A Retrospective: What We Learned at FutureComms 2018

 In Comms Heroes

The third annual FutureComms 2019 is taking place on April 24 at New York City’s Gotham Hall. FutureComms has become one of the leading internal communications conferences in the U.S. with over 300 senior-level communicators from the world’s largest companies.

This year, our theme is “Creating Connected Companies” which is the sequel to last year’s “Communicators in Charge.” Our entire focus is to help communicators lead the charge to drive workforce alignment and business objectives.

Very soon, we’ll be sharing more about our 2019 program, but meanwhile, here are five takeaways from last year’s conference featuring comms leaders from Dow, Aptiv, Vodafone, and others. (And we even heard from digital gurus’ Cliff Levy of The New York Times and Scott Galloway of L2.)

Five Takeaways from FutureComms 2018

 

1. Communications finally gets its own platform; and enterprise finally has its own system of record.

Sales teams have Salesforce. Human resources teams have Workday. Marketing teams have Marketo. Now communications teams have a software platform too.

SocialChorus is leading this movement and empowering communicators. No more cutting and pasting or relying on whatever IT gives them. Instead, internal communicators can plan, create, publish, and measure employee communications from a single platform.

2. Video dominates employee engagement metrics.

We presented the Comms Effectiveness Survey, featuring data from our customers’ employees and program performance. From the report, we revealed that video has three times the click-through rate compared to other content, and users come back 60% more often, two or three times per week when our customers are using video-based content.

 

 

3. In an on-demand world, it pays to think like a digital native.

Cliff Levy, one of the architects of The New York Times’ transformation to digital and mobile publishing, told the FutureComms audience that successfully engaging audiences on mobile doesn’t necessarily require short content. Levy, a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, said the NYT’s editorial products, such as First Draft or the Daily Briefing, have been extending their pieces to 1,200 or even 1,400 words on mobile. But they take a very snackable approach to content by inserting headlines, photos, brief paragraphs, callouts, and links to other resources or stories.

4. Embrace the persuasive and predictive power of communications data.

Communicators almost unanimously agreed that they need to get better at tracking and using performance data to improve their initiatives. Charlene Wheeless from Bechtel said she was committing to data, not just for its own sake, but for its predictive powers (for example, measuring communications to forecast the state of organizational health). She talked about a day when we could be predictive and anticipate employee needs or concerns by analyzing what content is being consumed and what isn’t.

She also stressed the need to report communications insights to the C-suite; this will help you demonstrate your value and justify any increased spending or investment in software, technologies, or a team member to benefit internal communications.

5. A successful digital transformation demands a strong internal communications program.

One of the most impactful presentations was from Pam Marko, global director of digital at Aptiv. Marko’s team launched SocialChorus at the same time Delphi was splitting into two different companies, one of which became Aptiv. Pam leveraged SocialChorus to develop effective content and messaging and to connect and engage employees in the transformation of their business.

Using video content, they brought emotion to the story of their mission and placed their employees at the center of that message. In this presentation, the FutureComms audience got a firsthand look at how emotional images and video resonate and engage much more than just written words.

Register for FutureComms 2019: Join the movement and community of employee communications leaders

Register now to join us in New York on April 24, 2019, at the historic Gotham Hall for FutureComms 2019. Also, the invitation-only Customer Forum will take place on April 23. (Both events sold out last year, so make your plans now.)

 

And here are the full 10 Insights from last year’s FutureComms.

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