Communication in the Digital Era
We can’t think of cool technologies whenever we hear the words: artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, internet of things, you name it. All these technologies are aimed at helping our businesses run faster and smoother thus enhancing productivity and efficiency. However, the emergence of new technologies has changed how we communicate, especially in the corporate setting with our colleagues and customers.
What we noticed with the arrival of the digital wave, is that communication has become easier and more agile, we are using the terms anytime and anywhere, accessibility almost all the time. While this is one aspect of a correct adoption of the digital transformation strategy, it still has an impact on every part of a business, from how it engages with customers, to how the employees approach projects, apply for leaves, run their annual reviews. However, to get everyone within the organization involved in this transformation correctly, we need to make a shift in culture to get the employees full on board, and for this to happen; effective communication is the key.
Internal Culture is the Core
Internal communication has become a top priority in many companies, and with the new digital tools, employees are communicating faster, clearer, and on more channels—and they’re willing to invest in keeping their employees connected and informed. In fact, we can notice the rise in companies adopting digital workplace solutions, and that recently the departments are digitally communicating on an internal level, using unified communications platforms that enable the staff to chat, text, opt for virtual meetings and share documents instantly, in addition to automating the workflows that speed up the processing of documentation and admin work. Check STS’s Ngage for some internal communication platform inspiration.
Internal communications allow to break down silos by increasing cross-departmental engagement and employees can have can access the higher management in an easier manner. It also empowers employees to share ideas and feedback and feel part of the greater mission of their respective companies.
People need to know why they should change. Adapting to the digital economy means developing new skills and breaking down silos. Breaking down silos means giving up the status quo, it means sharing credit and even sharing the blame. The key is to clearly articulate an authentic case for change and how it will benefit individuals on a personal level.
There are many forms of digital internal communication tactics that can be adopted to increase engagement:
Email marketing to push your message and success stories out to staff – and externally as well
Blogs for employees to get a chance and share their thoughts and expertise in a certain industry or topic
Creating quick polls and surveys to encourage feedback
Content syndication activation
Inspiring intranet portals to increase engagement
Corporate mobile applications for staying connected on the go
And most importantly the company needs to review the data using the analytics offered by the platforms used and learn what are the issues, areas employees are engaging with to improve the process and apply bidirectional communication tactics.
Digital Communication on the Outside
External communication on the other hand must be approached differently from a corporate perspective. Nowadays customers are more than connected, in fact, they are extensively connected to the world’s issues, brands, and celebrities! Customers now expect a more meaningful communication for it to catch their interest.
The communication with customers should always be timely, consistent, engaging—usually with an incentive or experience enclosed, and proactive in many cases, to guarantee customer satisfaction and enrich their experience.
To keep up with peckish customers’ demand, businesses should pay more attention to how important marketing automation such as having live data-streaming that allows marketing departments to tweak campaigns instantly for a greater impact and a specific audience reach.
Creating a Transformative Communication Strategy
Companies come in all sizes, and some of the smaller companies or start-ups assume that they can postpone their shift to digital for a while and depend on the complicated hierarchies and paperwork until they grow bigger. But that doesn’t mean to stop digitizing altogether, as, with any decision in this era of change, the most important thing any company needs to do is solidify its mission and vision, determine its needs, and then choose the right communication strategy and get going. Once you determine what you need, you can then choose the right tools to get you there.
And while person-to-person communication is slowly fading, we still need the creative human vision to grant success. many leaders are already experimenting with technologies. The aim is to integrate a variety of technologies (apps, social media, etc.) into their channel portfolio — not just to improve communication, but to enable employee-to-employee networking and collaboration.
To conclude, communication is a strategy driven by the over-arching corporate strategy and cascades down with clear goals and objectives. This strategy is translated into functional strategies then solid plans to grant an optimal realization of the company’s goals and focus on the message and the timing through the best available channels.