Let’s go back to a decade or so… And imagine a request for action in any Government department and watch the progress of it over days, weeks, and sometimes even months. Moving files between bureaucratic layers had been not only a herculean task but also an equally frustrating one. Something that could have been done in a few hours would often take days and what would have been possible in a few days might as well stretch to a few weeks or even months.
It was almost acceptable for such time delays and the communication process was simply used for this. The hierarchies, the protocols, the bureaucratic layers, the layers of designations, the conventions, the procedures, and the system would ensure a delay in the communication process. While there was a responsibility and accountability for roles, there was almost no regard for timelines. Some things could be escalated and most couldn’t be. While the media had been at work most of the time, its impact took much time for course corrections.
And then came social media making this process of communication fast bringing in, the ‘now’ element, instantaneous behaviour, and introducing the concept of immediacy in a never-before manner. It’s not really about the instant gratification behaviour of the consumer but it’s rather more about the mindset of being, living, acting, reacting, and participating in the current moment. And today, even the slow and sluggish bureaucracies are moving towards quicker, swifter, faster, and more immediate communication processes.
Corporate communications externally and internally both have seen this manifestation of immediacy in recent times. Customers, business associates, trade partners, employees, and other stakeholders across the value chain are now in almost complete acceptance and practice of the immediacy in communications.
Almost all leading social media channels including those meant for business communications, nowadays have this feature of putting up stories, essentially the updates that remain available for a short period of time. These are personalised and instantaneous pieces of communications that we see on such channels arising from the users and linked to their experiences – physical and emotional, their likes and dislikes, their actions and reactions, their thoughts and ideas, and their expression of being in existence sometimes.
Such expressions are also a form of storytelling, and there is a similarity with what internal communications can do within a corporate setup. There is surely something to learn from this, which can help the communications teams to achieve their objectives faster. Many decades ago, sales teams and dealer networks were trained about the products and services using flip charts, which had detailed graphics and product literature. But today, this can be done with quick short video stories similar to what we talked about earlier.
As long as the message is embedded in the content, and it is communicated well without errors or miscommunication, without losing the quality of expression, these stories can be great participative tools for the vast poos of employees in any organisation.
The updates on employee onboarding, facilitating their induction, journey through their work roles, pieces of training, workshops, and engaging with them for building human capital, everything can be done through such a participative activity.
It can be a great way to harness the highly potential individual creative talents from within the organisation, pooling them together and aligning them with the larger communications goal could be a great corporate communications practice in the age of instantaneous action.
The immediacy of communication is surely a great advantage that can be leveraged by corporate communications for achieving the goals of their campaigns, both internally and externally.
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