Authenticity can mean the difference between connecting with your audience and losing them to a competitor.
Glenn Boyet, director of corporate communications at AmeriQuest Business Services, says being truthful and transparent is one the most important goals for brand communication.
In this interview, Glenn discusses the importance for keeping communication simple, the necessity of coordinating public relations with social media and using content to inform and educate rather than sell.
What are you most looking forward to in your new position as director of corporate communications at AmeriQuest Business Services?
Since coming here I already love the great team I have and our larger marketing department. Working with talented people is a great position to be in and I’m happy to join such a forward-thinking company.
I believe that results matter. Seeing our media placements go up and make an impact, synchronizing PR and social media, and creating great, informative content is where we continue to excel, and I am glad to be part of it.
What are some of the key components of a successful corporate communication strategy?
I see so much complication at many places I have been. First rule…keep it simple. Second, don’t go back to the drawing board every time something needs to be communicated. Draw on existing content and repurpose.
Keep stakeholders involved; you never know the feedback you can get from outside the walls of “corporate communications.” Create a plan, not a plan for planning. Make that plan a flexible living document. Finally, create relationships throughout the organization and with your vendor partners. I can’t stress enough how positive relationships make a difference.
Also, one thing I learned from Tony Hill, the wonderful former CEO of Micro Focus in the UK: “Debate vigorously, create consensus and then get on board.” This is something I try to do and encourage my team to do.
And finally, finally, check your ego at the door. Be inclusive and don’t take editing personally.
What is one of the biggest PR mistakes brands make?
Conflicting messages about what they do and can provide. Remember, I am speaking from a B2B perspective. This often shows a lack of coordination between web content, PR and social media.
Another mistake is not trying to latch themselves to trending topics in the news.
How does your communication strategy differ for a financial services brand versus other brands?
We are not a financial services brand, but we handle financial process automation, capital asset management (with a financial services component) and procurement services. That in and of itself is unique, with the ability to automate much of the B2B process, which is error prone, time consuming, resource intensive and paper-based.
What is the most important lesson about communication you’ve learned throughout your career?
Be truthful. Always. A little spin is one thing, but building campaigns on “vapor” will come back to haunt you, especially if one of your key audiences are financial and industry analysts.
With so much content saturating the marketplace today, how can businesses stand out?
Make your content fun, engaging and informative. Organizations that help educate and inform rather than tout their own product in their content strategy are more likely to gain prospects and loyalty.
Don’t be afraid to take an opinion on issues of the day. Better to try than not. One of the neatest campaigns I saw recently was when Kanye West came out regarding his financial situation. The Philadelphia Police Department tweeted to Kanye about joining the police force and that at the salary rate he could expect, he would be debt-free in some 350 years.
It was funny and it linked to a current topic and the point…to attract young applicants in an urban environment to consider law enforcement for a career. Great short campaign with content that was fun and interesting.
What advice do you have for organizations looking to improve their communication?
Hire great people and treat them well. Have defined processes that are clear and concise. If you use agencies, make them an extension of your team, not just some transaction provider. Give them access to your C-Suite. With that, you are set to succeed. And lose the jargon.
Rapid Fire Round
1. If I won the lottery, I’d…finally be lucky. But seriously, if I won big, the first thing is to take care of my family. Everything else is like a cherry on top.
2. My hobbies outside of work include…avid sports watcher, coaching youth basketball, reading (history and non-fiction), film and media history and useless trivia.
3. One thing most people don’t know about me is…I love to cook. I just don’t have lots of time. I had a great teacher in my mother.
4. My biggest pet peeve is…the overuse of the word proactive, which I maintain is not a proper word. And other jargon words.
5. My daily newspaper of choice is…The Washington Post. I can get all my political news in a non-objective fashion and follow my beloved George Washington Colonials at the same time.
6. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…my two cats. They own me.
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