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Push Notifications: The Home Screen Advantage

The Wall Street Journal reported that start-up app company, Yo, recently received $1.5 million in venture funding valuing the company between $5 and $10 million – an amount simply for allowing people to push the message “YO” to the mobile device of their friends.

At first glance I thought, “Oh, no – is this the Internet Bubble Part II?” Maybe to the extent Yo is warranting a multi-million dollar valuation and probably doesn’t have any revenue.  However, in thinking more about it, I realized that given what Yo represents in the context of 21st Century technology, the answer was no.

As the Wall Street Journal said, the importance of Yo is the push notification – the alert that takes advantage of the native operating systems of iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices and suddenly appears on the home screen of these devices even when they are locked or in sleep mode.  Push notifications represent the ability to cut through the clutter of the hundreds of emails that we receive and that we have become accustomed to spending hours deleting on a daily basis.

As a consultant to the communications industry for more than 15 years, the push notification as a communications tool is game changing.  Up until now, we have had to rely on strategies like media relations to get others to make our point for us with the hope that our targets will read or view what is written; to attend conferences to present our story to a finite audience;  to create websites that we pray our audience(s) will proactively seek out; or to pay significant sums for advertising to ensure that our messages aren’t distorted.  Push notifications represent a new communications method via mobile technology and offers a new way to connect with our targeted audiences in a direct and personal way.  All we now need to figure out is how to get our audiences to download apps we or our clients create and then opt-in to receive the push notifications.

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5 Things to Consider When Creating Employee Engagement Programs

Through our discussions with current and potential clients about theEMPLOYEEapp, we have an opportunity to hear from hundreds of corporate communications professionals about the challenges they face in their work. As you might suspect, the topic of employee engagement often comes up in these conversations.

By now, we’ve all seen the alarming Gallup survey stats which state that more than 60 percent of Americans are not engaged at work, costing employers billions of dollars. A recent CIO.com article gives some great insight and tips on how to develop programs to increase engagement.

Here are some of the tips that we found most interesting:

  1. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” – Before developing a plan, determine your benchmarks for success.
  2. Be real and set goals – You can’t increase engagement if you can’t admit that you have room for improvement. When you set your goals, make sure they aren’t afraid to get to the bottom of some tough questions.
  3. Solicit feedback often and pivot – Ask your employees how you are doing, how a program is going and take their feedback seriously. Make a change based on their responses.
  4. Empower your employees – Give your employees skin in the game. Let them know that they are part of the plan and that their opinions count.
  5. Think outside of the box – Companies should implement some innovative programs to increase engagement, including the use of mobile technology and games.

For more information on how mobile technology can support internal communications, check out the recent feature from CIO Review on theEMPLOYEEapp.

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HCI Employee Engagement Conference Recap

I am sitting on an Alaska Air flight from Seattle to San Francisco having just completed our first conference where we exhibited theEMPLOYEEapp. The event we attended was Human Capital Institute’s Employee Engagement Conference. I can’t help but reflect on the déjà vu experience we had.

It was a little more than two years ago that we launched our first mobile product, theIRapp, at the National Investor Relations Institute’s annual conference in . . . Seattle Washington. When we launched theIRapp in 2012, our take-away from the conference was that it was an “a-ha moment” for many investor relations professionals who stopped by our booth for a demonstration of our turn-key native app Platform as a Service walked away saying, “That’s cool. Oh-yeah! Mobile is a great way to connect with our investors . . .” Fast forward to today and more than 100 public companies worldwide have embraced our platform to push information to their investors; 60,000 individuals/investors from around the globe have downloaded our apps to their iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices.

The reaction this time around at HCI was the same as at NIRI. The internal and corporate communications as well as human resource professionals who stopped by to speak with us totally understood the value that mobile employee communications can play in communicating with a workforce that in many instances is traveling around the world and not tied to a desk. Through our discussions, we learned that up until now, many organizations had a very difficult time communicating simultaneously and instantaneously with their employees. However, they all recognized that one thing has changed in just a couple of years – and that is that almost everyone now has a mobile device. They realized that an opportunity exists to use 21st Century technology – smartphones and mobile apps – to help them solve a problem in their work that seemed impossible. The question was how.

As the communications professionals left our booth at the HCI conference, we heard a reaction similar to the investor relations professionals two years earlier: “Oh-yeah! All my employees have mobile devices. This is a solution that can allow me to communicate with all of them at the same time . . . a-ha.”

Seattle is a great city and I can’t wait to visit again . . . next time exhibiting a different communications mobile app product.

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