W.A.T.A! An Energizing Approach to Communication Projects

EPISODE 83 | Guest: Roxy Tomacder, senior internal communications specialist

W.A.T.A! is an easy-to-remember mindset and roadmap that will help you approach all of your communication projects with more energy and more confidence. Who is the message for? Does it Align with your overall goals? Are you building Trust with your audience? And are you bringing Artistry to the project?

Roxy Tomacder, writer, speaker and senior internal communications specialist walks us through the tactics and applications of W.A.T.A! for higher employee engagement.

  • Understand how to go beyond demographics to better know your audience
  • Explore how to better align the goals of both sender and receiver
  • Learn how to build trust with your audience
  • Discover the importance of artistry in omnichannel communications
  • Hear real-world applications for W.A.T.A!

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Derek DeWitt:  Lots of different kinds of people are in charge of communications projects for their organizations. You might be a fully trained and accredited, with a diploma, communication specialist, or you just might be Joe or Jane Schmo handed these tasks and you don’t really know what to do. One thing is though, is that you know that you want your communication to have a positive effect on your target audience.

So today we’re gonna talk about some ways to accomplish that overall goal by looking at W.A.T.A! – an acronym that stands for, well, I’ll let my guest tell us. My guest today is Roxy Tomacder. She is a senior internal communications specialist for a large healthcare organization in Long Beach, California. Welcome to the podcast Roxy.

Roxy Tomacder:  Hi Derek. Thank you so much for having me and great job on saying W.A.T.A!

Derek DeWitt:  W.A.T.A!

Roxy Tomacder: W.A.T.A! Let’s wake everybody up, and that’s exactly what I want to with you today. It’s this energizing, quick-to-remember acronym, and it’s something that I’ve applied in my career in communications for the past 15 years.

Derek DeWitt: Well, energizing sounds like a pretty good thing to me. So, grab yourself a cup of coffee folks, and settle back for this episode of Digital Signage Done Right. Thank you, Roxy, for talking to me today and thank you, all of you, for listening. I remind you again, that you can subscribe to this podcast.

So, W.A.T.A! What is W.A.T.A!?

Roxy Tomacder: W.A.T.A! Exactly. And it sounds like water.

Derek DeWitt: It does like a Bostonian saying I need some water.

Roxy Tomacder: W.A.T.A! sounds a lot like water, and it’s quite relative to this quick and easy method that I use every day.

Derek DeWitt: So, it’s an acronym, W.A.T.A! Let’s run through it.

Roxy Tomacder: There are times where I, as a communications professional, and maybe some of you out there go through this, but you go through the everyday movements in your profession. And it, it’s almost hard to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. And as the advisor in communications, I have to bring something to the table. And I can’t always research everything before I bring my suggestions, because number one, I don’t have the time or number two, sometimes you’re asked to go into a meeting, and you don’t even know what to expect.

So, W.A.T.A! has been the mantra that I play in my head, because these are four elements that I would frame as questions when I go into a meeting. And as a communications professional, W.A.T.A! stands for W who is the message for? A, does it align with the overall goal that we’re trying to achieve with this group? T is if I’m being asked to do something, am I building trust with this audience that they’re aiming for or breaking it down? And the goal is always to build it. And then the last A in W.A.T.A! is artistry.

Because with all the different tools and mediums that we’re offered today, we have the power to actually create content and deliver it in multiple ways, even if that content is the exact same thing that you’re sharing with multiple audiences.

So, so that, in a nutshell, that’s what W.A.T.A! means. It’s that, “Okay. Don’t forget. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, go back to the W.A.T.A! Who are we talking to? Is it aligning with our goals? Are we building trust, ’cause we should? And how do we deliver this through artistry?

Derek DeWitt: It’s nice to have a nice, easy mnemonic in the back of the mind to just go, oh yeah, don’t forget that.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes, it helps a lot. And I gotta shake things up a little bit. So, the exclamation point is very, very important to me when you say W.A.T.A!, because you gotta leave your mark. You’re a communications professional, right? Leave them impressed.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s for sure. Well, I know that you’ve given talks on this in the past at various events and conferences and so on. Among the subtitles have been “an energizing approach to communications projects” and “a practical approach to impactful communications”. Impactful, energizing. Like this is good stuff.

Roxy Tomacder: It is. Comms people are not boring, man. Like we gotta bring the party with us.

Derek DeWitt: So the who. We’ll start off with who. We’ve mentioned this on podcast many, many times, in addition. You have to know who your audience is. Now, I know like if, say, if you’re in a retail setting, obviously the idea is, well, I don’t know, our audience is potentially everybody. But that’s actually not always the case. There are certainly certain products and services that are marketed to certain demographics, certain segments, certain income groups, even certain geographical areas and so on. So, you really do have to find out who it is you’re trying to reach. How do you do that?

Roxy Tomacder: Sure. And it goes back to foundations. Again, it’s always, I have a journalist background, so it’s asking the questions. The who is basically their general demographics, everything from age, male, female, sometimes sexual orientation, and knowing those bullet points. But as you dive deeper, it’s what interests them. How do they behave? Are there challenges or problems that this demographic is generally trying to address and how can you solve it for them? And then the other two questions I would probably ask is how do we reach them best? And what do I want them to gain, do or even feel with this information?

So, it’s so important because this W.A.T.A!, interestingly enough, didn’t get inspired by what I did as a job. It was inspired by my personal life. Ten years ago, my husband and I, we were newly wed, and he started a tradition for the Christmas holiday. That’s what we celebrate. And he’s, he’s a very sentimental guy. And so, he said, hey, as husband and wife, we’re gonna do this one tradition every year. We’re gonna pick one Christmas gift for each other, ’cause that’ll be a symbol of what we accomplished that year. And it’s just gonna be a gift that we’re gonna exchange personally in private, not with the rest of the family.

So doing the first year we went into a room and our hands were behind our backs. And he went first, and he did this whole speech Derek. He said, you know, this gift is a symbol of the joys and tears that I am excited about as your husband. And I know we’re gonna be happy. We’re gonna struggle, but wear this near your heart because it’ll be a reminder of my love for you. And he brought out his palms and in it was a Tiffany blue box. And I opened it and it was a sterling silver necklace in the shape of a tear drop. And the three things that I thought about immediately was number one, oh my gosh, this is such an amazing gift. The second thought was, of course I’m gonna do what he said. I’m gonna wear it near my heart until I get an upgrade, you know, with other jewelry in the future. And then number three was holy crap, I cannot believe he got me this ’cause my gift was not to that caliber.

In fact, when I handed him my gift, it was in a brown paper bag. And the two words I told my new husband was, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. And he opened it and it was this makeshift…It’s one of those. I don’t even how to describe it. It was a lamp that was shaped in the beer bottle. And when you plugged it in, the beer bottle would float over this cup and there would be like lit water that would go from the beer bottle into this mug.

Derek DeWitt: Oh, I know exactly what you mean. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It shaped, it shaped kinda like a beer coming out of a tap into a glass. Yeah.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes, exactly. And that’s, that’s when I got my husband. And I got it from this store called Spencer Gifts. It was in the clearance aisle. It was the day before Christmas. And so, I only share this story because, you know, the message that he got from me… because gift giving is really symbolic. And so, what you give to your audience, whether it’s your husband or, you know, a podcast audience, the audience is really sophisticated enough to figure out how much time do you put into this.

Number two, what do I do with this? You know, is it valuable or not? And if you don’t put thought into it, they walk away thinking, like my husband did, what is this? I’m never gonna be excited to receive gifts again from my wife.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Have I made a mistake?

Roxy Tomacder: I made a mistake. Exactly. I wasted my time and my money, you know? And so, and so W.A.T.A! really got me back to that story because ever since that experience, I took all of those elements. I say, okay, who am I? Who’s my husband, what does he like? I studied him, you know, for the second year, and I gave, I started getting better at gifts. And it’s the same observations and methods that I’ve used in my demographics, whether through marketing or public relations or internally as a communications professional. So, and it’s, it hasn’t failed me yet. So, it’s been 15 years.

Derek DeWitt: I like the fact that this, that this whole sort of idea structural template for communications arises out of a personal narrative. I mean, that’s kind of a nice thing. And maybe when we get to the artistry section, we’ll talk about that a little bit. So yeah, for sure. You gotta know who your audience is. How do you do it though? Do you conduct surveys? Do you just hang around and stare at them like you did your husband? Or how do you figure, how do you figure out who your audience is?

Roxy Tomacder: For me, and I’ve learned over the years, it’s, it’s a combination of different tactics. Yeah, we do surveys, but surveys can sometimes skew the authenticity of the demographic ’cause they know it’s a survey. What I started doing was I, for example, when I need to do a human resources survey, I have layers of ambassadors, you know?

So, if there’s a demographic, let’s say it’s the frontline worker, I figure out who are the influencers in that frontline worker circle. I actually gather all of them and I ask them questions, you know. Again, tell me about your people. What interests you? What makes you tick? What you like to celebrate? What gives you stress? And then based on what their responses are, I create this conversation and then we together come up with a solution. And based on those solutions, I use their language and then I pretty much regurgitate what they’ve given me and create it into content that their audience understands.

‘Cause I can’t sit behind my desk and guess how people live. I have to go through the people that actually are part of that circle. So, it’s never a big net now. I have to, I have to really spend some time and build relationships with these influencers.

Derek DeWitt: Right. And I think the word relationship is key there. Because like in a relationship, whether it’s a romantic relationship or, you know, your parents or your kids or your friends or whatever, one of the reasons that those things are so strong is because they’re updated so frequently. So, you know how it is, if you don’t see a friend or communicate with a friend but once every five years, your communications are mainly just catching up. Whereas when you’re in constant contact and there is this kind of co-evolution as we move through time together, you have to do that, you know. It’s like, I know you. I know what you want to drink. I’m just gonna go buy it for you.

Roxy Tomacder: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. You gotta have allies. You can’t just do it alone, you know, and that’s the beauty of it. And it becomes fun after a while, you know.

Derek DeWitt: If you like those people.

Roxy Tomacder: If you like those people. And if you don’t, you find people that actually like those people and you work with those people, you know. So the circle, you know, it breaks and, you know, you have to be a little bit fluid in how you get your information.

Derek DeWitt: So right. You know who you’re gonna be communicating with. Obviously, you know, it’s always taken with a grain of salt. Like you always have to be careful about generalizing too much from demographics, you know. Like, I’m a gen Xer and yet, there are plenty of people out there who are also gen Xers, but from my perspective ’cause I was born in 1967 so I’m, I’m an older one, you know, a lot of the younger gen Xers are much more like millennials to my mind, you know? So it’s, there’s a lot of, you know, they’re not, we’re not pigeonholing people too much, but we are using the information we have and the general broad strokes of these categories to yes generalize, but for a purpose. And that purpose is the A, which is to come into alignment with them as much as possible.

Roxy Tomacder: Yeah, absolutely. Yes. And thanks for framing that. It, as a comms person, there’s this delicate balance ’cause you’re aligning two, almost two different audiences. It’s the sender and the receiver, right? So many times, I’ve got the executives who are so pumped about this new strategy and how we’re gonna grow the business and they’re using language that are just, what, what does that mean? You know, so…

Derek DeWitt: That’s wonderful jargon, Bob. Thank you.

Roxy Tomacder: Yeah. It really is. And like, okay, but what’s in it for me, you know? And so, it’s the WIIFM. It’s not, it’s nothing new, but alignment is making sure that you take it, and you balance it. What do the executives wanna say? Who do they want to pick as their audience? And make sure the audience is receiving it in a way that can be heard, you know. And so, that is what alignment is. It can be so way off, you know, from what language they use, that it’s gonna fall on deaf ears.

Derek DeWitt: And it’s not necessarily, it’s not like talking down. It’s, I’ve been a language teacher for many, many years. And there’s a thing you do when you are communicating with non-native speakers called grading your language. Which is you kind of assess quite quickly, is this person a low intermediate? Are they a beginner? Are they a more advanced speaker? And then you adjust your language appropriately. So, you know, if talking to someone I can tell that they’re low intermediate in English skills, I’m not going to start using, you know, super fancy words because it’s just, what’s the point?

Roxy Tomacder: Right. Exactly. Aside from the language, it’s the bigger picture, you know. I always tie everything back to the goal. You know whether you’re the CEO of a company or if you are a customer service representative, the main goal is really to make this company successful in the role that you play and what you take ownership in. And so, you gotta find that message or that niche to say, hey, even if you’re from different levels, we’re all aiming towards the same thing. And sometimes it just takes that. It’s painting the bigger strokes and the purpose of your role, you know, and how we’re coming together. So, yeah, alignment is huge, really, really huge.

Derek DeWitt: Now does that, I assume it goes beyond just language and imagery and things like this. I should, I mean, you know also, I should think another element that plays into this part of the acronym would be this concept of localization of communications, which is, yes, part of its language. But it’s also like, you know, if you’re a, let’s say a transnational company and you’ve got branches in Long Beach and you’ve got branches in Boston, people in Long Beach don’t need to know that it’s snowing in Boston. It has no relevance for them.

Roxy Tomacder: Right. Yeah, no. It’s, and it comes down to, you nailed it on the head, it’s localization. It’s developing in advance a strategy and a plan. If you know your audience already, what is the story that you want your audience to engage with from that demographic or that location? And how do we merge that location with, you know, the next level of the story, which is, we’re not all players in this story, in this category, which leads up to the bigger picture?

And most people probably won’t go up the stairs. You know, I call it up the stairs where, you know, you probably won’t see what the CEO sees every day, but it has to trickle down somehow. So that way you see glimmers of it. And I think that’s what communication does is that we sprinkle it, you know, in a timely matter. And that’s what the strategy is. It’s like, are we deviating from what we’re trying to say? Or are we very close to that mainstream? You know, so people can take what they need or observe it from afar, but they know exactly where to go and where it is.

Derek DeWitt: So really, you kind of envision the communications specialist, especially for internal communications, really sort of, as the, I mean, I hate to say it, the first image that came to mind was spider in a web. But, um…

Roxy Tomacder: [Laughing] That’s interesting.

Derek DeWitt: But, but to find perhaps a bit more, less negative visual, kind of a facilitator of a sort. Kind of a, like, we’re all here. It’s I think what a lot of people imagine human resources is, but it’s much bigger. You’re actually taking all these disparate parts of the organization, different departments, skillsets, priorities, goals, personalities, and you’re finding a way so that they can all talk to each other.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes, exactly. Exactly. And it’s a very hard web to weave, but then again, that’s why you have, you know, your allies and you stay close to those who are interested in actually leading and changing, but gravitate towards people. Like I have, I have friends in the IT department and, you know, initially I would think IT are the ones that, you know, keep their noses down. They just wanna work with systems. But, once you get to know them as people, you know, I’m like, wait, there’s a human side to this. You know, they’re problem solvers every day. They’re not just tinkering on keyboards. And so, what language are they using?

And I always come in and say, hey, talk to me like I’m a third-grader and use that kind of language on me. And so, you know, if you come in with humility, they’re more than happy to school you on their world. And that’s what people wanna do. They just wanna talk about themselves anyway. So, um, it’s not so hard. It’s not so hard.

Derek DeWitt: And now part of this, again, I think they all kind of lead into each other now that we’re talking about it at length. So once you’ve kind of done all that, already you’ve some degree of (T in W.A.T.A!) trust from me, if I’m in your target audience cohort, because you’re already a-speakin’ my language. And so, I’m already inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt at the very least.

Roxy Tomacder: Absolutely. Yeah. Trust is, it’s not a onetime thing, right. It’s easy to receive, but it’s hard to keep.

Derek DeWitt: Mm. And it’s very easy. It’s hard to recover once you lose it.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes. 100%. Absolutely. And what I’ve found now is that if you just own your mistakes, people tend to trust you a lot more, but you have to really start off with where they’re from, you know. And that, I think that’s why I put the W.A.T.A! in the order in which it is because it’s the who, what are we trying to align and achieve, and then now you’ve got this trust. So, so yeah, you’re right. It dovetails into this phase.

In fact, there’s a thing that I mentioned in my web presentation, my first time for the W.A.T.A! And it was during the pandemic. You know, here in the States, we usually celebrate high school and college graduations in the summer. And I’m sure you’re aware that we shut down all graduations, all in-person events during that time in 2020. And so internally in our organization, we felt this heaviness, ’cause we had employees who were getting their master’s degrees and worked so hard a few years before. We had employees who had children who were in high school, and they were, they were pretty down as well. They couldn’t graduate. So based on what we were observing and based on just the feedback that we’d been getting from day-to-day conversations with our employees, virtually as well as in person, there was this heaviness.

And so, our communications team decided that this was our moment to uplift people’s spirits. And we took W.A.T.A! We, we said, okay, who’s our who? It’s our employees, specifically those who are missing out on a celebration this year. And our alignment was basically talking about our values as a company, which is making people feel like they’re family. And when family’s down, you bring them up. So to build trust, we actually reached out to all our employees and said, hey, if you’re missing your graduation, we’re gonna do a virtual one this year. So, we decided to ask for photos, names, school colors. And what we did was we did this photo montage of all the graduates. We did the pomp and circumstance, and we used the medium of video to put this together. But more than that, we asked for volunteers in the company to say, hey, who wants to actually write a handwritten note to our graduates this year? And we would pair them a up with a graduate. And because we were a Hawaiian company, (this is a company I worked for a couple years ago), leis, flower leis were our thing in Hawaiian culture. So, they handmade flower leis in school colors for our graduates.

So, the graduates saw this video. We texted it out to all employees to go home and share with their families and their graduates. We played it on TV. So we had digital signage all over our floors in our company. And the CEO himself also decided to provide every graduate with an Amazon gift card to give as a, as a gift. And he wrote a note to every single graduate as well saying, you know, this is a hard time, but think of it as a lesson in your future. And he wrote to 86 of them. There were 86 graduates. And we had a volunteer celebrity. His name is Montell Jordan, who is a friend of one of our comms people. And he, he sings that song “This is How We Do It” from the 90s. He did the commencement speech, and his song was, you know, played throughout the video. And you had the parents of the graduates who are younger, who were like, oh my God, it’s Montell Jordan. And you got the kids who are still in high school, like who’s that, you know?

So it was, it was like a, it was a melding of everything. But it was the most seen video that we found in analytics that our employees have watched over and over again. And it was reshared on social media. It helped with our employer branding like, wow, this is their culture. They actually care for their people. So, it spread like wildfire. And it was a team of three, three of us, that did this. So that’s an example of trust, you know? And since then, you know, people will come to us to give us feedback and say, what else can we do, you know, to help with it.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Because, hey, that thing you did was so awesome, I think I can talk to you.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes, exactly, exactly.

Derek DeWitt: Between you and me and the fence post. I think that sounds like a lot nicer than putting on a hot black gown and a nasty hat.

Roxy Tomacder: Yeah.

Derek DeWitt: Sit and listen, listen to some old person, talk about, oh, you’re gonna be the future. And then, you know, oh, thank you, thank you. Me and a million other people got a little bit of applause. This sounds, this sounds much nicer, frankly.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes, it is. It’s much more personalized, you know. Um, yeah. So, it was a good time. And you know, we always try to find moments to do that. So, celebration is always one of those things that I feel builds trust the most. You know, what can I do celebrate you?

Derek DeWitt: Like you mentioned that you had digital signage, for example. You can really, with a medium like that, you can really give out really up-to-date information and you can create an environment, a communications environment that is authoritative and reliable. And I would imagine that’s another way to build trust. Sort of the left brain version.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes. 100%. And I think that’s the beauty of our job as communicators is, you know, how do we again, find that balance? ‘Cause you know, I’ve dealt with different personalities where like, wait, that’s kind of hoity toity. You know, we’re always celebrating all the time. You’re too much of a party person. Like how can I have you talk strategically? And it goes down to the A, which is artistry. And artistry to me in W.A.T.A! is really how to be that source for different people. It’s like water. I mean, W.A.T.A! sounds like water.

And so, in a crisis you have to have that authoritative voice, like a, like a tsunami hitting land. You know, as a communicator, you gotta get information fast. You gotta get to the right people, make sure that it gets people to safety. And so that’s like the crisis part of communication where it’s urgent and there’s no time for play. And you’ve got the, you know, the slow, steady stream where it’s more longitudinal and you, you know, you, you, you, you observe it from afar.

So, you know, with communications, if you’re talking about a town hall meeting or a conference, you’ve got the top to bottom. And wherever you are in view of that, you can still see it and you know you’re part of it. So, it’s a slow, steady stream, and you’re part of that big, that flow. So, information flows, right, from top down. And then you’ve got, you know, I’m not sure if you know this, but there’s an artist from Japan. He was from the 1800s. His name is Katsushika Hokusai, and he created The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Derek DeWitt: Oh yeah. Famous, famous, famous. Yeah.

Roxy Tomacder: Very famous. It’s, you know, again, that’s like the dynamic urgent, fast moving water. And that’s how I say W.A.T.A! is like a crisis sometimes where you have to work fast. And so, he actually created a series of other water forms and one of them was Waterfall on Mount Kurokami. And again, it’s a top to bottom and being taken in as people pass by or stop and read it, for example, and watch it. And then number three, he actually created a painting called Fishing by Torchlight. It was inspired by Kai Province and the water is a source for fishermen.

If there’s one thing I wanna leave you with the W.A.T.A! with artistry, sometimes communication is just a source. It teaches others how to fish through learning through accessibility, and just to get to what they need. You know, even if it doesn’t hit your audience, it may hit them next time. But be, offer yourself as someone who can provide that source and that builds trust. It allows people to think about alignment and the who, you know. Come to me if you need help.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. I was gonna say the more two-way the communication is, obviously the more alignment there’s going to be. And you’ll, it’s another way to gather updated information on who my audience is. Well, I know who these two people are because they communicate with us all the time and they tell us who they are.

Roxy Tomacder: Right, right. Put yourself up there, you know, front and center and that’s all good. It’s okay to say, I don’t know, too. You know, I think that’s another thing that builds trust. It’s like, I don’t know, but let me help you find out.

Derek DeWitt: Right. That’s exactly right. Instead of, I don’t know, and then that’s the end of the topic, goodbye. It’s, I don’t know, but I will find out. How can I let you know? And the reason I say that is because you made an interesting comment in there quite early on about what kinds, like finding out what communications channels are best for particular people in your audience, meaning what? Whether it’s email, whether it’s digital signs, whether it’s tackling them in the hallway?

Roxy Tomacder: Yes. Yeah. It can be face to face. In fact, there’s a book, I’ve actually read it several times and I bought copies for my team and it’s called the Content Fuel Framework. I’m not sure, have you heard of it? It’s by Melanie Deziel. She’s up and coming, especially with content marketing and she, she comes up with at least 11 different types of forms for communication. So, it’s infographic, video is another form, email, written letters. I mean, she goes into different types of examples of, you know, how to actually take one piece of content and transform it into these different forms.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Because the information content is essentially the same, you know. It’s whatever, it’s, you know, 401k signup ends on the 12th. That’s the end of that. But we can communicate that in all these different ways.

Roxy Tomacder: Absolutely. Yeah, so I would recommend that book. It’s really, it’s really good. She talks about like, you know, tools. So, if you, if you are a marketer for real estate, I mean, you have these “can afford a home” calculators. That’s a communication tool, you know. You have people engage with it. And yeah, I use this as a, as a framework a lot. But you’re right, you can use different forms, much like water. You can be hard, you can be soft, you can…

Derek DeWitt: Steam, it could be steam.

Roxy Tomacder: It could be steamed. Exactly. Depending on what you’re going for.

Derek DeWitt: Just note for listeners, make sure to check out the transcript of this episode on the Visix website under Resources/Podcasts and there will be links in there to some of the things Roxy’s talking about, including this book. It all seems very human centric if I may. You know, this kind of like, there’s this idea of human-centered design, which you kind of think like, well, duh, who else would it be for? I’m not designing for parakeets. And yet I think a lot of times, you know, the sort of a concept or an idea gets pushed out there and the human, in this case, the audience, or if it’s a building, the people who are gonna be utilizing that building or, you know, how you do bicycle lanes in a city, it’s for the bicyclists. And that’s great that you came up with this whole plan all on your own in a conference room, but on the ground, it’s not actually very effective. And in fact, it’s dangerous and it doesn’t really work for people.

So, I think that kind of, this kind of way of approaching communications, especially internal communications, it kind of reminds you at every step that it’s people talking to people, you know. That’s, that’s really what we’re… Yes, I am the spokesperson essentially for the organization and the organization is this amorphous blob concept. But an organization is people.

Roxy Tomacder: 100% and that’s not going anywhere, folks. Like people is always and has been the audience, like you said.

Derek DeWitt: Until our machine overlords one day replace us.

Roxy Tomacder: Exactly. But who are building those machines? People, right? So, it’s still…

Derek DeWitt: That’s right. But, you know, it’s funny. I saw something that you’d, in some, something that you’d given in a presentation once. You also talk about sort of investing in the digital experience as a way to add value to communications projects. What do you mean by that?

Roxy Tomacder: We all know that communication is no longer writing things down and sending it out. It’s all about how people share information and it’s omnichannel, you know. A digital experience could be scrolling through Netflix and finding the right content. Or, you know, we still have email, but text messaging, Slack, I mean. But where do people go to and what is easiest for them? And so, the digital experience is, it’s here to stay, you know. Especially with remote work, but you gotta be able to find creative ways to connect with them digitally. If not, you won’t be around anymore for the next few decades I don’t think.

The one beauty of the digital experience is this idea of measurement. How do you know that you’re improving communications? ‘Cause it’s one of those things where you’re like, you don’t see it, you know what I mean? You do it every day, but you don’t see it. But you know, you can measure behavior through digital experience. You know, when people log on, how long, when do they close, where do they stop. So that’s the one thing that I love about digital is, you know, getting data so you can get better.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s true. It does, it does kind of already have its own sort of data sets and KPIs sort of as just part of the very structure of the medium.

Roxy Tomacder: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

Derek DeWitt: So, W.A.T.A! Who are you talking to? How can you align with their interests, with the problems that they need solved? How can you build trust? And what artistry can you bring to the entire communications project to make it energized and energizing and impactful? That’s what W.A.T.A! is all about. And that is what Roxy Tomacder, senior internal communications specialist, uses as her guiding star as she wanders through the universe of internal communications. I’d like to thank Roxy for talking to me today. Thank you, Roxy. I feel energized and I feel like I was impacted.

Roxy Tomacder: Oh, wonderful. Thank you, Derek. This was such a fun time and thank you again. I hope people take away what they learn from this episode,

Derek DeWitt: For people who are interested in what Roxy has to say, and she has a lot more to say than just what we’ve covered here, you can find her on LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals. And you can find there all sorts of interesting things, links to articles, handouts that she has and much, much more.

Roxy Tomacder: Yep. Please connect with me.

Derek DeWitt: Connect with her on LinkedIn. And thank you once again, everybody, for listening to this episode of Digital Signage Done Right.