How do you share a consolidated voice and best practices across departments?
“How do you share a consolidated voice and best practices across separate departments?”
A marketer from Kaiser Permanente asked this question in one of our workshops. It’s one of the Top 100 Questions on Content Marketing.
The first step in sharing one voice and best practices across separate departments is to take a big-tent approach in creating your brand messaging, voice, and metrics.
Involve different departments in co-creation
Taking a big-tent approach ensures you involve key stakeholders from each department in co-creation, which helps ensure buy-in. It also increases the chances that your stakeholders will share more information with their teams.
Take a big-tent approach when co-creating these key items:
- Your brand’s Message Map
- Your organization’s writing guidelines and other expressions that guide your brand voice
- The marketing mission and one-page marketing strategy. Can’t fit your marketing strategy on one page? Here’s a link to our template.
- The best practices your organization will follow, such as best days and times to send emails or share social media posts
- Your marketing metrics.
While taking a big-tent approach creates initial buy-in, you’ll need ways to consistently, regularly share best practices, updates, and results across your organization’s different departments.
Train departments, including marketing, together
It’s necessary, but not sufficient, to co-create your essential brand and marketing framework together. Next, you need to train all employees on your brand message, your brand voice, and your best practices.
Some companies do specialized training for each department, but we recommend training departments together. Why? Because training departments together has 3 main benefits:
- Everyone hears the same message in the same way at the same time. That reduces the chance of anyone hearing something different from the way your organization planned it.
- Everyone gets to hear the reactions and questions from other departments, enabling open discussion about how other departments will put things into practice, and reducing the chance of cross-department friction.
- People meet new fellow coworkers, which facilitates more cross-department communication and helps break down any silos that may exist.
Ideally, training people together sparks a healthy dialogue, encourages back-and-forth, gets more people’s voices heard, deepens understanding, and enables the best ideas to cross-fertilize.
Share content in different ways
When sharing content across your organization, consider that different people like to consume information in different ways. Some people prefer to read or see a visual representation, while others may prefer video or even audio.
For example, if you have a new overview pitch deck, in addition to just releasing the deck to your employees, record 2 or 3 different people presenting the deck. One message, delivered by different messengers.
Some employees internalize the information better this way. As a plus, you’re letting employees know that there is more than one way to present the deck, giving them the freedom to apply their own presentation style – and come across as human rather than robotically.
Share content regularly
Do you have a system for sharing new content across your organization? If not, put one in place. Simply posting new content to your website and/or intranet is not enough.
Keeping a consistent cadence lets employees know there’s new content to read and new social media posts to share with their networks. Tailor the updates to how often and how best your employees consume information – whether email, voice mail, instant messenger, etc.
Share results at monthly and quarterly update meetings
Finally, sharing content and best practices is not enough. To ensure you close the loop on your strategy and keep everyone updated, share metrics with a cross-functional team in monthly and quarterly meetings.
That way, each department will see their results, plus results from other departments. So you can make smart decisions as a group, based on one set of facts, the data that everyone can see at the same time.
“How do you recommend sharing a consolidated voice and best practices across separate departments?” is one of the Top 100 Questions on Content Marketing. You can find the answers here.
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