Let’s face the facts: it’s July, it’s winter, it’s wet – or worse, it’s dry – and the chilly mid-year is a bit depressing.
It’s times like these that call for a great big giggle to joggle you out of your wintery funk. So, for all of you who are feeling the blues, this column is for you.
Grab a coffee – or something stiffer – and take a look at my top ten signs that your corporate communications need an update. I recommend you read it out loud with a few work colleagues for best effect.
But read with caution, because it’s possible a few signs just might ring true. And if that’s the case, don’t worry. I’ve included some handy tips to help you spring back into the 21st Century by spring.
Ten signs your corporate communication needs an update:
1. Viewing your website on your phone requires a magnifying glass – Statistics vary but more than 50 percent of website sessions are viewed on mobile devices. Visitors will not persevere if they can’t easily read your site in mobile form. You are years behind the times, so bite the bullet and invest in a new website before you lose another sale.
2. Your image library is exclusively iPhone photos with varying effects – There’s no denying some creative folk have a knack for capturing incredible photos on their phone. But that knack is not something grasped by the masses. Investing in a professional photoshoot several times a year will yield a great return on investment. Photos shot under great lighting by an expert go a long way towards communicating a professional image that resonates.
3. Clipart stick men feature in company documents – Just stop. Stop.
4. You’ve used Comic Sans font in the last 30 days – There is no place for clever fonts in corporate communication. Keep it to Arial and Times New Roman – Calibri if you must. And, for the love of God, there’s never an appropriate time for WordArt.
5. Memos are a comms channel, commonly addressed to All Staff with the words ‘please be advised’ – Even if you are a large, corporate organisation, the days of formal written staff communication are over, rover. If you wouldn’t speak the words to a group of staff whom you know well, do not put the words in writing. Staff will absorb information and be encouraged to join positive conversations when your language is professional, yet less formal and approachable.
6. MS Publisher and MS Paint are essential software in your design arsenal – This is so 1995. If your budget can’t extend to getting professional design help, there are a raft of excellent, free design programmes that will help you look more professional. Canva is a great one (www.canva.com).
7. You’ve still got a fax number on your email signature – Unless you are a pharmacist or possibly a lawyer, no one is faxing you anytime soon. What you should include in your email signature are links to social media channels, your Skype name and consider a link to your LinkedIn profile (Not on LinkedIn? Oh no, you do need help!).
8. You’re taking a wait-and-see approach to getting on social media – If you’re holding out to see if this social media thing catches on before you get on the bus, I’m sorry to inform you the double-decker has left the station. It’s a very rare business who shouldn’t be on at least one social media channel. Don’t worry, there’s still time to launch before the daffodils burst forth.
9. #ThrowbackThursday and #FridayFunny are a routine part of your social posts – I give you kudos for being on social, but if you haven’t updated your posting plan in a while, then it’s time for a refresh. The odd throwback or funny post is perfectly acceptable – but read the room and consider whether it needs to happen every week. Change it up, do something different. And, step away from the memes.
10. When distributing company news, you still talk about daily deadlines and embargoes – The daily news deadline is well and truly dead. With online news at the forefront, news cycles are 24/7. That means putting news out embargoed is rarely a necessary strategy unless you’re the Prime Minister’s office. If you’ve got a great news story, time it right and get it to the right journo and it can be in front of your audience in literally minutes.
Believe it or not, there are only 20 weeks until Christmas, so warmer, sunnier and happier days are just around the corner. In the meantime, that gives you just enough time to make a few changes to update your communications before Santa arrives.