Gina London: You'll see results with use of visual communications
This past week, after visiting my sister and her family in Ohio, I was driving down State Route 73 when I came upon a giant cowboy boot mounted on top of a bright red hearse. "Silver Spur Western Store" was painted on its door.
I pulled over to go inside the store situated behind that hopefully repurposed vehicle. The building seemed plucked out of America's Old West. It was a two-storey, wood clapboard with a large, square front facade emblazoned with an emblem of a bucking bronco and another big cowboy boot.
Inside, like you are probably imagining, were rows and rows of cowboy hats, jeans, denim jackets and yes, some of the most beautifully hand-tooled western boots I've seen. Years ago, when I lived in Denver, I proudly owned a pair of Tony Lama boots, so I know a thing or two.
But what surprised me (and what I had never seen and don't know a thing or two about) were the shelves of leather handbags - designated by a small, hand-written sign as "CONCEALED CARRY PURSES". Apparently, they're for the new, fashionable gun-totin' mamas of the US.
I left empty-handed with no new hat or boots and certainly no new concealed handgun-bag, still marvelling at the words on that little sign. A few miles later, a new sign emerged on SR73. This one was brilliantly lit up with an electric face of Stormy Daniels advertising that she would soon be, er, "appearing" at Dayton's Diamonds Cabaret.
At that same instant up above me I read a banner dragged behind a single-engine airplane that read, "IMPEACH TRUMP NOW!" From thinking about the gun control culture wars to the effects of the current US president, a range of emotions reverberated in my head as I drove.
If you've read my column even once, you know that communications have power and impact. Taking responsibility for improving your connections by making your communications more deliberate, thoughtful and intentional is what I'm all about.
Of course, this is not limited to how we communicate verbally. As demonstrated by my recent Ohio State Route reading material, this stretches to visual communications too.
Inside any business organisation, therefore, it is important to remember to establish and/or reinforce your company messaging in the form of signage.
Visual communications can be used to inform, motivate and encourage your sales and customer service teams. But don't limit it to them. Every employee can be stimulated and inspired by fresh visuals. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1 Deploy a video board:
As I'm typing this column, I've flown away from my family in the US Midwest and am now in the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC where I'm hosting a conference. The hotel lobby is spacious and marked by four large video screens on either side.
Three screens of each set are running a mix of TV news programmes with one showcasing a loop of historic shots of the hotel over the years to promote its 100th anniversary. This type of internal programming is something your company can undertake too.
A multinational client I consulted with for a couple of years installed a large-flat screen in their front reception area. Employees and guests alike pass by it every day. The initial content transmitted included an interesting walk-through of their newly remodelled offices.
Trouble is, the content isn't updated. The offices had been remodelled more than a year ago and yet the video remained the same.
Many of you already have a video-sharing portal. As Cisco points out, over 60pc of executives upload recorded videos to internal sites. So, you can too. But don't leave content up too long. Put someone in charge of video curation. If you can't update weekly, aim for new content every month. Be consistent. I'm happy to report that the client I mentioned is now actively updating content.
If you want to know what content your employees would like to seen on a video board, ask them.
2 Promote friendly competitions:
Another motivational way to use digital signage is to post real-time statistics when you have an internal sales campaign or other employee recognition programme.
Remember that scene in the film, Monsters, Inc. of the big board that tallied which monster scared the most children? A digital display can be configured to track your employees' success on almost any project or professional development tool too.
Checking the "Leader Board" can help motivate performance. Just make sure you use this in a fun, team-building way.
3 Share your vision:
You and your employees should be proud of what your company stands for. But first, you need to decide what that is. If your organisation does not have a mission statement or set of values - or they need updating, get going!
Involve your employees and craft something that inspires people to want to continue to work for you in support of that mission and those values.
Now write it somewhere for all to see. Paint it, colour it or print it in some creative way that you and your team imagine together.
From new hires to veterans, improving visual communications improves transparency, awareness and cohesiveness.
Sunday Indo Business