Is it time to lighten up employee communications?

They’ve been threatening it for a while. Taunting their users with stories of potential frivolity and humour in a professional space. “What? Never!” We hear you cry. But you know what, they’ve done it. LinkedIn has added a funny reaction to express humour on the platform.

Whether you agree with this radical move or not, emotional reactions – including humour – make things stick and foster connection with people.

We’re not saying to litter your communications with the ‘funny’ emoji; we’re saying isn’t it time to spice up your vanilla comms and get creative to connect with your people.

The Eximia team’s a specialist bunch of creatives and here they are sharing some words of wisdom to give your messaging the light touch.

Variety is the spice of life

When communicating with your people, you need to offer up different dishes. Ingredients that create positive emotions like interest, joy, amusement, surprise and happiness to help meet your people where they are. Someone at a desk will tune into different channels to someone working in the field, or the colleague whizzing from meeting to meeting.

Gone are the days of blanket emails. Smart communicators use multiple methods to share their message.

Martha Parkhurst, our Strategic Communications Manager, says, “in business, how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate. A combination of verbal, written and digital communication methods will encourage your audience to take action. This is because we all digest information differently. What works for one person won’t for another.

When you next roll out a communications plan, consider a combination of the following:

  • Content – newsletters, emails, factsheets
  • Design – visuals, video and branding
  • Digital solutions – social media, microsite or employee app
  • In person – town halls, focus groups and workshops.

And don’t forget the importance of peer persuasion: make sure you share good news stories from colleagues, and train up your people managers to answer any questions their team might have.

Run with a theme

You know those vanilla comms we mentioned earlier? Well, one way to banish them and delight your audience is by running with a theme.

Lari Nenonen, our social media expert, says, “rolling with a theme is a great way to get creative. Latch on to something that runs consistently throughout your project, mind map as a team and then build these ideas into your messages.

For example, one of our clients’ share plans required their people to sign up in three easy steps. So we used the number three as our theme. We started off by listing everything around the number three that popped into our heads:

  • The three amigos
  • Three – that’s the magic number
  • The good, the bad and the ugly
  • Buses come in threes 

In the end, we went with ‘the power of three’. We leant into that further, describing the three main benefits of joining the share plan. It’s memorable, and our creative team made it fun and engaging.

Choose your words wisely

Our team of copywriters weave their magic into our clients’ content. It’s a skill to be able to write in a specific tone of voice. However, if you want to take some dry text and turn it into something interesting, then Jess Watson, our Chief Copywriter, knows a few tricks.

Jess says, “sometimes people go overboard with adjectives if the subject matter isn’t dripping with inspiration. But then what you’ve written doesn’t sound genuine. My advice is to KISS – keep it simple stupid!”

You can follow these simple rules:

  • Find the hook. Start your message with something strong and attention-grabbing and add it to your headline, subject line and first paragraph. Once you’ve piqued your people’s interest, they’re more likely to scroll slowly and click on the ‘join’ button.
  • Don’t build walls. Avoid reams of text. Break up your copy with headings, sub-headings, bullets and short, snappy sentences.
  • Be active. Write in the active voice as opposed to the passive, like: ‘Eximia’s copywriters nailed the brief’, not ‘the brief was nailed by Eximia’s copywriters’. Notice the difference? It keeps your writing fresh and direct.
  • Drop the jargon. You may have an in-depth knowledge of share plans – but remember not everyone does. Use plain English and avoid acronyms wherever you can.

Make a statement

Writing and design – the power couple who help elevate your messages.

You’re onto a winner by pairing the written word with clever design.

Carl Adamson, our Creative Lead, says, “without images, we’d be stuck. Street signs, bathrooms and public transport would be plastered with writing and overwhelming instruction. As humans, we remember and learn from images. Yet we still see businesses communicating with their people just using text-based methods. It could be so much better.

Some quick wins from Carl include:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you have an in-house artwork or creative team, they’ll probably be happy to share advice on how to use visuals so your message packs a punch! You never know, they might even give your project a steer.
  • Canva. Gasp! As a designer, I can’t believe I’m suggesting it. However, it’s a very user-friendly tool that can help you elevate a message.
  • And some basic design rules: stick to your company’s brand guidelines, give your words white space to breathe, and ensure that any images you’re using are good quality and don’t pixelate.

Bring it to life

We’ve all been there; we’re just going to spend five minutes scrolling through YouTube, then whack! You realise you’ve fallen down a video rabbit hole.

You’re wondering how you got there.

According to our Creative Artworker Charlotte James, “people are watching more video than ever before – in fact, we’re watching almost twice as much online video as we did just four years ago. Harnessing the power of video for your internal communications can help bring your message to life. Animation can help break down the information you need to communicate into manageable and memorable pieces.

Now, animation is a skill in itself; to do it right, you need a professional. However, you could use online tools to create a basic video that shows a simple sign-up process.

But remember to ditch the speed! Our brains don’t run as fast as you might think. With video, give the viewer enough time to mull over your words and pictures.

If you lack time, resources and creative spark to give your communications the light touch, why not get in touch. Our animators, copywriters, video editors and design experts are here to help.

phone Call us on 020 7420 1984 or send us a message

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