Can You Really "Control the Message" in Today's World?
When Impulse Creative made the move from Fort Myers to Babcock Ranch, we moved into a smaller office space. For most companies, that's a red flag that things aren't going well. In this episode of Wayfinding Growth, Remington and Dan discuss how they planned the messaging around the move to ensure everyone understood the reasons behind it. In essence, they wanted to "control the message" so people wouldn't think the worst.
But the question is: In today's social media world and hyperspeed communication culture, can businesses still control a message? Or is it more influence?
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Make a Proactive Plan
Communicate internally as much as possible, so no one fills in the story they're not hearing. When we don't hear the story, we tend to fill it in with negativity.
Then make sure you're influencing the public communication. First, you have to simply let your customers know you've moved so they don't go to the wrong location. Remember, just because you're there every day doesn't mean they are!
Remington pointed out that in addition to that, we need to ensure people in the world aren't making assumptions. We want to have a plan to proactively inform people of a move so they're not caught off guard.
"We spend so much time working on our brands and getting people to know, like, and trust us, but we can lose that in an instant."
This is why we created an exciting, upbeat video announcing how excited we were about the move, the positives to it, and welcoming our network to our new home. You can check out the Welcome to the New Impulse Creative Headquarters here.
Spin vs. Authentic Influence
"I don't want people to think of it negatively," said Remington of the word spin. "Our job as marketers is to worry about the optics of a situation."
A business could be moving locations for all the right reasons - cost savings to make the business more profitable, finding a great location with modern amenities, reducing space due to a growing distributed team - and you could have one person speak out and say you're doing it for the wrong reason. Too often that single voice with the negativity is the one that gets the attention.
So you have to understand that your goal is to influence and manage the communication in an authentic, honest manner so you're guiding the discussion. This helps you to mitigate the risk of negative perceptions. You can think of it less as spin, and more of an authentic influence.
Marble Floors vs. Talent
Dan asked Remington about the perception of moving into a bigger office space versus a smaller footprint, and what that means in the business world. The new HQ is smaller in part because a growing distributed team means people working from home, talent around the country, and less need for "marble floors and big offices."
"Would you rather do business with someone where 50% of the money you pay them is going toward their marble floors and their 50,000 square feet of office space, or have that money go towards talent?"
In considering the message, Remington wanted to offer the public the pros to our move including making the agency more profitable. That leads to hiring more talent, continuing to grow, and sticking around for years to serve our clients.
Part of that positive message also included highlighting the fact that the new HQ is in a brand new town that's the first completely solar powered community in the US. We're working to ensure our footprint on our Earth diminishes while our business grows.
Lessons Learned from Past Experience
Remington recounts a lesson learned from a past experience, where Impulse Creative decided to upgrade furniture. Standing desks have become a popular option for allowing team members to move during their work days. It's better for health, and a great move for any business that can do it.
Of course, with new furniture comes the need to get rid of the old. In this particular case, Remington simply offered the old furniture to the public, which led to a ton of questions like "Is everything okay?" and "Are you going out of business?" This time Remington knew that we'd want to head off those kinds of questions with a proactive message.
So while you may not be able to control the message as a business, you can certainly work to influence perception through planned, authentic, proactive communications.
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