One valuable lesson taught to businesses in 2020 was the importance of being ready. Each year, organizations leverage an enormous amount of man/womanpower, along with significant funding, to prevent setbacks they see coming. However, how do these same businesses prepare for the growing number of problems no one is capable of predicting?
Figuring out how to be ready for handling anything that may arise is not an easy feat by any means, hence even many of the most prominent Fortune 500 companies recently failing at the task. Whether it’s critical, seasonal, a pandemic – whatever the case – weathering the barrage of storms that blow your way cannot be optional.
To provide sought-after advice on this issue, we sat down with one of our phenomenal partners who deserve to be showcased. Swati Joshi is an accomplished rockstar within the industry who first met Navstella Co-Founder Divya Visentini through the South Asian Women’s Network (SWAN). Based in Atlanta, GA, Joshi’s company Beacon Partners helps businesses develop highly effective communication strategies.
At Navstella, we always place a firm emphasis on the constantly changing world around us. Any company that refuses to adapt – and adapt correctly – will be left in the dust. What a communication strategy essentially does is help businesses manage change, providing deep optics on how to keep a company thriving and moving forward.
“To me, an effective communications strategy is aligned to business priorities,” expert Swati Joshi says. “It takes a step back and looks at what the business is trying to achieve. Creating messaging, channels, lead communicators, and content that help drive that.”
Joshi points out that clients will frequently tell her they’re looking to put out a newsletter, but the first thing she’ll do is immediately stop them in their tracks. Here are some questions she’ll ask first:
At the end of the day, communication is about 1) influencing behavior (whether that’s employees, customers, or investors) and 2) driving some type of result.
“Most organizations define communication as media and how they speak to press,” Joshi explains. “They have a brochure, website, or employee newsletter. A lot of times these are all independent. It’s not cohesive under one voice.”
If you adhere to any new bit of advice at all, let it be this bulletproof mantra: All of your employees need to be singing from the same song sheet. Consistency in messaging is fundamentally key to the customer experience. Everyone needs to be driving toward the same goal, not just checking boxes.
“As I talk to companies that don’t have a strategy, it’s really about showing them how they can benefit,” says Joshi. “There is an underlying connection between having a strategy and driving results.”
Shockingly, according to Joshi, only 40% of companies have a strategy in place, and disengaged employees are estimated to cost businesses a cumulative total of over $450 billion dollars per year. In other words, with each worker who doesn’t understand the company’s goals, the customer is suffering. This disconnect will horrifically tear into the bottom line of any business.
Oppositely, if companies do have an effective strategy, they can grow their operations by approximately 20% over a single year.
“The most important thing for a client in today’s world is to acknowledge and stay ahead of the change,” Joshi advises.
As we all know, 2020 was a year for the history books. One of the most frequently used words for businesses was easily the verb “pivot.” While cliched, this became a universal tool for survival. Businesses pivoted because of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, politics, and much more. Companies were forced to constantly realign their strategies and release opinions that drove how audiences engaged with them. In 2021, they continue with plans they never thought they would see on paper.
As for channels, digital is so much more relevant today than ever, particularly the speed at which we communicate. On that same note, due to all that’s out there coming at us every second of every day, content is dominantly short-form. Videos are also all over the place, many times surfacing unbeknownst to whoever is featured in them. This creates widespread content companies are having to defend.
“The dynamics when it comes to business communications is making sure clients understand the power of communications in a good and bad way,” Joshi says. “Take the time to not only build a strategy but resource it from a staffing and budgeting perspective.”
The numerous ways in which communication impacts a business continue to grow. From employee engagement and the customer experience to a brand’s reputation and their financial bottom line, the need is mandatory and cannot be understated.
We’ve established that the grand prize involves Influencing behavior (internally and externally) and driving results. Helping employees understand business priorities connects employees to customers, enabling everyone. This can drive more productivity, better customer relationships, and financial results.
Does your business need help developing an effective communication strategy? As technology consultants with a strong emphasis on the customer experience, our communications team is ready to offer assistance.