What was hot in 2013 – and where we’re headed


By Megan Sheerin, Melcrum (Source)

2013 was all kinds of transformative.

We’ve seen businesses and brands adopt innovative solutions to age-old problems, as well as new: shaking up social media platforms, redefining manager communication, blowing up traditional metrics – and making everything more mobile, visual and story-centric than ever before. Looking back at the year that was, we highlight five eye-catching trends in Internal Communication. More importantly, we look at how these are likely to shape the future for your people and business.

Trend #1: Measurement still matters.

In fact, today it ranks among the top five priorities of internal communicators, according to Melcrum’s research. And the global trail-blazers among us are getting to the heart of measuring communication effectiveness thanks to some (growing) guiding disciplines. Think measuring message and channel performance; KPIs instead of ROI; aligning Internal Communication with the real needs of the business – and using Big Data to help us solve broader business issues.

As budgets and teams stay lean, you can expect metrics – and the real-time course correction and clearer return on investment they enable – to continue to matter. Make your analytics as important as the communication they’re tracking.

Trend #2: Manager communication matters more than ever.

Over recent years, we’ve invested big in digital communication and technology to connect with employees and leaders more effectively. And while this is influencing the bottom line and business outcomes, leading companies are finding managers are increasingly where it’s at when it comes to managing change, aligning employees with vision and strategy, and boosting overall engagement. Compelling mid-level manager communication builds trust and creates meaning in ways digital communication and technology can’t.

Expect to see the power of the human channel become popular – again. Invest in your managers. Give them communication training, structure and support for real, measurable results.

Download Melcrum’s free Executive Summary on Innovation and Intervention in Manager Communication, for more.

Trend #3: Make it mobile.

If it could go mobile in 2013, it did. Not only did we repurpose more content for apps, tablets, smartphones and the like to remain connected to an increasingly diverse and dispersed workforce, employees themselves also found ways to make devices work for them. The last year saw many more bringing their own. Often because they’re simply better than the ones we’re offering. The upshot from here? Expect more of the same as employees favor ever-sophisticated features – and if you don’t already have one, consider a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy to protect company data on your people’s personal mobile devices.

Read more on case studies – and where mobile’s headed.

Trend #4: It’s about the experiential story, not the channel or message.

Internal Communication is increasingly part of a broader global shift towards packaging content and messages in stories – and building multi-platform and interactive experiences that invite employees to be part of creating and sharing them. A cross-over from advertising and PR, this branded, trans-media campaign approach is one that’s likely to become more popular as the line between Internal and External Communication blurs further – and the role of employees as external brand ambassadors grows in importance.

The new rules of engagement? Make stories visual. (Think video – it’s on the rise). Make them shareable. (See below).

Trend #5: Social is still king.

No longer stand-alone and sporadic, today’s best social communications are integrated media strategies. It’s about harnessing employee collaboration and advocacy. Aligning and connecting internal conversations with external ones. And the trail-blazers are doing all this while encouraging a greater employee voice (which has now outstripped that of the CEO when it comes to power and influence).

Where it’s headed: expect to see leading companies combine social metrics with other KPIs to measure impact. And watch for Melcrum’s 2014 research on social and mobile communication, and what it takes to achieve a ‘steady state’ here.


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