C.C. Chapman puts on a good show. And I say that with the utmost respect and without any criticism. He is charismatic, engaging, passionate and smart.
I say smart because I read Content Rules, the book he co-wrote with Ann Handley. It’s a solid book written by authors who agree with me. I loved the book pretty much for that reason. Which I read long before I got a free copy Friday morning from the Social Media Breakfast organizers.
When C.C. stood in front of Friday’s Social Media Breakfast crowd, he emphasized something that I didn’t pick up in Content Rules.
Stop making excuses
Just communicate. Pick a medium and have conversations. Converse in a natural, human voice. Don’t let Legal and/or Marketing bury your conversations with delays and language that no one uses. You need to trust your people to have conversations with customers.
I love his point but I so understand why it is that way.
First, organizations fear that not everyone has the savvy to deal with the mass media. But these days we are the mass media. The audience and publishers are the same. So the front-line worker is just as media savvy as the official spokesperson.
Second, since everything can become a media message, brand consistency and discipline is more important than ever. So I totally understand Marketing wanting to approve the conversations.
But that kind of friction can slow down messages to the point that they go from conversations to broadcast. For example, a video with a hotel chef can take four weeks to shoot and produce. You know. Too many cooks.
So how do you let Marketing enforce branding without hindering conversation?
Marketing should be friction not a barrier
Get everyone in the room from the start. Make a plan that allows incorporates the proper message. And communicate it to all the employees so they can be trusted to represent your business.
This is so important. Educate. Don’t dictate. Give everyone the right tools to communicate properly. That includes guidelines.
By the way, the guidelines aren’t just rules about what not to say (No porn, insults or political endorsements for example.) But the guidelines should include what kind of content and tone employees should communicate.
At that point, employees should be trusted to make marketing videos and converse with minimum obstruction.
If your marketing can’t communicate the right message to your employees so they know what to do, how are you going to deliver it correctly to your market?