Technology and the impact it has on the changing landscape of communications were major themes at the International Association of Business Communicators’ Annual Conference held this week in San Francisco, California.
It's easier to bring an idea to life today than ever before. Social media has enabled individuals to quickly connect, raise capital and create products at scale. During his keynote presentation at the conference on Monday, digital strategist and author Aaron Dignan emphasized that while it took TV decades to reach 50 million people, today technology can achieve that same result in days. Almost everyone has a phone in his/her pocket with more power than the computer we used to get to the moon in the '60s. And consumers assume that next-generation technology will be twice as good. This is democratized technology at a global scale. How do communicators manage in this environment?
Within corporations, shared values and shared understanding keep all the different functions operating towards the same objectives. Communications teams will soon turn to implementing more commercial-based enterprise technology in the workplace.
For example, a relatively new app called Slack offers messaging services to organizations. This goes well beyond the basic instant message. With Slack, conversations are formed around interest groups, projects and specific teams to knit together commonalties quickly. The trend of increased connectedness will soon go beyond basic two-way methods to multi-faceted interactions. Micro-connectedness will be a major trend for employees to stay in touch with one another.
Externally, organizations must also adapt to keep up with the latest technologies. It will become more imperative than ever to tell a story of purpose to engage key publics such as future and current employees, potential and current customers, and industry experts. To do this, organizations will need to really know these audiences through data analytics so that they can target high quality campaigns to specific interests.
Allyson Ward Neal, web and writing supervisor for Chevron USA, illustrated this point, saying that by using software like Google Analytics, companies can sift through user profiles, locations, duration on a specific page and links clicked to create specialized content that allows a user to interact even further with the media or sales team.
Technology will always change. In fact, every five years, a new set of Fortune 100 companies will move in and out of the marketplace. As communicators, we must use technology to dig deeper into the profiles of our key publics to generate better external efforts and we need to better facilitate new methods of internal communication.
Jessica Nielsen is vice president of communications & marketing at Lockheed Martin.