How marketing can help you handle change

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A strong communication plan can make or break a change programme.  If it’s an internal change, you need your employees to buy into it and feel involved and informed from start to finish.  If it’s something which you need to broadcast externally, you want to hit the right audience with the right messages at the right time. It’s therefore essential that marketing is core to any transformation strategy and should be involved as early as possible in the process.

Some typical change scenarios may include a change of company name or a re-branding, a reorganisation of the business, a change of strategic direction, or outsourcing of parts of the business.

Part of a marketing team’s remit must be to formulate key messages and an appropriate timeline for the communications.  The words that you choose during a change process and the channels that you use to communicate them are essential for inspiring trust and respect in your leadership and belief in the change you are looking to bring about.

A marketing communications professional will be experienced in the change process and will have an informed view on what channels work best for the particular message you wish to convey.  These may include a mix of cascading information via line managers, town hall meetings, ‘brown bag lunches’, posters, focus groups, product demonstrations, roadshows, workshops, newsletters, webcasts, FAQ documents and blogs – to name but a few.  But each channel serves a different purpose.  For example, you should only ever communicate a major news item face to face.  Fail to do so, and you’re on a fast track to losing the respect of your workforce and customers.

Before that tactical process of communication even begins, your marketing adviser will be instrumental in identifying the audiences, what you want to say and how you want your audience to be involved.  Great communication is essential to building long-term trust and maintaining values and culture during times of transformation.  If you are embarking on any kind of change, make sure that marketing communications is involved right from the start, not as something of an afterthought.



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