💾 Tech Demand, Holograms (Again), #commspets

💾 Tech Demand, Holograms (Again), #commspets


🍻 To comms! The cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.

Customer expectations are outpacing technological innovation. What is possible is not what is actual when it comes to interacting with company offerings. To use a personal example, why do I have to navigate several sites and portals to keep track of the several bank accounts I need to maintain for my paycheck, retirement, mortgage, investments, credit cards, etc.? Why can’t it all happen in one place?

“Digital empathy” needs to be put into practice, argues Dan McKone in the Harvard Business Review ($). McKone proposes four principles for improving customer service:

  1. Offer customers more control: Customer experience isn’t something that’s done to you. It’s something the customer should proactively calibrate.

  2. Keep it so intuitive, it’s mindless: Tolerance for owner’s manuals is nil.

  3. Provide visibility at points of customer agitation: Transparency about a process, such as a progress bar, improves peace of mind.

  4. Organize with a holistic philosophy: Digital and real life experiences are blurring. Think of how companies monitor their Twitter feed for customer complaints.

Why am I talking about customer service?

Your readers are your customers. Harnessing the latest technology (like emerging A.I. or personalization tools) could be the key to generating the power, advocacy, and loyalty you need to drive the R.O.I. that justifies your job.

Make it easy for the audience to consume, use, and act on your content.

Communications efforts that do not appear to be useful to your audience today may squarely address their needs tomorrow. Just like telephonic and music consumers did not demand the yet-to-be-invented iPhone from Apple, we cannot expect our audience to lead us toward innovations they don’t need right now. 

Consider some of the technology that is available to us today that we aren’t seriously considering for comms: robots that can wander through offices, audio chat platforms like Clubhouse, multiplayer video games, Roku, and the metaverse. Who’s to say that any of these technologies can’t one day be used to further corporate communications?

  • 🐵 You can regain employees’ attention by recognizing the potential reasons why they might be ignoring your comms. (ContactMonkey) 

  • 🦾 Nearly 70% of people using ChatGPT at work haven’t told their bosses about it, survey finds (Insider)

  • 🐌 The Simple Power of the Slow Reveal. Leaders can encourage an emotional reaction to data by using the classic storytelling tool of building suspense.” Instead of using a single slide that shows every bit of data all at once, make the numbers “thrilling” by revealing the data bit by bit. (MIT Sloan Management Review)

  • 🤣 From boosting morale to detecting burnout, companies like Google are discovering the surprising benefits of incorporating memes into internal communications. (Entrepreneur)

—The Bloomberg Way, the guide for Bloomberg News’ journalists 

Demonstrations of holograms from ARHT (l) and PORTL (r).

An Insider reporter became a hologram to understand how the technology might shape the future of work. Rebecca Knight spent time with Andrew Dorcas, the senior vice president of sales and marketing for hologram tech company ARHT.

Dorcas said the most common use cases for ARHT’s technology in the workplace are high-level executive meetings, company town halls, keynote talks, and employee onboarding. Clients include Novartis and DHL. 

“But I doubt the awe would last long,” Knight says. “At the end of the day, a talk from the top brass is still just that. It’s still work, no matter how futuristic.”

Longtime Mister Editorial readers will remember that in September 2022 I made the case for internal comms to experiment with holography because the technology exists but is not yet fully developed and not mainstream, which means holograms have the potential to be a disruptive technology.

Big Tech—Facebook, Microsoft, and Google—are pouring resources into leading commercial and consumer holography software, hardware, and experiences. Mainstream television entertainment companies are investing in and experimenting with the technology. And startups (like Voxon) are starting to offer their first line of hologram products to affluent customers. 

Holograms appear to be edging their way into consumer and enterprise experiences, but whether they will stick around remains to be seen. The costs need to come down dramatically. The base model HoloLens 2, for example, costs $3,500. Magic Leap prices their first set of glasses at $2,300 and Voxon’s initial offering, the VX1, will set the consumer back a staggering $9,800.

What about holograms at the office? There are two companies that specialize in creating meeting experiences using holography. Organizations as diverse as WeWork, DHL, Moneris, and NATO are using ARHT Media’s HoloPresence technology for internal corporate communications.

I interviewed ARHT’s Andrew Dorcas (🔒) about the company’s hologram technology, its uses in corporate settings, and additional benefits to beaming busy execs around the world. Dorcas says:

Our product is not for the brainstorm or internal company meeting. It’s for the event where you want to present an idea where action is expected as a result.

Town halls are a great means of getting top brass closer to regular employees because employees get to ask questions in a much more compelling and meaningful way. Body language is over 50% of communication, after all. Our technology allows that realism to come through. You can’t hide from someone who is standing in front of you.

DHL is a great example 👇. Their CEO hosts a quarterly town hall with employees using our technology where he also makes time for Q&A. They have also used HoloPresence™ for annual meetings and an Americas conference. All of these events were internal only. Another company, Moneris, has used our technology for their sales conferences. 

I’m not saying holography is inevitable for internal comms. But I do think hologram technology is worth looking into, if not for practical use, then at least to help drive creativity and innovation within your internal comms team.

I make the case for experimenting with holograms in comms in the final chapter of the aforementioned mini-book, Innovation in Internal Communications: How Internal Comms Professionals Can Overcome the Innovator’s Dilemma.

Buy the mini-book!

🐶 🐱 🦎 🐟 Share the pet love on Twitter using the #commspets hashtag.

Thank you for being a part of Mister Editorial.

  • Read past editions of Mister Editorial here.

  • If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to others. They can sign up here. Browse the most useful content here.

  • Have feedback? Send me a note at editorshaun@gmail.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Disclaimer: Besides running Mister Editorial, I am the editor-in-chief of Digital Publications at Lam Research. The views in this newsletter are my own.

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If you trust your internal communications team to support a business initiative internally, then you can use the content they create to support your communications strategy externally. In any given business cycle, there are a few business goals external communications must support. They could be commercial priorities, like increasing sales of Product X, or reputational priorities, like promoting the company’s sustainability practices…

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⭐ What CEOs Say on LinkedIn and in Town Halls

⭐ What CEOs Say on LinkedIn and in Town Halls


I’m humbled to be a #WeLeadComms honoree. Thanks to everyone who shared your love and support.

  • #WeLeadComms is an initiative Mike Klein started in March of 2021 to recognize the idea of “communication leadership”—the role of courage and initiative—as a driver of the work being done by communication professionals all over the world.

Now, let’s do some comms together.

LinkedIn is the channel of choice for CEOs engaging the public. But what are all those would-be “thought leaders” talking about on the platform? And are they successful? How should execs show up on LinkedIn? Wonder no more.

Kekst CNC’s CEO LinkedIn Tracker looks at prominent CEOs across the U.K., U.S., Germany, and Sweden. They evaluated 4,494 leaders’ posts in all of 2022 and present several ways to enhance executive profiles on LinkedIn.

Here are high-level takeaways that address questions about how to act, what to post, and how to approach editorial planning on the platform.

  • Personal stories and reflections drive greater engagement. Leaders should create their own voice on the platform, so they can be an effective corporate representative and an inspirational leader.

  • Sharing D&I stories beyond “awareness days” engages audiences. Map topics the leader is passionate about to what’s happening in the business.

  • Sustainability pretty much falls flat unless you link it to your business. (It’s the least-engaged topic.) Connect sustainability to innovation and achievements at the company.

  • Use images and don’t be afraid of long posts. (100% of the least-engaged posts were under 320 characters.) Use image carousels to gain favor with the algorithm.

Some other fascinating findings:

  • Information sharing doesn’t get traction. 100% of the least-engaged posts were simple re-shares of links. You need to add personal insights.

  • The majority (77%) of CEOs post about personal topics (see graphic above), which include writing about public appearances, office visits, personal travel, major global events, career and personal milestones, reflections, and awards.

  • 100% of the most-engaged CEOs come from the finance and tech industries. Follow CEOs in that space to see how they do it.

Bottom line: If you want to elevate your exec’s presence on LinkedIn this year, Kekst CNC’s report is essential research.

Speaking of execs speaking in public…

  • 38% of Americans say companies speak out too much on social issues (up 6 points from July 2022), according to a new report from Stagwell Inc.

Other key findings include:

  • Trending down: 37% of respondents say companies speak out the right amount (down 3 points from 2022), while 25% say they don’t speak out enough (down 3 points).

  • 68% say that when companies voice their opinion on a social issue it’s a marketing ploy (up 12 points from 2022).

  • 59% (up 5 points) say there is more risk than reward (41%) to a CEO speaking out on social issues.

Mister Editorial’s savvy readers know I have some thoughts—and a useful framework—on this topic. Indeed, it’s the fifth-most popular article I’ve published in the past three years.

When Should We Say Something About Social Issues? A Way Forward.

Throughout 2022 I’ve been keeping score. In one-on-one chats, webinars, social media, chat rooms, and even a poll in Mister Editorial I’ve been tracking which topics comms-rades have been asking for help the most. The topic that has garnered the most requests for assistance is in helping decide…

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  • ✈️ Preparing an executive for a trip requires over-preparing. Pro tip: don’t forget your exec is human and needs downtime. (Pro Rhetoric)

  • 🏆 Are recognition programs actually worth the time and effort? (Deloitte)

  • 🏫 Introducing Staffbase Campus, an on-demand learning platform designed for employee comms pros. Collect all badges and certifications. (Staffbase)

  • 📏 A paper in Public Relations Review says measurement and evaluation (M&E) in PR hasn’t changed in more than 50 years. “When M&E collectively is part of communication practice, evidence shows that reports continue to focus on outputs and algorithm-generated fake impact scores, rather than genuine outcomes and impact.”

Noam Chomsky on the linguistic limitations of A.I.

PRCA

The buzz around artificial intelligence (A.I.) will abate as the novelty wears off and the technology sneaks into our everyday experiences. I encourage comms pros to keep tabs on the evolution (and dangers and shortcomings) and dabble in the tech.

Here are some recent articles on the topic.

I’ve reported on the flawed ways Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai discusses bad news at his company, including telling employees to pay attention to the media to understand why the company needs to layoff employees.

Recently Pichai addressed employee concerns about how Google talks about layoffs and cost cutting measures. According to CNBC:

In responding to questions and comments submitted by employees, Pichai read one that said, “double speak is disrespectful and frustrating,” and “bad things happen, no need to make every bad thing sound like a miracle.”

Pichai said in response: “I agree with the sentiment here. The feedback is valid.”

“We should always strive to be as straightforward as possible,” Pichai said. “I think it’s important to understand at our scale, pretty much all communication are public in nature. You’re speaking to the world and there are many, many stakeholders and so at times, nuance is important and words can have a material impact and I think sometimes you see that reflected in some of the communications.”

I guess there could be worse town hall experiences.

Thank you for being a part of Mister Editorial.

  • Read past editions of Mister Editorial here.

  • If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to others. They can sign up here. Browse the most useful content here.

  • Have feedback? Send me a note at editorshaun@gmail.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Disclaimer: Besides running Mister Editorial, I am the editor-in-chief of Digital Publications at Lam Research. The views in this newsletter are my own.

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Channel Effectiveness Survey (Six Question Template)

Channel Effectiveness Survey (Six Question Template)



Why a Channel Audit Is Important

Before you cement your editorial strategy for the year, take a week to conduct a thorough channel audit. The effort can pay off over the next couple of years. Publishing to a platform, rather than to individual channels, is the surest way to increase the return on investment (ROI) for your time, effort, and output. A platform consists of the multi…

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👍 Buy-in for Org Changes, Comms in Decline?

👍 Buy-in for Org Changes, Comms in Decline?


Heads up:

  • This webinar looks interesting: “Know Your Audience: Segmentation for Employee Comms Success” by Simpplr on March 14. Register.

  • Pi Day is March 14. One of the best-performing company-wide emails I ever sent was on Pi Day. The subject line was,
    “3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510…”

Getting organizational buy-in is crucial in moving “past resistance and stagnation, because your path forward will be shaped by realities rather than banalities.” That’s the takeaway in a recent HBR article by Andrea Belk Olson, CEO of Pragmadik, a “behavioral science-driven change agency.”

“Most advice about building internal support for organizational change reiterates perfunctory platitudes, reminding leaders to communicate reasons for the change, or even to be excited about the change themselves,” Olson says.

  • Citing research, Olson argues that this approach “often results in a wave of employee cynicism, doubt, distrust, and negativity, which can relegate change efforts to a slow and painful death.”

What’s needed is a “culture of change acceptance,” which consists of six components:

  • Legitimacy: Engage your organizational change influencers

  • Ownership: Provide everyone a table stake

  • Relevance: Focus on latent change

  • Attainability: Create a series of micro-changes

  • Authenticity: Embody behaviors that support the change

  • Impartiality: Establish a neutral change facilitator

Go deeper.

Last month I surveyed Mister Editorial’s paid members to understand what readers want to see more (and less) of and ways to improve this experience. I shared the results, as well as the actions I’ll take to make Mister Editorial an even better experience.

One tidbit from the survey results (🔒):

  • 96% of paid members say Mister Editorial’s “insider comms,” like the recent memos from the CEOs of Zoom (🔒) and YouTube (🔒), are useful for their job.

If you want to have a say in the crafting of Mister Editorial, become a paid member.

Become a member

🙌 In praise of the press release. “It may stay around, but the formulaic dispatches increasingly will be written by bots.” (Wadds Inc.)

📞 Remote team communication is the new reality. Here are tips on how to communicate effectively with virtual teams. (Poppulo)

🐶 How storytelling at Petco strengthens internal comms. An interview with Diana Kowalsky, senior director & head of Internal Communications at the retail company. (PR News)

✒️ The Asian American Journalists Association has guidance on covering violence in Asian American communities: “Rather than using euphemisms like ‘anti-Asian sentiment’ or ‘anti-Asian hate,’ assess whether it is more accurate to use terms like ‘anti-Asian racism,’ ‘anti-Asian bias,’ ‘anti-Asian rhetoric,’ or ‘anti-Asian violence.’” (AAJA)

✔️ Not sure what this accolade means, other than getting a fancy checkmark next to Mister Editorial’s name. Thank you all for the checkmark!

—Pope Francis in his sermon on Ash Wednesday

“Hope Builds” (☝️) is the name of The Home Depot’s first documentary, one that uses employees to show how the company helps communities recover from natural disasters.

Ragan spoke with The Home Depot’s Lou Dubois (whose job is unclear) about how to work with employees in making such a video. Among the tips:

  • Show, don’t tell, values

  • Get releases for employee footage as it’s collected

  • Balance storytelling and branding

  • Interview more employees than you need for the story

  • Show the video to employees first

Learn more.

Fanatics – Sr. Manager, Internal Communications (remote, U.S.A.)

Flashfood – Director of Comms (remote, U.S.A.)

ING – Internal Comms Expert (Australia)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Director of Comms (hybrid, Cambridge)

On – Head of Internal Comms (London)

RNHB – PR & Comms Manager (Utrecht)

Staffbase – Head of Content (Berlin, Chemnitz, or Dresden)

The Google Books Ngram Viewer is an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any set of search strings using a yearly count of n-grams (e.g., string of words) found in printed sources published between 1500 and 2019 in Google’s text corpora.

Public relations destroys peer professions in terms of how often it appears in the Viewer, but the frequency is dropping faster than confidence in democracy.

  • The chart above plots the frequency of “public relations,” “employee communications,” “internal communications,” and “corporate communications” in the Viewer between 1900 and 2019.

With PR removed, the chart looks like this:

For comparison, here’s how the appearance of our profession compares to mentions of “vegetarian” and “civil war.” (Worrying!)

🙅‍♂️ “mixternal communications” returns zero results.

Have a great weekend! 😎

Thank you for being a part of Mister Editorial.

  • Read past editions of Mister Editorial here.

  • If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to others. They can sign up here. Browse the most useful content here.

  • Have feedback? Send me a note at editorshaun@gmail.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Disclaimer: Besides running Mister Editorial, I am the editor-in-chief of Digital Publications at Lam Research. The views in this newsletter are my own.

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Give and Take (Survey Results)

Give and Take (Survey Results)


Dear Members,

Thanks to everyone who completed the Mister Editorial survey last month. Here are some of the things I learned and how I intend to address them.

  • Side lesson: Survey fatigue and disillusionment occur when readers/participants (in this setting, our co-workers) don’t see survey results or action being taken on the feedback. I’m trying to be a…


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🥧 Layoff Comms, Ambiguous Goals, Feedback Pie

🥧 Layoff Comms, Ambiguous Goals, Feedback Pie


🦁 Hello, March!

  • March 3 is the early bird deadline for entry into the Executive Communications Awards (ProRhetoric)

  • March 8 webinar: “Numbers to Narratives: Using your comms data to make a business case” by a seriously dynamic duo, Jackie Berg + Becky Sennett (Brilliant Ink via ThoughtFarmer)

  • March 8 is also International Women’s Day. You’re prepared, right?

closeup photo of white box

Kelli McClintock (Unsplash)

Mapping internal and external stakeholders is the first step to take when communicating layoffs, according to Jennifer Hirsch of the Grossman Group. Her five-step comms strategy about workforce reduction applies “whether you sit in internal communications, human resources, corporate communications, or a blend of the above.”

  1. Map internal and external stakeholders

  2. Plan your messaging

  3. Coordinate a run of show

  4. Lead with empathy

  5. Look to the future

Go deeper.

Leading with empathy is critical, Hirsch says, because layoffs can be a traumatic experience. Doing so goes a long way in helping employees feel respected.

Is telling CNBC that you’re thinking about layoffs an example of leading with empathy? (Rhetorical question)

  • In an interview with CNBC this week, the CEO of Novavax, John Jacobs, said the company has been spending at a “hot rate,” and plans to cut back, likely including job cuts.

  • “We’re in the process of assessing the global footprint of Novavax, rationalizing our supply chain, rationalizing the portfolio and rationalizing the company structure and our infrastructure,” he said.

  • If I’m at Novavax I’m suddenly super motivated to come to work. (Sarcasm)

News about impending layoffs at Meta is also a badly kept secret, where Zuckerberg’s “year of efficiency” cleverly allows for a fresh round of layoffs—the company laid off 11,000 employees in November last year.

  • Meta staff is complaining that “zero work” is getting done because budgets are still being finalized, according to The Financial Times ($). “Honestly, it’s still a mess,” said one employee. “The year of efficiency is kicking off with a bunch of people getting paid to do nothing.”

Last year I reported on the disastrous way in which Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai talked about layoffs at his company. Pichai spent much of an all-hands meeting talking about the company’s cost-cutting measures.

Pichai’s response:

Look, I hope all of you are reading the news, externally. The fact that you know, we are being a bit more responsible through one of the toughest macroeconomic conditions underway in the past decade, I think it’s important that as a company, we pull together to get through moments like this.

😮 Did you catch that? “I hope all of you are reading the news, externally.”

Employees shouldn’t have to read CNBC, The Financial Times, or a trade publication to understand whether their job is on the line. That’s the opposite of empathy.

🐦 Using Twitter to communicate directly with (or at) specific reporters or niche audiences can be an effective way to garner attention, push back on a narrative, and sway public opinion. (Axios)

📋 The Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) published a guide to PR for company directors to support planning, decision-making, and crisis preparedness. (CIPR)

🍝 25% of HR leaders say communication about company culture is “very challenging” with hybrid work. A throwing “spaghetti-at-the-wall philosophy” contributes to a disjointed employee experience. (Human Resources Director)

👩‍💻 What is a digital workplace? (Aren’t we all working in digital workplaces??) (Reworked)

Claire Stapleton, former internal comms manager at Google, on whether meaning can be found at work

From Workshop’s “2023 Internal Communication Trends Report”

Last month Workshop released their Internal Communication Trends Report for 2023 and some of the results give me agita.

The primary goal for internal communicators in 2023, according to the survey ☝️, is “engaging employees and creating a better place to work.”

  1. “Supporting overall business goals”—which ranks #3 in the survey—should be the number one priority for any corporate comms team.

  2. According to the survey, the number one type of content IC pros would like to prioritize for 2023 is content that reflects company values.

    1. As if stories about how the company lives up to generic values of “teamwork,” “trust,” and “innovate” will solve an “engagement” problem.

    2. See above, point 1.

What does employee engagement even mean?

  • Workshop doesn’t define “employee engagement” in the report, but they do say the top three priorities paint a picture of “connect[ing] employees to the company’s goals, and to each other.”

  • “Lack of employee engagement” is listed as a top challenge for the IC pros.

I’ve heard practitioners define “employee engagement” as:

  • Emotional involvement and affinity with the company

  • Email opens, reading, and scrolling

  • Employee retention; job satisfaction

  • Clicks to intranet content, comments on articles, social activity (e.g., “likes”)

  • Participation in social media ambassador programs

  • Showing up at company events, like town halls, sales meetings, and volunteer outings

  • Giving feedback to management and leadership

  • Sharing information and resources horizontally

  • Productivity (i.e., not “quiet quitting”)

“Employee engagement” means everything and therefore nothing. We need specifics.

From Oak Engage’s “State of IC 2023”

Contrast Workshop’s findings with those from Oak Engage ☝️ (h/t Jenni Field), where the number one concern with IC pros is ensuring the relevancy of their comms.

“Employee engagement” never appears in their survey results.

Why? Are the stark differences in concerns over “employee engagement” a matter of social sciences, where the survey questions define (limit) the choices? If so, what is in the air that encourages U.S.-based Workshop to fish for employee engagement answers and U.K.-based Oak Engage altogether to ignore the phrase?

Or are we looking at a fundamental divide between how IC pros in the U.S. and U.K. see, approach, and do their job?

🔥 I get fired up by these kinds of reports because I empathize with my comms-rades who are overwhelmed with ceaseless demands. Having vague goals only adds to the distress.

  • When your amorphous priority is “engagement,” every request fits the bill.

  • What’s more, how do you measure success when there are a dozen plausible metrics? The goal can never be met.

  • Specific and achievable goals provide structure and sanity.

BDO – Executive Comms (Sydney)

Boeing – Senior Comms Specialist (Everett, WA)

Cisco – Communications Manager, Workplace Resources (U.S. east coast, remote)

Goodyear – Manager, Global Internal Comms (Akron, Ohio; hybrid)

Lego – Director, Comms, Americas (Boston)

Military Officers Association of America – VP of Comms (Alexandria, VA)

Have a great day! ☀️

Thank you for being a part of Mister Editorial.

  • Read past editions of Mister Editorial here.

  • If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to others. They can sign up here. Browse the most useful content here.

  • Have feedback? Send me a note at editorshaun@gmail.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Disclaimer: Besides running Mister Editorial, I am the editor-in-chief of Digital Publications at Lam Research. The views in this newsletter are my own.

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