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Mobile World Congress: Connected Living

Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest mobile shows in the world, took place last week in Barcelona. As always, the conference attracted the mobile industries top players including Samsung, Android, Sony, LG, and HTC. This year, a major underlying theme across the 1,800+ exhibitors on the floor was connected living. Technology is quickly moving beyond phones and tablets and toward watches and other wearable devices. Chinese telecom giant Huawei unveiled a smartwatch that became one of the most talked about products of the event, with a design based more on a traditional watch than the flat wristbands that we have become used to seeing.

The conference was home to other innovative product announcements, including iris recognition smartphone technology, virtual reality devices, and—demonstrating just how much technology is intersecting with our everyday lives—Ikea even unveiled furniture that can charge your phone.

Fitness bands used to track your health and exercise activity also dominated the conference, including one created by HTC and Under Armour. Volvo, Renault-Nissan and other manufacturers premiered connected cars that are far more connected than ever before and include gesture controls, remote locks controlled via smartphones, video conferencing and real-time road safety analysis and communication.

Personalized technology is in our immediate future and based on what we saw at Mobile World Congress, we will have many choices about who provides us with it. Mobile technology will be the connector between health and fitness, entertainment, finance, transportation and of course communications in our daily lives. We are quickly nearing the point where technology will be part of everything we do!

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Communicating strategy – Not just a “one and done”

For most companies, the first of the year is a time to rally the troops – a time to get laser focused on the company’s strategy and a natural time to communicate annual goals and the role individuals, teams and organizations play in bringing that strategy to life.

Sound familiar? I hope so. In fact, I love the sense of systems and renewal within the seasons society has engrained in us. Every January feels like a fresh start – an opportunity to hover up to the ‘big picture’ and set a roadmap for the year ahead.

That said, all too often the “big push” for strategy communications comes early and often in the beginning of the year – the email from the CEO outlining the strategy, the brand-new intranet page with the supporting detail, and the cascading of performance goals and measures throughout the organization.  While these activities are mission-critical for setting the baseline, communicating company strategy is an evolving, engaging, and multi-channeled experience – more like a constant and consistent conversation vs. a “one and done” approach.

Once the strategy is rolled out and the goals are set, it’s about tending the fire and making it real. Along the way, you have to help people see themselves in the strategy – empowering them to contribute to the whole, trusting their intelligence, and highlighting proof points in a consistent and multi-dimensional way.

How? Keep these guiding principles in mind:

Leverage social and mobile to keep the conversation alive. Many companies are moving towards social and mobile-first intranets and applications – allowing instant communication outside the clutter of day-to-day email. Mobile-first applications can also provide leaders and communicators a curated experience (e.g., targeting by role, function or location) and guide them toward parts of a strategy or a conversation that are most relevant for them.

Think in terms of big “C” and little “c” communications. Big “C” communications – the all-hands meetings, the formal organizational announcements – are critical, but they aren’t the only way to communicate strategy. There is real power in the small, day-to-day conversations (i.e., little “c” communications) that help individuals and teams gain understanding and meaning for themselves.

Communicate strategy with an agile approach. This software development approach is based on a few key principles: small teams, iterative and incremental changes, room for experimentation and interpretation, face-to-face communication and quick feedback cycles. Applying this same mindset to strategy communication can give individuals and teams an opportunity to engage with the strategy vs. just being told what it is. Engaging teams in two-way dialogues, holding regular Q&A sessions with leaders and amplifying examples of how individuals or small teams are adding real value can have a powerful effect on how quickly a company can actualize a global strategy.

Communicating strategy can’t be a ‘one and done activity’ – it’s a conversation, a lifestyle, a muscle that must be built with intention and rigor. Here’s to keeping your company’s strategy alive, purposeful and thriving all year long!

 

Caitlin Strauss Corda is a consultant at Blue Beyond Consulting. In her role she helps organizations, teams and leaders thrive in times of change. To connect with her or the Blue Beyond Team, visit www.bluebeyondconsulting.com

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Twitter Chat Recap: Is Internal Comms Going Mobile?

Last week, APPrise Mobile teamed up with PRSA for a twitter party to discuss how companies can engage with their dispersed workforce. Nearly 100 communications professionals from all over the country took part in sharing their thoughts, questions and strategies around the ways their companies are communicating with their most important audience – their employees.

By the end of the chat, it was clear that those participating understood the opportunity that mobile technology presents and the ability it affords so that organizations large and small can communicate instantaneously with a workforce that is not all under one roof. Although everyone is on board with mobile, not all companies are embracing a mobile communications strategy. Email still seems to be the most common channel employers are using to communicate.  However, as it was discussed during the chat, the issue with email is that employees tend to receive hundreds on a daily basis making it likely that they’ll miss something important. This affords mobile technology, and the software that supports them, such as apps, the ability to be a game changer for communicators.

The opportunity for a company to have its own mobile app means they now have the ability to push important information directly to their employee’s devices, and have notifications appear on the home screens of those devices. Push notifications represent the ability to cut through the clutter of the emails received and target our employees in a direct and personal manner.

Below are some highlights from the chat.  If you want to see more, search #PRSAchat on twitter.  Make sure to stay up to date with us on Twitter for future social events!

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