106 Communications

6th Sense

Seven things we learnt at Simply-IC Live

May 2020 | Employee Engagement, Internal Communications

On 21 May, hundreds of communications professionals descended on the Simply-IC Live conference run by Simply-Communicate.  A packed afternoon of talks, discussion, insights and virtual love.

Here are our key take-aways.


Don’t mess with Martin Sorrell

The titan of the marketing world is not a person to be messed with, especially if you work in Internal Communications.  He was unequivocal about internal communications getting in the way of communication (which incited comments from the floor!).  Basically his beef is – leaders need to write their own content.  It’s more authentic and quicker.


More value on internal communications

There have been many instances of how internal communications has stepped up in these difficult times. These sentiments were echoed again.  For example, internal comms at Lenova was traditionally just focused on events and product launches; now it’s helping every day.


Video and live streaming are part of the everyday mix

Nearly all the organisations featured in the conference talked about using new tools – especially video and live streaming.  Nationwide are encouraging employees to use video to talk about their roles; Kelloggs have trained leaders on using video to give updates; and Ocado are live streaming in a way they wouldn’t have done before.


There’s no time for dithering

Decisions and communications need to be more instantaneous, so there was a general feeling that not only have communications teams had to step in quickly; they have had to keep the momentum going.  We’ve seen virtual events organised, mental health programmes launched, radio reinvented – as well as the daily digest of updates.


WFH will no longer be a ‘nice to have’

A consensus that working from home has been a huge transformation that will change the way many organisations work in the future.  For example, Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club will definitely be more flexible working from home in the future; while Nationwide saw 11,000 people working from home overnight!


Lockdown has been a real test of values

For Ocado, the crisis has been a hard test of their purpose and values – and they feel they have come through stronger.  This was echoed in other discussions.  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.


We all need a hug sometimes

Mental health played an important part in many communications strategies.  But sometimes we can forget the communications teams that have never been put under so much pressure as now.  Den talked about moving into crisis communications mode at British Airways, and these times seemed to weigh heavy on him.  As it has probably done so on so many other people in the communications profession.  Sometimes we all need a hug!

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