Dear IC, stay creative. It’s worth it

How do you apply creativity to your work? How could you incorporate fresh ideas to help your internal communication?

Today I have a guest post by Eduvie Martin, a Comms professional with 14 years’ experience in internal communications and reputation management for global brands and start-ups in Africa and Europe.

She is the Group Internal Communications Manager at British American Tobacco (BAT) based in London and a member of IABC UK and Ireland Board. She is also the Head of Marketing and Communications & Executive Director of Africa’s largest publisher of independent comic books- Comic Republic – a start-up known globally for their diverse universe of authentic stories, graphic novels, comic books, animations, and illustrations of African superheroes inspired by mythology, folktales, and culture.

Eduvie is passionate about measuring the impact of effective internal and external communications, delivering work that adds value and shaping narratives through story-telling.

I’ll hand you over…

Eduvie-Martin. Text: Dear IC, stay creative, it's worth it.

Dear IC, stay creative. It’s worth it

Employees do not read their emails, so let’s make them. Let’s add in some vibrant designs, an upbeat tune, maybe some dance videos too; let’s have CEOs and entire leadership teams communicating key messages with rhymes and if we can get these leaders to burst a move while they are at it, even better – employees will be engaged. Let’s make the internal communications, innovative, interesting, and creative.

These are the thoughts of the 21st century internal communicator.

Internal communicators have evolved into executive producers, video editors, script writers, storytellers, newscasters, and internal podcast hosts to capture the attention of employees and influence engagement levels and I’m loving it! It’s the very reason I delved into the world of internal comms.

Let’s pause for a minute to uncover the value of these unconventional and innovative tactics and channels used to communicate company objectives to employees.

Do we really need to invest in the resources and productive hours spent on creative content or are employees just craving a simple, short email with clear and concise updates, properly targeted, sent using the right channels and at the right time?

Do employees need creative content to keep them engaged and informed about the company purpose?

Let’s unpack it all, first beginning with the myth – Employees do not read their emails.

Myth: Employees do not read their emails

Kevin Ruck’s book on Exploring Internal communications stipulates that: “It is incorrect to assume that employees are not interested in an organisation’s strategy or plans”.

A recent survey among internal communicators revealed that email is still the preferred channel of communications; but what makes them decide that a particular email or comms is worth the read?

Early on in my career, I conceptualised First News for employees by employees using our in-house public address system for five minutes every Friday. Not only did we increase traffic to our intranet by 50%, but we also increased email read rates, created a crop of internal journalists who became very effective brand ambassadors.

2021 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that 61% of employees will trust information coming out of their employers; so, we know they want to hear from their employers, why should we bother with adding that layer of creativity?

Further reading via the All Things IC blog: How to increase trust in your organisation

In a 2014 survey conducted by Alive with Ideas, 93% of comms pros acknowledge the importance of creativity in internal comms but only 6% think it’s being used to its full potential. The report states that “creativity helps demonstrate to employees that they are valued as highly as external customers and can help to bridge the gap between external and internal comms”.

If like me, you find yourself reflecting on some of the most impactful internal campaigns you’ve ever executed, you will see that they involved a clear message with employee engagement at the heart of it.

It is exhausting to plan something creative for each campaign, easier to drop that email but if you’ve got the luxury of time, think of me as that voice in your ear, whispering the words: “add that little extra, it’s always worth it”. Creepy? Good! Do it 😊

Gallagher alerts us to your concern about disengaged employees as the workplace continues to evolve. Going with authentic content, utilising available resources and ‘speaking human’ will help.

Further reading via the All Things IC blog: What does world-class internal communication look like?

What does world class internal communication look like?

This survey shows that 61% of Internal Communicators are spending their time writing content, 8% on curating content while just 2% are spending a vast majority of time measuring the impact of their comms efforts despite the increase in the available tools to do this and therein lies the problem.

For when we measure, we will be able to tell what works and what doesn’t.

Please continue to question if your campaigns contain clearly defined objectives, how you will execute them with the resources available to you, how you will make it creative to increase message recall and how you will measure.

And when you’re done, find yourself a good global internal comms award to enter in those outcomes. Winning one will do your brand a lot of good and motivate your IC team who are doing so much in these uncertain times.

Dear IC, stay creative. It’s worth it.

Post author: Eduvie Martin.

Thank you Eduvie. What are you taking away from what you’ve read?

You can find her on LinkedIn if you’d like to connect, or feel free to comment below.

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Thank you for stopping by,

Rachel Miller.

First published on the All Things IC blog 8 March 2022.


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