances in computer and telephone technology have created an explosion in the ways we can reach each other: by fax, cell phone, e-mail, text message, blog, LinkedIn and Facebook.

A survey commissioned in the U.K. found that respondents spent an average of 3 hours and 45 minutes talking on the phone, e-mailing and sending text messages [source: BBC News]. Some of these communication tools allow us to work more efficiently; for example, a manager can send a meeting agenda to the whole office with one e-mail, a process that once would have required typing a memo, making copies, and distributing them to each desk.

We’ve come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876. Yet many of us still use telephones as well as mobile phones. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the car phone was more popular than the regular mobile phone. However, since the mobile phone boom in the 1990s, when mobile phones became much more affordable, the car phone became less popular as most people carry their mobile phone around with them, and the availability of hands free kits installed into many cars allow the driver to talk and listen to a call while driving.

Many people assume that the way they communicate is the way everyone communicates.

Here is a brief chart of communication preferences and communication obstacles for the various generations.

This information is part of an excellent article that helps explain the differences between the generations and the differences in communication styles. Source: http://bit.ly/a1kFKY

Yours in Communication

Angie Rapisarda

Closing the gap between the bosses and the employees.

Yesterday I read an article on Nextness about Emily Birks who is a Senior Account Manager at Pulse Communications, Ogilvy PR. Last week she participated in PRIA’s My Generation event as the representative for Gen Y in a panel discussion about how to can close the gap between bosses and the employees.  Here are her findings:

There are 4.5 million of us born between 1978 and 1994 and we are dominating the emerging workforce. And PR is one of the industries where it’s even harder to escape us.  To put it in perspective, 76 percent of Ogilvy PR’s current employees are Gen Ys.

We are the most labelled generation ever and the discussion kicked-off with a few of those labels being thrown around. The bosses described us as selfish and always thinking ‘what’s in it for me’, only caring about more money and job titles, and not being able to listen as we are constantly checking our phones or updating our statuses.

But in order to close the gap between bosses and employees you can’t label us with one big brushstroke.

Gen Y spans almost 20 years so it’s not sensible to consider this a target audience. Bosses should acknowledge life stages, career stages, professional needs, socio-economic differences when trying to motivate staff.

As employees we have a desire for customisation which I don’t think is unique to our generation. People of all ages want to know they can walk into a new job and carve out their own opportunities if they do well and are loyal to the company. It’s more about understanding expectations.

What ‘shiny’ things beyond salary attract us to a new job or keep us satisfied in a current one?

According to 2011 McCrindle Research one of the top priorities for Gen Ys when looking for an employer is a “great culture”. And I agree with this. We come to work at least 40 hours a week so it’s important that we enjoy being here each day and I think the people we work with play a huge role in that. All the Gen Ys in the room acknowledge the importance of great mentors in keeping us satisfied in a job.

Training also came out as being important to us.

We like to feel like it is a mutually beneficial relationship, Gen Y want something back and training and development shows that the agency is willing to invest in us. I know I always walk out of a great training session feeling reinvigorated and and grateful that I work for an agency that offers inspiring training.

Loyalty and Generation Y.

According to McCrindle Research on average Gen Ys spend two years with an employer versus the national average of four years. The bosses asked us what keeps us loyal to an agency.  As we tend to get bored easily it’s important to be presented with new challenges and we need to be able to see a future for ourselves at the company. Being rewarded for being loyal doesn’t hurt either. I just had my three year anniversary at Ogilvy PR and being rewarded with three extra days of Loyalty Leave is a nice little perk. It makes a difference.

As a generation we might be labelled more than past generations. But at the end of the day the same fundamentals of great management and leadership remain.

Follow Emily Birks on Twitter (@embirksy). This article was first published on Ogilvy PR’s blog.

 

Yours representing Generation Y,

Justine

How good is your companies internal culture?

With increasing competition to secure skilled workers what does your business do to get the best staff and keep them?

Creating a strong employer brand requires a virtuous circle from external reputation to internal recognition and engagement, and viceversa.

Employees need to become empowered to become brand ambassadors. In addition to  the role of employees as brand ambassadors, there needs to be a formal strategy for communicating the employee value proposition externally. Social media and your company website are great tools to help promote your internal culture. Check out the video in the link below from another local Australian company that is doing it right Atlassian.

Employer Branding – how Virgin added ‘Virginess’ to Virgin Active

I love employer branding and when done well it can revolutionise Government Departments, large and even small businesses.

Always on the look out for businesses doing this well, I was excited to find this fantastic presentation by Elaine J0bson, where she shares the principles on how Virgin successfully took the old Health and Raquet club brand and changed it to be part of the distinctive Virgin family.

The key take aways for me from this presentation that can easily be applied to your business or department are:

1. Good is the enemy of Great. You can have a good business but unless you do something different and push the boundaries you will never have a Great business.

2. Culture is everything.  People will be attracted to your business because of your culture.

3. Combine Employer Branding strategies. The service and people strategies need to be combined in order to create a great culture.

4. Create an over arching theme.  For Virgin, they started by having an overarching theme that they called their Love Strategy with a goal to be the ‘Worlds Most Loved’.  They then changed their language around each part of the employee process / experience.  All employees were refereed to as humans and the Virgin brand was in a ‘relationship’ with everyone of them.

• The recruitment process is called Flirting.
• Falling in Love with the brand is the first 90 days.
• The Being in Love phase is where the employees are looking for substance – asking themselves, is this somewhere I would want to stay long term.
• Staying in Love – 12 months plus – is the brand taking their humans for granted?, are they still helping nurture learning and growth?
• Happily ever Active – is a place Virgin have created for people who are scoring a 9 or 10 promoter score and have been with the business over 12 months. It is a place where things just happen – random acts of love.

Very inspiring and very achievable. All we need to do is stop and define the strategy that will take our employer brand to the next level.

Yours in Employer Branding,

Belinda

Social Media to the rescue

With so many of us now connected to multiple social media platforms, we are all aware what a powerful marketing tool social media can be. We are now also beginning to realise ways in which we can harness its power to help people.

Social media was a primary source of communication following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In disaster situations, after survival, there is a human need to connect. Conventional telephone lines often go down, or are overwhelmed, whilst internet connections are still active and usable. Thus people found they could use networks like twitter or facebook to send warnings, relay and receive information and news updates, ask for help and let friends and family know they were safe.

As a result, many international organisations are now implementing social strategies into emergency management plans. A great example is American Red Cross who have recently partnered with Dell to build a Digital Operations Center. During emergency and disaster situations, the center will analyse and use social conversation to make decisions and organise relief efforts.

One of social media’s greatest strengths is in the ease and speed that information can be disseminated. There is great potential for Government, council and humanitarian organisations to use it to connect with and build resilient communities.

Yours in realising potential,
Andrea

CMO’s Guide to Social Media Sites

The social-media landscape has grown since last year with an additional 5 more communities/platforms added and a quite a few of  them are already booming. So, which social media tools and channels will work best for your business?

This years largest growing community is Pintrest, which reached 10 million monthly visitors in less time than Facebook or Twitter did. It’s demographics include mostly women and it is quite popular in the Midwest. The concept behind Pintrest is that members can post images of whatever is of interest to them. From there, followers can then ‘like’, or ‘repin’ those images, which is then pushed out to their followers. Pintrest is a bit different as it offers a way to reach a group that is not usually considered a part of the ‘digerati’ and can be most useful for brand exposure and driving traffic to your site if your material gets ‘pinned’ by others.

This year, Google launched Google+, which offers some unique ways to interact, including Circles and Hangouts (group video chats) which make customer communication a breeze. Unlike Facebook ‘Likes’, positive ratings on Google+ can influence your brand’s search ranking. This channel has become a “must have” for social marketers, as it has more than 90 million users (though, there are questions about how active they are).

Three other communities that have recently been added to the social media pool are  SlideShare, Quora and Instagram.

SlideShare is similar to YouTube for slide shows. It is a great way to promote your brand / products and communicate with customers, however it is pretty much a one way conversation at this stage.

Quora was founded by two former Facebooker’s and is based on questions for community members to answer. It’s an ideal place to share your expertise as it is a perfect addition to your content marketing efforts.

Instagram is an iPhone app that lets you take photo’s of your products or services, apply interesting effects and share them, which can also be pushed out to your Facebook page and Twitter.

Is it time for you to re-evaluate which social media tools could work for you? Gone are the days where having a Facebook page is the only option. There is a continuing amount of other channels that have different capabilities and purpose, and used together can connect with a massive amount of people. For an analysis of which social medial tools are the latest and greatest, CMO have, for the third consecutive year, turned to 97th Floor, an SEO and Social Media Firm for their perspective of the different social media channels and ones that could definitely be worth your time.

You can view 97th Floors take on 10 Social Network Choices on 2012 CMO’s Guide To The Social Landscape.

Yours in Social Media

Angie Rapisarda

Memorable approach for a Serious Medical Issue

Rethink Breast Cancer uses a very funny online advertisement to promote a free app that helps woman check their breasts regularly for early signs of breast cancer.

Aimed at a younger female audience, in an effort to prevent breast cancer, the ad uses humour and hot guys to firstly grab attention before going onto explain the importance of regular “TLC” – Touch your breasts, Look for changes, Check with your doctor.

The use of the app in this campaign, cleverly named “Your Man Reminder”, is ingenious as once downloaded (and it has been downloaded over 70,000 times) the women can start to interact with it regularly. You have a choice of one of six men to talk you through how to do a self examination and then they encourage you with regular reminders to re-check your breasts. (I couldn’t download the app quick enough after viewing the video).

This is just another example of where online promotion can be such a powerful medium to engage with a targeted audience and then interact with them regularly with an important message.

Rethink Breast Cancer’s video promotion of the app was recently named one of TED’s 10 Ads Worth Spreading.

Yours in the exciting world of online promotion,

Belinda