The role of the corporate communicator has evolved

by Lee Hopkins on February 23, 2012 · 4 comments

in internal communications,marketing,strategy

I’ve been at the Ark Group’s conference on internal communications (today I run a workshop on the social business). Yesterday my IABC colleague Tracey Sen from NSW Department of Education and Communities gave a stirring talk about what she has instigated at DEC and what she sees as the ‘must now know’ requirements of a corporate communicator.

As Tracey sees it—and I fully agree with her—it is no longer enough to know how to communicate with text. Now a communicator must know how to communicate through audio and video channels, too.

That doesn’t  mean, for example, undertaking hours of training in videography and editing affairs; it *does* mean knowing how to pick up a Flip camera, or  your smart phone’s movie camera app) and edit in iMovie or Windows Movie Maker (both of which are excellent products and FREE!).

Tracey also pointed out that today’s in-demand communicators also know (even if just a passing glance) about technologies and processes like Agile, plus the underpinning platforms of your clients’ or organisation’s intranet technology. You need to know, for example, what Sharepoint can and can’t do and what alternatives exist. Not at a techie’s level of knowledge, but so that you can have informed conversations with the IT folk.

Tracey concluded her presentation with a wonderful soundbite:

“Mobile is now where social media was two years ago”

‘Social media’ as a topic of discussion is now dead; leading organisations are already there. The conversations that more advanced communicators need to have  are now around mobile technologies—how can we take what we have on our intranet and our public-facing website and make it available for smart phones?

Australia’s leading intranet specialists, StepTwo Designs, have a plethora of examples of organisations doing really cool and clever stuff with mobile apps; freeing up the data and freeing up the employee or customer to be able to engage even more with the organisation.

Along with Tracey, I urge you as a serious communicator to move on from the social media conversation (‘shall we, shan’t we?"’ – the world has moved on; social is an essential part of the communication matrix) and begin having discussions about how a ‘mobile’ set of tactics can and should be a part of your overall comms strategy.

And ask your IT folk what platforms your intranet and internet sites run on.


  • http://www.deswalsh.com Des Walsh

    Nice challenge Lee. I decided a while ago to eschew the “why social?” conversations and focus on the how, strategically. And now I am facing up to getting more assured about the mobile conversation.

  • Lee Hopkins

    I agree, Des. The challenge for me in Adelaide is that some organisations are still having the ‘why social media? isnt it just a waste of time?’ conversations, alas. But it’s refreshing to see that I’m not the only one out there trying to push the communication profession along :)

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

     I agree, Des. The challenge for me in Adelaide is that some
    organisations are still having the ‘why social media? isnt it just a
    waste of time?’ conversations, alas. But it’s refreshing to see that I’m
    not the only one out there trying to push the communication profession
    along

  • http://www.deswalsh.com Des Walsh

    Not so different here on the Gold Coast + NSW Northern Rivers, Lee.  And part of the challenge is finding Australian (let alone city or state specific) industry-specific success stories But I’ve decided the “convince me” crowd will only just drag us down, so we need to be finding ways to connect with the people who already get it and are ready to be guided on how best to operate in this sphere. As an aside, not totally unrelated to the issues you’ve raised in your post, I also think we as the advisers/consultants lack in Australia the kind or level of peer support I observe our US colleagues giving one another. 

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