The rise of wonky comms…

There’s a demand in the UK right now to buy ugly fruit and vegetables. Once the fodder of landfill or soups, consumers are demanding more from supermarkets.

asdawonkyThey’ve been dubbed “wonky veg,” and apart from having to type that phrase incredibly carefully, I think there’s a market for wonky comms.

Hear me out.

For years internal communicators have been fastidious about creating perfectly honed pieces of writing, polished videos and edited prose.

However, the rise of two-way communication means everyone is now a communicator. I’ve written many times about how we are moving from one-way, to two-way to facilitation of communication.

Think curation not creation.

That is the future. It’s here to stay and we need to get used to it.

What does this means for organisational communication?

In short, it’s real.

Gone are the ghostwritten CEO memos. Your senior leaders can start a conversation on Yammer. By themselves.

It may not always be on message, it may not always use the correct house style or mention all the things it should. Call it wonky comms if you will.

But, it’s authentic, it’s credible and is to be encouraged.

Organisations who embrace wonky comms could see employee voice rising from a whisper to a shout.

That’s exciting and where I think companies need to be heading.

How can you do this?
By actively encouraging your workforce to create content, shoot their own videos, share photographs, join discussions, have their say… the list is endless.

It also requires senior leaders to embrace ‘wonkiness’ too. No longer should they rely on the comms team to craft their thoughts, but we need to ensure there are opportunities for them to be, well, human.

What this means for us as communicators is the gloss may dull. And that’s ok.

I often have conversations with clients and my peers who say things like:

  • “But if everyone writes all the stories, what’s our role?”
  • “What if the stories aren’t written well enough and we keep needing to go back and edit them – surely it’s just easier if we just do them?”
  • “Is it ok to encourage people to write, then have to sort it out so it’s at least usable?”

My answer is communicators need to be facilitators.

You need to be working to educate, inform and guide conversations and communication inside your organisation.

Yes what’s produced may be wonky, but it will be useable, and hopefully inspire fellow employees to join in too.

We know the importance of peer-to-peer communication. (See the Edelman Trust Barometer for more info). Why not encourage employees to write, warts and all?

I’d love to know what you think. Are you embracing ‘imperfect’ comms? You’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Find out more about wonky veg
The term was coined by chef Jamie Oliver (disclosure: the Jamie Oliver Group is a former client of All Things IC) during the last series of the Channel 4 TV show Friday Night Feast. 

carrotsThe hosts approached UK supermarket chain Asda to trial the launch of what will now be a Beautiful on the Inside range. Since January 2015, the supermarket has sold ugly produce at a 30% discount, alongside the more expensive, regular veg we’re used to.

According to Asda’s consumer research, 65% of customers are open to buying wonky fruit and veg, while 75% are more likely to buy them if they’re sold at a cheaper price.

This month, Waitrose joined the trend, announcing the introduction of misshapen seasonal vegetables as part of a new range named, “a little less than perfect.”  Love that name! They’re currently available in 40 branches and may expand the range in future.

The future’s bright. The future’s wonky.

Post author: Rachel Miller

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April 2016 update

Wow. Thank you for everyone who has got in touch with examples of #wonkycomms.

You can see some of them below. Loving the wonkiness in action!



First published on the All Things IC blog 25 February 2016.


  1. Great post Rachel. Having worked with Canada’s largest grocer, I’m very familiar with the success of wonky produce. The ‘naturally imperfect’ apples from Loblaw are on my grocery list!

    As a passionate Internal Communication Activist…I completely agree with wonky communication and have seen the fear of communication professionals who are afraid to lose control of tactical communication implementation.

    I’ve always believed that our true value lies not in ‘communicating on behalf of our organizations,’ but in ‘influencing how our organizations communicate.’ This means letting go of the tactics and being seen as an integral communication strategist and advisor who enables the business and employee engagement through the power of communication. We need to get our peers onside!

  2. Hi Priya, thank you for commenting and sharing your views. I agree with you, there’s certainly a fear among comms pros, and echo your thoughts re: getting peers onside.

  3. […] also part of it is about people. Rachel Miller recently highlighted this in her piece about wonky comms, writing ‘communicators have been fastidious about creating perfectly honed pieces of writing, […]

  4. […] also part of it is about people. Rachel Miller recently highlighted this in her piece about wonky comms, writing ‘communicators have been fastidious about creating perfectly honed pieces of writing, […]

  5. […] son article The Rise of Wonky Comms, Rachel Miller nous explique que cette mode du produit brut et non lissé gagnerait à […]

  6. […] a world of wonky comms, do internal communicators still need writing […]

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