Mike Sewell blog: Whipping up an agile content strategy

Sometimes you just have to look for the positives.

That’s what I’ve been trying to do after turning 50 last week – at least it means I’m eligible to play over-50s cricket, and I’ll go into a different, ‘easier’ age group when I next get round to doing a Park Run.

Before last week, I had feared that spending my 50th at a business conference in Bristol might not be the greatest birthday experience but, actually, IOIC Live 2017 proved me wrong.

The event, organised by the Institute of Internal Communication, was packed with nuggets that will inform the way CPL people shape the future communications strategies of our clients.

And it will also help us take CPL forward as an agency, particularly in refining our purpose and what makes us stand out.

Topics covered during IOIC Live included: strategies to combat email overload; tips for preparing people for change; a suggestion that it’s time to embrace employee relationship management (ERM) alongside customer relationship management (CRM); and a couple of fascinating sessions on the psychology of effective leadership communication.

For example, according to Graham Cox, from Boundaries Edge, 86 per cent of a CEO’s decisions are based on feeling – using the emotional part of the brain – while just 14 per cent are based on reason. Ring any bells?

Much of the input on psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) echoed the insights and perspectives we’ve helped our client Indigogold share over the past couple of years. You can also learn a whole lot more on this subject from another CPL client the British Psychological Society.

There was plenty of chat about the four pillars at the heart of successful employee engagement, the pros and cons of different communication channels and employee social networks and – last, but definitely not least – the constant need for flexibility and agility.

I was reminded of this when I sneaked away for a drink in Bristol with my daughter on Thursday evening.

She and some fellow students have set up an online satirical magazine, The Whip Bristol. They have shown an admirable determination to measure performance, and to be agile in experimenting with different approaches, content and headlines to drive more engagement.

On one level, I’m sorry that one of the more tangible outcomes from her £9,000 a year tuition fees will be stories such as:

- Student with uncracked phone screen deemed ‘too organised’ for friends;

- Student launches global non-profit to avoid revision; and

- Student feedback survey indicates students “absolutely desperate" for more student feedback surveys.

But, as I said at the start, maybe I should just look for the positives; they’ve had loads of likes from their target audience, the analytics are impressive and they are delivering an agile content strategy week in, week out.

Perhaps The Whip Bristol would make a good case study for IOIC Live 2018?

Mike Sewell
is Managing Director
at CPL

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