Communications as an ecosystem by carl Sylvestre

It can work like a charm. A program is launched or the season is announced and everyone within the organization can talk with familiarity and enthusiasm about the general concepts. The message is clear and team unity has been achieved. I’m often invited to bring coherence to projects so that a uniform façade is achieved. At its foundation, what is being asked is to build an ecosystem where everything supports the living (and non-living) portions of an organization. The key to building a great ecosystem is having an excellent communications apparatus.

At its basic level communication can inform and make potential customers aware of an organization’s offerings. Thus it is important that everyone knows and is clear about the offerings. This starts with the sharing of information from a central point. A Director of Communications or a Consultant often fills that role. Starting from a central point is critical because the message is certain to suffer in the transmission process. The central point preserves the first generation of information and will be the reference point when needed.

Once the key messages that need to be distributed are clear, it is time to review all the tools at your disposal to send them on their journey. The tools vary. An audit of these tools might be: a one-to-one conversation, a staff meeting, a press release, a press conference, an update for the website, facebook, a brochure, a twitter feed. The list multiplies based on as many different type of audience on the receiving end of that message. When these tools are used the original message goes through a translation process. Some recipients of these tools are only interested in only a specific portion and not others. Clarifications are often needed and when that happens it is important for the recipient to know that they should contact the Director of Communications or Consultant.

The Director of Communications or Consultant serves as the center point in the ecosystem in disseminating key information. That individual is responsible for the Marketing Communications. The marketing of communications is a management process through which an organization enters into a dialogue with its various audiences. The Marketing Communications has to address the specific connection needs of members in the distribution network and other shareholders. The task of informing, persuading, and reminding and differentiating are primarily activities targeted at consumers or end users. There is often an overlap and different audiences are interacting in the periphery of the central point. What we learn in the process is that all the different parts of the organization do not exist in isolation from each other: each one is part of a wider system.

As we try to stay on message, it is important to remember that effective communication is accepting that we are part of a wider network with human resources at its core. To manage this core the Director of Communications or Consultant needs to be aware and accept that it is a moving target which needs to be managed well at both the macro and micro level. In their role at the center of the ecosystem this individual is instrumental in making sure that things are not lost in translation. Being on top of this moving target helps to make sure that a uniform front is maintained and it will go a long way to make sure that other parts of the ecosystem are free to focus on their work.