As a Change Manager it is my job to come up with new ways to engage people and influence their behaviour and thinking in terms of how the change that is coming can help move the organisation forward.
I like to encourage the project teams that I am working with to try to think like an advertising executive. How can we influence our employees and stakeholders to buy (or buy into) this product or idea we are selling?
No matter how beneficial the change is, if you don’t advertise/communicate, nobody will know about it. Here are some considerations when planning an advertising program that supports your change initiative.
Consider Your Target Audience
Who do you want to reach and how will you reach them? A good campaign may need to be tailored in terms of messages and channels in order to actually reach the target audience. Make it on point in terms of delivery channel/location and message.
Determine what they read, watch, and listen to. Then advertise in the appropriate way and time to ensure that you reach your target stakeholders.
Establish Your Image/Brand
You would recognise the McDonald’s arches anywhere. Image also counts when it comes to advertising your project. Too many projects do not work to build a consistent image, and they’re missing the chance to make an impression on prospective customers.
Consider Having Brand Ambassadors
Is the right person out there selling the product? Advertising can be boosted by ensuring that the right person is part of the campaign. How might that person appeal to the target audience and make them feel comfortable about the change the product/project will bring?
We often get Project Sponsors, Change Managers or Project Managers up front as the ambassador for a project. Challenge yourself to consider whether this person really has the credibility, experience or relationship to convince people that the benefits are real.
Do Product Testing
Admit it, sometimes an idea seems great (to the project team) but when launched fails miserably. Creating a forum for testing your campaign messaging, imagery and delivery channels will allow you to do a pulse check on whether it will meet the communication outcome desired. Do they understand and accept the message you are trying to convey? If not, get insight into how you could more effectively communicate your message.
You can do this in workshops, anonymous questionnaires or feedback loops or even using channels such as social media groups (e.g. Facebook and Yammer) that best suit your audience.
This will also help to build advocacy and buy-in. Everyone likes to be listened to.