Tools and services

Could IC have found its pot of gold? Data presents new opportunities

One of the areas in which internal communicators have historically struggled is measurement – particularly ability to demonstrate, or at least insinuate, linkages between internal communication activity and valuable business results.

In my recent research with twelve internal communicators – six in the US and six international – I see reason to believe that communicators are gaining confidence both the quality of the data they can access, and their ability to use that data to present clear and compelling cases for further investment in internal communication activity.

There remain some challenges.  In some cases, internal communicators find themselves using measures because data is available, even if the measures are themselves tangential to business performance.

Time to seize the measurement agenda

While the plethora of analytics available from online platforms and email analytic packages generate immense quantities of data, internal communicators need to be in a position to seize the measurement agenda and focus on measures which show a plausible relationship between communication activities and business outcomes.

Conversely, there are also opportunities to use data sources that aren’t based on IC channels to help track issues and language use in the business.  One participant highlighted enterprise search as a particularly fertile source for information about what staff find important, pertinent and relevant, and also about the language employees use to address and discuss ongoing business issues.

One potentially profound approach that is emerging is the calculation of “communication factors” – agreeing with the business the rightful amount of credit that should be attributed to communications’ impact on specific business outcomes.  There isn’t currently a magic formula or number available for common use. But the idea of having communicators and the business assign a numeric factor the the results – or at least to impact on changes in performance – could go a long way towards addressing the need of communicators to continually “prove their value” in return for continued investment.

There is no magic bullet – but internal communicators are better positioned than ever to take control over the measurement agenda, and start delivering harder numbers and clearer stories of impact.

Download “How to Measure what Matters” – the latest research report from Happeo.

Mike Klein is Principal of Changing The Terms and an experienced internal communication strategist, writer and advocate. To schedule a free consultation, please click here.

Featured, The Profession

IABC turnaround turns outward – members now hold the key to visibility and impact

“We’ve righted our ship and gotten our house in order, and now we’re ready to help drive the larger conversation about what our profession can offer.”

That was the overriding message following interviews with IABC Chair Ginger Homan and Executive Director Stephanie Doute.

In a conversation following the 2019 IABC Leadership Institute, and marking the halfway point in IABC’s 2017-2020 strategy, Ginger declared the Association’s restructuring and stabilization efforts a success. She said that they place IABC in a position to carry its message outward, and that it will do so in a much different way than IABC has done in the past:

“It’s time for our members to own our agenda”

“The key will be for members to take ownership –not only to be advocates for IABC membership, but to be active and visible as IABC members on the issues we care about in our industry. We need members to step out front to promote professional standards and champion the value communicators offer to our enterprises and communities.”

Ginger noted that this approach represented a break from its historical approach to outreach.

“Rather than IABC wanting to be the leader and for staff to own the agenda, as we have done in the past, we want to provide the platform to help our members be thought leaders. We in turn will help amplify those members who want to take stands and be visible in the conversations around the agenda we are promoting together.”

Accelerating the Global Standard

One front which IABC wants its members to take the advocacy lead is in the promotion of the Global Standard – which, while developed under IABC’s leadership, is intended to provide a common framework for promoting professionalism in communication, and for enabling the spread of a world-wide certification program for senior and mid-level communication professionals.

“There’s a lot we need to be saying about the Global Standard, and IABC can’t do this on its own. We need members and particularly those who have already been certified to tell the story of the Global Standard and make the case. We need to explain what it is, how we arrived at it, and why it is of relevance to a much broader constituency than just IABC members.”

Stephanie added: “There is a real demand for standards in the world of professional communication and the Global Standard is a great platform for embedding consistent standards into our day-to-day practices and even the software we use. Indeed, as the Global Standard provides the context and content for Certification and the rubric for our Gold Quill awards program, a broader conversation about the Global Standard will make our CMP and SCMP certifications more relevant and drive acceptance beyond IABC’s membership.”

The interviews followed the 2019 Leadership Institute in Long Beach, California, which combined the event’s traditional focus on chapter growth and cohesion with added emphasis on encouraging IABC activists to mobilize members as thought leaders and peer influencers to promote the value of professional communication, above and beyond the promotion of IABC membership.

Transforming IABC’s Infrastructure

The moves follow intense effort to stabilize IABC’s finances, update its infrastructure, and develop more robust offerings for members and the broader communication professions.

Stephanie added: “We’ve been modernizing what we do and the way we do it. We are in the midst of a digital transformation that will allow us both to better engage members and to make IABC more inviting and relevant to non-members. We have a new and expanded content program coming to life this year. We launched The Hub as a private social network to give our members a safe and vibrant space to share their needs, problems and ideas with the broader IABC community. These programs add to the continuing strength of World Conference as a truly best-in-class conference, where top-tier speakers, forward-thinking breakouts, launches of new research deliver special experiences delegates are unlikely to forget.”

Getting ahead of the trends

One criticism of IABC that has resonated with its leadership has been that the Association is slow to acknowledge, much less shape, trends in the industry – trends such as internal-external convergence and employee experience – which are well within the interests of its membership.

“We’re launching two exciting task forces to get ahead of the trends,” said Stephanie, “looking at the big ideas shaping the profession on the one hand, creating tangible tools and templates for delivery and execution for members on the other. We want members to be aware, awake and confident as we move into a time of even faster change and instability in the business world. These will be in addition to the research studies we have partnered on and the Business Acumen module in the IABC Academy. The latter was developed by a firm comprised of Wharton Business School alumni that will give our members a tangible command of business basics and prepare them for more effective conversations with their business peers.”

Creating Connection

In 2017-2020, IABC has been pursuing a three-pronged strategy: to develop strategic communicators, advance the profession and “create connection.” Midway through the strategy period, the bulk of the association’s global efforts have been devoted to getting the platform and infrastructure set for growth and accelerating member influence in the profession. “Create Connection,” the third pillar, builds on IABC’s historic strengths as a community and support network for its active members.

“Sometimes, people don’t realize how fun it can be to be in IABC,” Ginger explains. “IABC is ultimately about inclusion, fun and giving back – which is what we mean by ‘create connection’. It’s not about telling people to ‘join IABC because it’s fun’ but to create experiences that are enlivening and enriching, especially at the local level where it’s easiest for people to connect face-to-face. We are seeing newer and younger members coming in at the local level, generationally transforming IABC from the outside in.”

Why it’s time to join – or re-join

As the only global membership association covering the full scope of business communication, IABC occupies a unique space alongside national communication associations, specialist associations and more informal on-line groups which have absorbed many lapsed IABC members over the last decade. IABC intends to combine its improved infrastructure and an increasingly visible membership to drive growth and, importantly, regain the trust and activism of former members.

Concludes Ginger, “It’s about being more relevant, and about being more collaborative, cooperative and inspiring. Combine that with the connections we create, and we are set to deliver a compelling proposition.  We’re at an inflection point. The sky is the limit and we’d like you to join us.”

Featured, Internal Communication Strategy

From “Centralization” to “Centrality” – a transformation making internal communication more relevant and scalable

Increase impact. Reduce noise. Become more relevant. Integrate platforms. Create more connectedness.

These are some of the demands that internal communicators are hearing most loudly these days.

In my 30+ interviews with global internal comms practitioners for Happeo’s research into The Present and Future of Internal Communication, there is an overriding trend emerging as they tackle these combined challenges.

I’m calling it the move from “centralization” to “centrality” – a move from communicators being tasked with delivering and managing an overly broad range of controlled communication channels, to overseeing a leaner, more authoritative, and increasingly interactive portfolio built around a common platform.

To learn more about the trend from “centralization” to “centrality,” download the second Happeo Report on the Present and Future of Internal Communication.

Recognizing external channels and unleashing internal platforms

The core idea behind this transformation is that employees have the choice of using external channels to communicate with each other, and to monitor the organization’s communication with the outside world.  

While some organizations bristle at this “loss of control,” internal communicators are increasingly taking it as a cue to relent from having to take end-to-end responsibility for communicating with employees. Rather than trying to suppress access to external channels or diminish their credibility, they are taking the initiative to make their own channels more authoritative, easier to use, and better integrated with the day-to-day work and interactions that make up the flow of organizational life.

One practitioner described the philosophy behind this approach:

“Every time we give employees a communication, we give them a problem, a decision they need to make.  We need to reduce the number of non-essential decisions they have to make.”

Centrality, as it is emerging in internal communication, combines a simplified approach to content and interactions with the use of one or very few authoritative channels and a messaging style that drives prioritization. As unofficial messages and platforms proliferate around the business, the leaner and sharper internal channels aim to cut through the noise, and help clarify expectations for employees.

Centrality drives scalability – in both directions

Internal communication has historically been a function seen mainly in companies with more than 1000 employees. The proliferation of channels and activities has been particularly pronounced in large organizations, and the movement towards centrality will likely make IC more scalable and efficient in large companies.  

But the move towards centrality also enables a more compelling case for formal internal communication for smaller organizations engaging employees in multiple locations.

They too can consider internal communication as a means of driving focus on prioritization and clarifying expectations. They can even consider IC as an alternative to moving to common physical headquarters or investing as heavily in new layers of management as they grow.  The use of a common communication platform, with news, enterprise social networks, common calendars and document sharing, can be used to create a “sense of place” and help clarify ambiguities in small dispersed workforces as they do in larger organizations.

The main barrier is the current lack of a business model to get sufficient IC expertise into smaller organizations. Few small organizations have communication staff in general, much less any with deep IC expertise.  But the ability of certain technology platforms to automate many IC implementation tasks could make it possible for organizations to acquire IC expertise through other means to make the best use of those platforms – either by upskilling their own staff in line with the spread of global standards, obtaining it on a consulting basis through platform vendors, or even by hiring dedicated full or part-time resource.

If smaller firms begin to see IC as a viable alternative to over-reliance on line management, or to physically gathering employees in common locations, it is also likely that the IC practitioners who are hired by smaller firms will play a much more central leadership role in those firms. This could prove the clearest – and least expected – route to the “seat at the table” that IC pros have historically sought.  

A huge shift

Whether it drives the streamlining of channels in large companies, or enables greater coherence and velocity in smaller ones, the trend from “centralization” to “centrality” has huge implications for practitioners, vendors and enterprises alike.  Reducing noise, increasing impact and creating clarity are clear ways for IC practitioners to add value. Embracing centrality will give them much wider opportunities to do so.

Uncategorized

PR and IC – are the “goals” the same?

Image result for soccer rugby goal posts

Two of the common pieces of advice these days in the communication world are “avoid sports analogies” and “be more visual.”

In this case, I honor the latter to make the former easier to take. Because I find it difficult to otherwise illustrate the fundamental differences between internal communication and public relations, especially to PR types who think what we do is simply “internal PR.”

For me, saying “internal comms is really just internal PR because the skills are the same – writing, planning, organization and audience definition” totally ignores the specific context of organizational life, and the unique skill required to engage, position and prioritize in an internal context.

Context is everything. And this is where I break out the sports videos.

Football, Rugby and American Football each allow teams to kick goals to score points. But just as internal comms isn’t quite the same as PR, kicking goals in each sport requires different skills in different contexts.

In Rugby, you can either kick goals from a stationary position or on the move. Like this “drop goal.”

It’s worth three points. You score when you aim the ball above the bar.

In American Football, you only kick goals from a stationary position. Like this “field goal”:

It’s also worth three points. Like in Rugby, you score when you aim the ball above the bar.

In Soccer, goals from a stationary position are rare, like this “free kick” by Tottenham hero Christian Eriksen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O2f2FrvdhQ

This goal is “only” worth one point. You score by aiming the ball below the bar.

The siren song of false efficiency

So, for efficiency’s sake, should we harmonize our goal-scoring strategy by always aiming above the bar?

How is that different from emailing links to the earnings call to your production employees. Or simply posting a press release on your intranet?

It’s not. Internal comms and PR are not the same game, even though many of the same principles apply.

Two disciplines, not two professions

Watch the American Football field goal again. Pay attention to the kicker. He is University of Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone.

Rafael is from Brazil. He played soccer through his childhood, and learned to score goals below the bar. As a high school student in the US, he still played soccer:

and also learned to play American Football and kick the ball above the bar.

Rafael is a kicker. He can do both. But he knows the difference between the two.

Kicking in American Football, Rugby and Soccer are similar activities. But they are different disciplines – with different rules, different contexts, and applying common skills in different and distinct ways.

Similarly, IC and PR are different disciplines. It’s possible for people who are good at one to be good at the other, and with IC/PR convergence accelerating, it’s where we need to be. But the difference in technique, positioning and impact can be decisive.

Indeed, they can be the difference between winning and losing. And why lose for the sake of “efficiency?”

Uncategorized

WELCH, FRASER TAKE TOP HONOURS IN 2018-2019 GORILLA GAMES


Toronto/Delft: The Gorilla Games, an internal communication essay contest challenging practitioners to boldly and creatively address challenging hypothetical internal comms scenarios, came to a successful conclusion today, with Stephen Welch of Eleven Consulting winning Gold and Rachel Frazer of MAG (Manchester Airport) winning Silver.  

These UK-based winners were joined on the podium by the internal communications team of Euroclear in Belgium, led by Anne-Sophie Duchene, independent practitioner Gaurav Ghose of Canada, Terry Hart of Designing Successful Change in the United States and UK-based entrants Debbie Aurelius (Peppermint Fish) and Frank Dias (Lloyd’s) winning Bronze.

The winning entries will be compiled into a white paper by lead sponsor ContactMonkey and available for download in February. The judges and winners will also appear on a Webinar scheduled for March.

“This was a bold experiment – and I’m delighted that we had winners that genuinely challenge norms and practices in the internal communication space,” said co-sponsor and Lead Judge Mike Klein of Netherlands-based consultancy Changing The Terms. “The spread of winners, covering in-house and consultancy and a range of geography made for vivid scenarios that are relevant to IC pros everywhere.”

“We were delighted with the entries, and the winners certainly embodied the ‘gorilla’ spirit we were looking for,” added Scott Pielsticker, CEO of ContactMonkey. “We were also thrilled to have the opportunity to give the IC community a push to be more bold, daring and innovative, and look beyond over-used tactics and one-size-fits-all solutions.”

Mike was joined on the judging panels by UK-based judges Silke Brittain and Neil Jenkins, US-based Jason Anthoine and Ashli Davis, and Canada’s Priya Bates. The panelists judged the entries based on innovative thought leadership and use of creativity.

Participants entering the contest were invited to submit entries in response to a number of common scenarios within the internal communication profession and apply a “guerrilla” approach as a solution.

The Gorilla Games competition was officially launched on November 1, 2018 by ContactMonkey, an email tracking service for internal communication professionals, and Changing the Terms, an internal communication consultancy based in the Netherlands, in an effort to jumpstart the flow of new thought leadership and content into the internal communication profession.

ContactMonkey is based in Toronto, Ontario and focuses on innovative solutions for internal communications professionals with its out-of-the-box solution to email building, tracking, and analyzing for Outlook. It is the only solution that enables you to measure individual and overall employee email engagement and send beautiful responsive HTML emails from Outlook to Outlook distribution lists using their intuitive drag and drop Email Template Builder.

Changing the Terms (CTT) is based in Delft in the Netherlands and works through a global network of relationships. Mike Klein, CTT Principal, is one of the world’s leading internal communication bloggers, and is the author of “From Lincoln to LinkedIn,” a communication manual outlining guerrilla-style approaches.

For more information please contact:

Katie Liston, Head of Marketing at ContactMonkey

Email: katie@contactmonkey.com

Mike Klein, Principal, Changing The Terms

Email: mike.klein@changingtheterms.com

Uncategorized

The present and future of Internal Communication: Introducing the Happeo IC research series

happeo

Late last year, I was given an offer I couldn’t refuse.  

Happeo, a digital workplace vendor based in Amsterdam, asked me to do an in-depth research study looking at the present and future of internal communication.  

As someone who has been a practitioner, commentator and agitator in the IC field, the opportunity to look qualitatively at what practitioners think about what is going on in and around our profession – and to have the remit to seek input from those who employ us as consultants, managers and specialists – is proving interesting, exciting, and more than a little alarming.

My research has six parts, each based on twelve conversations.  The goal – to identify the gap between where we are and where we need to be, and what our stakeholders will demand of us to deliver and demonstrate value as the world around us accelerates and changes.

The first report covers the current state of internal communication as leading practitioners see it. The second, which I am currently completing, addresses how practitioners see the near-term future.  Additional reports will cover measurements and business cases, how corporate communicators perceive internal comms and what senior managers and leaders will need as the overall business environment changes.

You can find the first report here: https://www.happeo.com/changing-the-internal-communications-game

If the first report is any indication, the series has the potential to serve as a much-needed wake-up call for a profession whose fundamental importance is exceeded only by its collective difficulty in illustrating that importance to the people who depend on it.

This is sponsored research – and Happeo has an agenda to make itself known as an emerging leader in the internal communication space. And, in giving me, a credentialled advocate for a strategic, dynamic and sustainable approach to IC, free rein to define questions and select a global panel of active in-house IC practitioners and consultants, there is a commitment to do so by identifying fundamental issues and empowering practitioners to confront them.

Through the articles, reports and events connected with this research, my intent is to help change the conversation around our profession – and leave people prepared and empowered for what lies ahead.  If you want to discuss, please ping me at mike.klein@changingtheterms.com.

 

Uncategorized

The annual Changing The Terms poem: 2018-style

It’s poem time

At Changing The Terms

The annual verse

Of IC twists and turns

 

A changing world

Of metrics and tech

Yet old-school leaders

Keep breathing down neck

 

A poster – a roadshow

They still want that stuff

A trusted advisor?

Most still think we’re fluff

 

Millennials

Also make demands

Consumer-grade comms

They want in their hands

 

The tech is there

To fit any budget

But are silver bullets

What’s needed to nudge it?

 

I’m doing some research

For Happeo

To see what will move

Your busy CEO

 

To give you the platform

You say you need

And spark collaboration

And power and speed

 

My own twists and turns

Were quite to see

After six months in Frankfurt

It’s consulting for me

 

New ventures sparked

From cool to funky

Like Gorilla Games

With ContactMonkey

 

If you haven’t entered

The time will soon pass

So send us your essays

For prizes with sass

 

Next year is coming,

Let’s pick up the pace

IC folk do it

With style and grace

 

And for all in whom

The IC flame burns

Happy holidays to all

From Changing The Terms

Uncategorized

New guest blog posts: why I am an internal communicator – and what IC folk need to do to move farther

I’ve continued my blogging in recent months on new and different platforms – as I generally like providing content for my friends, and of course, I enjoy reaching new audiences.

Earlier this fall, and building on a presentation I gave at the IABC EMENA Leadership Institute in Vilnius, Lithuania, I wrote the following piece – which speaks to why I am an internal communicator. This one was for the fine folks at H&H:

https://handhcomms.co.uk/5-steps-internal-communicators-maximize-impact/

That much being said, internal communication does not live in a vacuum, and while I am doing reasonably well as an IC consultant at the moment, I am very interested in seeing internal communicators move up the ranks into wider-ranging communication roles.  My latest post shares my thoughts on how IC folk can mover into broader and more senior opportunities, and was published on Rachel Miller’s AllThingsIC blog:

https://www.allthingsic.com/defending-our-turf-or-leapfrogging-into-leadership/

 

Uncategorized

Putting “Next Practice” before “Best Practice”: an interview with Mike Klein on the Gorilla Games

The following is an interview with ContactMonkey’s Filza Naveed discussing the Gorilla Games essay competition for internal communicators.
A guerrilla approach to marketing, more commonly known as guerrilla marketing, can be described as “an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results.”

We believe guerrilla tactics can help unleash your inner creative, which is why we decided to start The Gorilla Games competition. We also think internal comms pros are super creative and can really take their ideas to the next level by applying a guerrilla approach to their ideas.

We partnered with Changing the Terms to bring you “The Gorilla Games.” Internal Comms pros can choose from 5 different situational scenarios or challenges and attempt to solve one or more of these by writing a creative solution, using a “guerilla approach.” The best entries will get a chance to win! Entries will be judged by our esteemed panel a.k.a The Gorilla Troop.

We recently caught up with Mike Klein, Founder of Changing the Terms and one of the world’s leading internal communication bloggers, who helped us come up with the idea for The Gorilla Games. He’s also part of our Gorilla Troop of judges.

We asked him to share with us his thoughts on why he believes it’s important to kick-start the flow of thought-leadership within the IC space and what he’s looking for in terms of the essay entries. So, let’s hear what he has to say!

1) How did the idea for this “Guerrilla” contest come to life?

Awards competitions are a fixture of the communication profession – and are a major focus of leading internal communicators around the world. But by their nature, they are generally a reflection of “best practice” – to provide ideas to be imitated, repeated and polished. At the same time I’d been having some thoughts along these lines, I also realized that the conversation in internal comms had become a bit stale, and we were seeing little content at all coming from in-house folks except for case studies.

In a flash, the idea of an essay competition came to mind. I thought “why not” – most of us know how to write and many of us do more writing than anything else in our jobs. And why not an approach that focuses not on “what we did” – but on what we could do if we were operating at our full potential, free of financial, political or bureaucratic constraints. This idea is at the heart of “guerrilla” internal communication – and is the seed of the Gorilla Games.

2) Why Changing The Terms?

“When you change the words, you change the terms. When you change the terms, you change the rules. And when you change the rules, you change the game.” That’s the philosophy of my practice, and I figured there was no better way for Changing The Terms to have an impact on internal communication than to get people writing, and to change the words, terms and rules of the recognition game in our profession.

3) Why ContactMonkey?

I like ContactMonkey – I like that they are a guerrilla contender creating a space for themselves in the e-mail analytics space. And I noted that an e-mail analytics company has a stake in promoting and celebrating the use of the written word in our profession. ContactMonkey has embraced this idea, and we have been sharing ownership beautifully.

4) Why do you think an essay competition is the way to go for an internal communications contest?

We are all supposed to be visual and digital these days. But all this focus on “vigital” belies the basic fact that the written word remains central to the ability of internal communication to add value and coherence to the organizations we work with. And until now, no one has really recognized this. And in terms of addressing the “what if’s” and the “what could we do with the gloves off”, we can’t do that through videos, testimonials and measurements. But we can write, and write we will.

5) Do you think we have enough thought leadership within the IC space? Or are we lagging behind in this area?

Thought leadership has been lagging a bit – a lot of the writers and bloggers and activists in this profession have gone silent or even gone away from the field. That’s another reason behind the Gorilla Games – to get a new group of writers and thinkers to get into the game, and to do so from a next practice perspective rather than trying to justify previous work as best practice.

6) How will the entries be scored?

In the first round, entries will be judged evenly on readability, originality and impact. We want good writing (though we are very willing to accommodate non-native English speakers), we want people to share their own ideas, and we want readers to believe that something else is possible for IC practitioners by looking ahead instead of behind.

7) What do you hope to accomplish out of this contest?

From an altruistic standpoint, I want to help midwife the next generation of IC thought leaders. And from a selfish standpoint, I want to identify professionals who are seeking the kind of “guerrilla thinking” that both Changing The Terms and ContactMonkey can provide clients and customers with.

8) What is “guerrilla internal communication”?

It’s what we can do even when the sponsorship, finances and attention we “need” aren’t readily available, and we still take on the challenge. Communicating without budgets. When the CEO doesn’t give a crap. When survey fatigue is epidemic and when the old posters have to be left up for no reason. When the chips are down, the back is to the wall and the gloves simply have to come off.

9) Why “guerrilla/gorilla”?

It’s a cheeky way to “Change The Terms” – but it also combines my philosophy with the “ape-like” brand positioning of ContactMonkey. It’s a natural fit.

10) Why the judges?

I wanted IC professionals who are committed to our profession and who cover the bases: in-house, consultancy and academia. US, UK, Canada and Europe. Some are well known, and others are rising stars. People who I know will recognize “gorilla thinking” when they see it. Proud to be joined by Jason Anthoine, Priya Bates, Silke Brittain, Ashli Davis and Neil Jenkins.

Let us know what you thought of our chat with Mike. If you want to add to the conversation or have any questions regarding The Gorilla Games, tweet at us with #TheGorillaGames!

Now that you know the inside story on why we started The Gorilla Games and what we’re looking for, it’s time to put on your guerrilla thinking cap and send us come creative guerrilla entries. Go ahead. Press the button below and blow us away! 👇

Uncategorized

New Content, New Research: Working Together With ContactMonkey and Happeo

After returning to consultancy following a in-house detour that led me to an industrial park in Germany, I came back home and had a thought.

Most of the dynamism in the internal communication field of late has been coming from tech companies bringing apps and diagnostic tools to the IC market. It has become a competitive field, and a few smart companies have hooked up with leading IC personalities to help navigate the IC community and differentiate from the crowd.

It was time to make myself available. But I wanted partners who are committed to the growth of our profession as well as being committed to the growth of their own sales.

I am pleased to report that two vendors and I have connected in powerful and exciting ways.

One vendor is Canada’s ContactMonkey.

I approached them about running an essay competition.

For a profession that has writing at it’s core, the lack of a recognized essay competition struck me as odd, but easily fixable. But more than interested in running a competition, ContactMonkey has been interested in running with it. The result: a challenge to IC folk to take the gloves off and swing from the trees.

In the spirit of Guerrilla Marketing and ContactMonkey’s simian DNA, we’ve proudly and jointly launched The Gorilla Games.

I am delighted to be joined on the judging panel by five communicators who unabashedly call themselves IC Pros and embody the Guerrilla spirit of our profession. They cover all the bases: in-house, consulting and academia; and are getting the job done on both sides of the Atlantic. They are Jason Anthoine, Priya Bates, Silke Brittain, Ashli Davis and Neil Jenkins.

Together, we’ll be looking for next practice over best practice, and for entrants who, rather than simply thinking out of the box, will be willing to tell us what they could do once they rip the box apart with their bare hands. In doing so, we will make available an abundance of fresh content about what IC folk could do when the constraints are lifted off of us.

New research with Happeo

I am also thrilled to announce a second alliance, one with Finland’s Happeo, another ambitious vendor with a current focus on delivering integrated IC solutions for the Google G-Suite.  

Some weeks ago, I posted on the subject of “what I would do with a research budget.” Happeo is putting its money where my mouth is, by commissioning me to generate a series of six research reports looking at “The Present and Future of Internal Communication” to address and write about questions of mutual interest.

I am proud and delighted to be working both with Happeo and ContactMonkey. They both have excellent products. And, most importantly, they are both committed to supporting and strengthening the IC pros and the IC community that make up their market. The content and research both will unleash through our co-operation has the potential to change the terms.

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LET THE GAMES BEGIN: ContactMonkey, Changing The Terms to launch “Gorilla Games” Internal Comms essay competition

The following is a joint press release marking the launch of an essay competition for internal communicators, with ContactMonkey and Changing The Terms giving participants the opportunity to tackle one of five relevant communication scenarios and compete for prizes and recognition.

Toronto, ON/Delft, NL: In an effort to jumpstart the flow of new thought leadership and content into the internal communication profession, ContactMonkey, an email tracking service for internal communications professionals, and Changing The Terms, an internal communication consultancy based in the Netherlands, are joining forces to launch their first-ever essay competition, the “Gorilla Games” focusing on different aspects of what they call “Gorilla Internal Communication.”

“In asking communicators to write about what they would do in relatively common scenarios if they were free to act, we open up insights into a new, ‘guerrilla’ approach to Internal Comms. And since ContactMonkey is involved, it’s only appropriate to change the terms – hence ‘Gorilla’.’ said Mike Klein, Changing the Terms’ Principal.

“The approach is guerrilla in that it challenges prevailing trends. In a profession that sees itself as visual and digital, we are doubling down on the power and centrality of the written word. In a field where the awards are given for best practice, past-based performance, we are inviting people to share next practice, and what they would do if they were enabled to fight with their bare hands.’ said Scott Pielsticker, CEO of ContactMonkey.

Participants for the contest can choose to submit entries in response to a number of scenarios common within the internal communication profession. The goal is for communicators to apply a guerrilla approach as a solution to the scenario of their choice, exercising their creativity and thought leadership.

Participants may submit one entry submission for each category of scenarios if they so wish. Internal communicators wishing to participate in the contest can submit their entries online starting on 1 of November 2018 via the entry form that will be hosted on ContactMonkey’s website. The last day to submit entries is December 1, 2018.

Participants’ entries will be judged on innovative thought leadership and use of creativity. Esteemed judges from the internal communications industry will decide on contest winners.. Moreover, ContactMonkey and Changing the Terms will provide visibility to the winners and their work on one or more of their platforms.

ContactMonkey is based in Toronto, Ontario and focuses on innovative solutions for internal communications professionals with its out-of-the-box solution to email building, tracking, and analyzing for Outlook. It is only solution that enables you to measure individual and overall employee email engagement and send beautiful responsive HTML emails from Outlook to Outlook distribution lists using their intuitive drag and drop Email Template Builder.  

Changing the Terms (CTT) is based in Delft in the Netherlands and works through a global network of relationships. Mike Klein, CTT Principal, is one of the world’s leading internal communication bloggers, and is the author of “From Lincoln to LinkedIn,” a communication manual outlining guerrilla-style approaches.

For more information please contact:

Katie Liston, Head of Marketing at ContactMonkey

Email: katie@contactmonkey.com                          

 

Mike Klein, Principal, Changing The Terms

Email: mike.klein@changingtheterms.com       

 

Contest Submissions: https://www.contactmonkey.com/gorilla-games?utm_source=mk&utm_medium=af&utm_campaign=ggic