Thinking

The Lost Art of Authenticity in Corporate America

Over the years, our work has taught us time and time again that when employees are intellectually and emotionally engaged, they become evangelists for their employer’s brand. They will take the company’s mission to the world at large and preach it like gospel. Can I get a hallelujah?

But it all starts internally with smart, dynamic communication that ensures all employees are carrying the mission forward, are continually aligned with stated goals, and most importantly they must truly be emotionally invested in the livelihood of the company.

So how do we keep our messages fresh and our employees engaged in the media-saturated, multi-task-or-lose 21st century?

Authenticity: Messages must feel authentic
Author Paul Barsch recently pointed out that, “we eagerly seek out, and are willing to pay a premium for, “Authentic” experiences, whether delivered via product, service or engagement.”

While this statement relates directly to customer experience, we maintain that the same rules apply in how we deliver messages to our employees. Authenticity breeds credibility. Credibility breeds trust. And trust, well, trust is the stuff you never want to do business without.

When a message is lacking in authenticity, one simply cannot build the high-trust relationships with employees that a company needs to reach its goals. Crafting truly authentic messages will result in:

    1. Employees becoming emotionally connected to the company’s mission.
    2. Increased consistency in behavior and quality of work due to an increased desire to succeed.
    3. A strong culture of commitment and accountability.

The pursuit of authenticity then, for a corporate message creator means this: Telling meaningful stories with emotional depth, using a human voice.

A Meaningful Back Story
Your company’s back story must inspire employee loyalty and energy. For example, a message about the history of your company should not be a simple timeline with important names and dates. It should be presented as a captivating journey about an underdog’s struggle to succeed, starring the fascinating entrepreneurs who took great risk to build what is your company today!

And we also recommend a theater in which your new film should play: Employee Orientation. Orientation is the beginning of an employee’s journey and is the first opportunity to start to build credibility and connect with new employees on a very human level. Once employees connect with this fascinating story of the great people who built the company they now work for, they will be standing firmly on a foundation of credibility and will want to perpetuate and continue your powerful legacy.

Emotional Depth
Let us not underestimate the power of a well-told story. All truly moving stories have at least one thing in common. They affect us on an emotional level. Everyone has seen the black and white historical film that portrays the founders of a company as two-dimensional characters that started the business X numbers of years ago with X number of employees. While this approach will certainly inform a workforce, it won’t inspire or energize one.

However, when you can tell the story of the birth of your company using proven storytelling techniques that create an emotional connection with the viewers, you will change the way employees look at their employer, transforming them into brand advocates for a company that they can’t help but want to be a part of.

Human Voice
Messages will never feel authentic when delivered in “business speak.” Business jargon has no business in the crafting of authentic messages. Rather, we must convey our messages in a human voice. In Why Business People Speak Like Idiots, Brian Fugere argues that,

“There is a gigantic disconnect between these real, authentic conversations and the artificial voice of business executives and managers at every level. Their messages lack humanity in a world that craves more of it.”

Let’s look at an example of both kinds of voices, using a very familiar call to action and compare them side by side. In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath use JFK’s space exploration call to action to great illustration.

John F. Kennedy’s 1961 call to “put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade,” was a simple way, using a human voice to declare a mission and inspire listeners.

In business speak, conversely, that same mission might sound something like “Our mission is to become the international leader in the space industry through maximum team-centered innovation and strategically targeted aerospace initiatives.” Whew. Chew on that for awhile. Quite a mouthful, and completely lacking anything resembling a human voice or human emotion. The difference between two ways of communicating the same mission can be startling.

And so to re-cap, our mission is rather simple:

Cut through the clutter, establish a connection and emotionally engage your employees in an authentic manner using a human voice.  Mediums that we deploy are corporate storytelling, brand stories, video production, humor, viral marketing, and humor.

Because at the end of the day, fully engaged employees are happier employees. And happier employees are more productive employees, which is what we think sounds like the definition of a win, win situation.

Give us a call or shoot us an email to find out more!  From video production services, to brand stories, green screen, online video marketing, social media marketing, viral marketing or just simply needing a camera crew in Minneapolis or St. Paul, we do it all!