Seven things we learnt at Simply-IC Live

26 May 2020

We joined hundreds of communications professionals at the Simply-IC Live organised by Simply Communicate for a packed afternoon of talks, discussion and insights.

Here’s what we learnt.

Don’t mess with Sir Martin Sorrell.

Don’t mess with the godfather of the marketing world, especially if you work in internal communications. He was unequivocal about internal communicators getting in the way of communications generally. This caused a ripple of consternation throughout the virtual conference as you can imagine. Sorrell reckons it’s quicker and more effective for leaders to write their own content. Hundreds of internal communications professionals beg to differ…

Put more value on internal communications.

Well, we would say this wouldn’t we? But there’s no doubt that internal communicators have risen royally to the challenge in these these difficult times. These sentiments were echoed again and again throughout Simply-IC Live with some great examples, such as internal communications at Lenova now helping every day when traditionally it just focused on events and product launches.

Video and live streaming are now part of the everyday mix.

The recurring theme of new tools and technology featured throughout the conference, especially video and live streaming.  Nationwide building society is encouraging employees to use video to talk about their roles, while Kelloggs has trained leaders to give video updates; and Ocado is live streaming meetings in a way it’s never done before.

There’s no time for dithering.

Decisions and communications need to be more instantaneous, so not only do communications teams have to step in quickly, but they also have  to keep the momentum going. So virtual events, mental health programmes, podcasting all added to the daily digest of updates.

WFH is no longer a ‘nice to have’.

We noticed a consensus that the huge transformation to working from home will change many organisations  forever.  For example, Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club will definitely be more flexible working from home in the future, though don’t ask us how a professional footballer works from home. At Nationwide said hello to 11,000 people working from home overnight.

Lockdown has been a real test of values.

The COVID-19 crisis has been a hard test of purpose and values at many organisations, but many said they have come through stronger. For example, Kelloggs and Nationwide found that their culture stood the test and their leaders and teams were well equipped for the change; while Brighton FC showed that acting with integrity on and off the field came into its own in these times.

Watch out for one another.

Mental health has played an important part in many communications strategies this year. But sometimes we can forget that communications teams have never been put under so much pressure too.  Drew McMillan, Head of Internal Communications at British Airways talked about moving into crisis communications mode. We need to watch out for each other as these times are weighing heavily on many other people in the communications profession. Another reason why events like Simply-IC are so important.

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