At this year’s Big Yak, a surprisingly large number of attendees were newbies to the event. Whether these people are new to internal communications or simply new to the Big Yak, I don’t yet know. Either way, this year’s ‘unconference’ event was buzzing with ideas, energy and enthusiasm.
Events like the Big Yak leave me in no doubt our profession is thriving. We continue to grow in confidence, ambition and proficiency.
The topics the crowd chose to discuss reflect many of the challenges facing our clients – change communication, supporting line managers, engaging mobile workforces, measurement and that old chestnut, fostering cultural change.
The Big Yak allows communicators to deconstruct these challenges and explore potential solutions in a safe, supportive environment – particularly helpful for solo and independent practitioners.
This year, my Big Yak was slightly different. With AB’s head of digital, Mario Theodorou, we held a series of ‘comms clinics’ with a fascinating range of organisations.
The details of our conversations are of course confidential, but two broad themes emerged:
The value of research, particularly structured qualitative research that starts with the CEO and includes a sample of the workforce at each level throughout the organisation, from the senior team, middle and line managers to those working on the frontline.
Climbing inside the minds of those running and working for your organisation creates valuable insight on which to base your IC strategy, plan content and develop a channel suite.
Indeed, there is a strong argument to say you should not attempt to create these building blocks of IC until you have this data and understanding. Without it you will not be able to make evidence-based decisions that reassure your stakeholders and truly delight your audiences.
The value of a content framework – we advocate having a clear, one-page overview showing how your content ‘pillars’ align to your organisation’s strategic objectives; what channels you plan to use; the audiences you hope to reach; and what measurement you intend to use. This becomes your manifesto – a declaration of your intentions and future actions – a valuable piece of communication in itself.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend a comms clinic on Saturday, let’s arrange a coffee soon. Simply email email@example.com.