Mathew Lowry

What happened when I was invited to “do a Rápido” at the IABC’s conference in Rotterdam earlier this week.

A Rápido, as I explored with it’s originator Ezri Carlzebach last year, is a maximum 5-minute image-rich presentation on any topic related to the conference theme. Given that the IABC are focusing on Driving Business With Communication this year, I thought I’d take the ideas from last year’s Time to integrate Innovation into your Comms strategy and make them a little more accessible.

In the end I rattled through and got to the end with more than 20 seconds to spare. You have a little more time, because I’ve divided the show into 3 slideshares, with one numbered note for each slide from my speaking notes.

  1. Maybe communications hasn’t changed that much from the 20th century. Back then, all you had to do was interrupt people with ads as they watched TV, or read newspapers. Content was scarce; they had nowhere else to go. Simple!
  2. Then for a moment everyone was a content producer?!?
  3. And now the Internet is starting to look more like TV again. But instead of sitting around watching, we’re congregating in social platforms, where the entertainment is each other.
  4. But communicators are still just interrupting us with ads! We call it native ads in our newspapers & content marketing in our newsfeeds, but most of it’s really just interruption advertising.
  5. And the first signs of content marketing failure are already visible, because platforms cannot be designed for brands and people at the same time. Their interests oppose.

Note: Slide 5 compares the number of YouTube subscribers of Redbull (marketing budget: 2bn/year, 5m subscribers) with PewDiePie (marketing budget: minimal-to-zero, 43m subscribers). Hat tip: Branding in the Age of Social Media (Harvard Business Review).


  1. Maybe instead of using communications to tell people what a great product we have, we should use communications to make a better product, and then communicate that.

    What would that look like? Consider:

  2. We all know you can’t have good external communications without good internal communications – you need to integrate them to get your organisation’s stories out there
  3. So let’s think about all that knowledge pouring into your organisation via your staff’s social networks, from social media monitoring programmes, front desks, website comments and more. Is it getting where it needs to go inside your organisation?
    And who’s responsible for that? Internal comms, right? But a lot of that info comes from outside – think social media monitoring, user feedback – so maybe it’s external comms?
  4. Short answer: integrate external comms, internal comms & knowledge management. 
  5. But didn’t you read somewhere that the best external communications involves everyone? You need to turn your staff into Social Media Ambassadors!
    Better make sure your training programme is up to scratch!
  6. But “staff as Ambassadors” only works if your staff are engaged. So get yourself an employee engagement programme too.
  7. Of course, employee engagement and training go hand in hand, and both are supported by internal comms.
  8. But aren’t engagement, training and internal comms also closely linked to your innovation programme? Engaged employees are not just the greatest communicators you could have – they’re also the best source of innovation you’ve got.

    IF you empower them.

  9. But you can’t just engage your staff in an ideation programme about your products – you have to engage your users, audiences and stakeholders too.
    Oh, and turn them into Ambassadors while you’re at it.
  10. … but wait, that’s an external comms responsibilities, right?

  1. All of this begs one question:
    External and internal communications, knowledge management, training, innovation & ideation, employee engagement… how can you possibly fit all these pieces together, and create a company which uses communication to innovate, and communicates its innovations?
  2. The framework I like is to see all these teams as a single Internal Innovation Community.
  3. Its missions: Get your internal content out there
  4. Get all useful knowledge – external and internal – to where it needs to go, inside and outside your organisation
  5. And create an innovation & communications culture throughout the organisation.
  6. Because this is a strategy, and if it doesn’t tackle culture, then it’s breakfast.
  7. And what’s at the heart of all this? Well, it’s a knowledge economy…
  8. So go manage your knowledge

librarianPS Luckily the whole event took place in a library, so my last slide was rather apposite. But if anyone has a less sexist cartoon for a librarian, please let me know.


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