By Andrew Hulme, Account Director
Engaging an audience, continued
I mentioned in my introduction to this series (you can read this *here* before reading on!) that while above the line and below the line activity are very important, I strongly believe an engaged workforce is key to any successful business and that a dedicated engagement programme will help to increase your business performance.
It is important that you engage from Bottom to Top, and that everyone takes responsibility to create a positive engaging environment. As well as demonstrating the desired behaviours, a lot of this can be reinforced through communications.
Communicating to your own employees is fairly straightforward as you know who they are and their contact details, but what if your route to market is through non-direct channels and it is those people who are the face of your brand? This is a challenge I face on a daily basis as an engagement consultant working at FMI.
Non-direct channel engagement
Let’s start by clarifying what I mean by a non-direct channel. Essentially, this is any third party who is selling your product/service. For example, in the automotive or agricultural industry, this might be franchised and independent dealerships, or for the mobile phone manufacturers, this might be retail and call centre employees from network operator companies (e.g. EE, Vodafone, or Hutchinson 3G).
How can you communicate with and transform the behaviour of someone else’s employees, when you have no direct influence? Especially, if they are in different countries? How does GDPR impact on you engaging an audience?
These are some big questions and will involve working with multiple stakeholders from across different organisations, but the good news is that when you can succeed here, your direct employees will be straightforward.
Once the data processing agreements are in place, we follow a 4-step engagement process:
The first step is to clearly communicate with your audience. Tell them what the objective of the engagement programme is and what is expected of them. Most importantly make sure they know why they should care – essentially, what is in it for them!
This initial dissemination of information might be from physical packs out into the field, digital communications, or at a face to face launch event, or a combination of all three.
You have communicated the goals with your audience, so now they will need to be provided with the skills and knowledge to accomplish the objectives – make sure your programme can train up the audience on how to do what they need to do.
There are many areas you may have to cover, perhaps including an induction into your brand, your products and services, key selling points, how you differentiate from rivals, your target audience profiles, and what it means to be associated with your brand.
By creating bite-size training, you can gradually take your audience on a journey to better understand your brand, be more confident talking about it, and ultimately sell more.
This really is the data science part of the business. Drilling down into the data to understand the specifics of what is happening – where has the performance improved, what areas still need improving, are there any new areas that need focus?
The real goal of this section is that all programmes should aim to give you actionable data that offers clear insight into what areas need improving. This allows us to constantly measure how your audience is performing against the desired target and react accordingly.
This is also the area where we can look at the return on investment (ROI) and return on objective (ROO). As long as clear metrics are defined and agreed at the beginning of a programme then the data can support the visibility.
No matter who you are, everyone wants to be told they are doing well and that is where recognition comes into play. Everybody demonstrating the desired behaviour should be recognised and rewarded to encourage others to follow suit.
The process of recognition can be as simple as a thank you or as extravagant as a new car. The point is to make sure the individual/team know they are doing the right things. If you then promote and celebrate that achievement, others will be able to see and learn from it.
Thank you for reading this second instalment of my three-part series – and for the Star Trek fans out there, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard “Engage!”.