Given today’s increasingly fragmented media landscape, the rules of engagement have changed. Engagement that builds trust and reaches beyond the informed public must take into account the full universe of today’s content creators—not simply the traditional media.
A search engine’s ﬁndings are now the most trusted source of general news and information. Search engines are more trusted than traditional media by a measure of ﬁve percentage points—a gap that widens to eight points for Millennials. One’s “friends and family” are more trusted as content creators than journalists by more than 30 percentage points.
At the same time, building trust relies on a number of diﬀerent forms of engagement. In fact, while blogs, social media and traditional media interviews are all seen as fundamental to building trust in CEOs, communication via industry conferences is viewed with even more importance.
As mentioned previously, businesses need to also rally employees to become their brand advocates. Employees, whose trust levels (52 percent) are on the rise. Respondents are more likely to trust an employee compared to a CEO for information on treatment of employees (48 percent versus 19 percent) and information on business practices and crises (30 percent versus 27 percent).
I’ve had the privilege of having a front row seat in one of the most long drawn, contentiously fought mergers in Corporate Malaysia to date – the merger-acquisition of EON Capital by Hong Leong Bank.
During this time, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is:
The first word in “Merger” is “Me”.
If you’re leading change management and internal communications like I was (I led the branding and communications function for the integration process), you’ll be best served by building your strategy around answering these two questions:
- What will happen to me?
- What’s in it for me?
Unless you address these two questions, you won’t get anywhere with your audiences.
Adapting from this Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip Of The Day, here are three tips on how to spearhead and maintain internal branding, communication and change campaigns:
- Create Memorable Messages
Have clear, memorable, succinct messages that are emotionally compelling and easily repeated. Oftentimes, this should also be linked to clear benefits to the audience members themselves. That way, they can be transferred to one another easily – think of it as starting your own internal viral, word-of-mouth marketing campaign.
- People Prefer Stories
People will always be able to remember stories much better than facts or numbers. Create or share stories (such as by linking the campaign to an ongoing, larger narrative or using testimonials) that talk about or illustrate what you want to communicate.
- Have A Clear Call-To-Action
It is not enough to just “sell” people onto the campaign – ultimately, for true buy-in, there must be a clear call-to-action so that the audience can participate and do their part for the campaign. Be clear about the action you want your people to take and ways they can start today. Once people know what they can do to help; oftentimes, they will do it.
These three tips interact with one another to create a sustained communication loop that feeds an ongoing campaign. This is particularly important since getting employees to rally around the brand; ensuring that internal messaging is disseminated effectively; and creating enduring change are not one-off events but rather an ongoing campaigns that require discipline and determination.