When we talk about democratizing communications, we just mean getting more people involved in the process versus the old-fashioned way of having a communications department pushing out one-way messages.
Why does that matter and what’s wrong with the old way? Well, when communications are perceived as top-down, they’re not as effective as when they’re seen as a conversation where more people can contribute.
With digital signage, intranets and social media like wikis and blogs, we’ve made huge strides in democratizing how organizations communicate. With these tools, anyone who’s part of a community can post news and share best practices. Communicators should want to help people act on what they know and participate in that dialogue because when people become more involved, they’re more likely to get the story straight and share it with others. And, after all, that’s the goal of organizational communications.
Don’t just take our word for it. A study by Watson Wyatt confirmed that effective communication is a leading indicator of an organization’s financial performance, and employee satisfaction and turnover. It showed that firms who communicate effectively are nearly five times more likely to report high levels of employee engagement, and 20 percent more likely to report lower turnover.
If you choose a web-based or networked digital signage solution where lots of people can create and post messages, you’ll get better results in terms of understanding, branding and sharing. One reason is that it’s inclusive. As we’ve said, with open messaging software, you can get more people involved in the process. This doesn’t mean you can’t put gatekeepers in place, but it provides an easily-monitored platform for your community, which gives you feedback on your communications so you know if they’re working. Also, it reinforces your message. Different people take in information in different ways, and presenting ideas visually reinforces printed, email or web-based communications you’re publishing elsewhere.
Lastly, it’s unifying. For years we’ve been hearing about brand unity. Well, digital signage provides an environment where branded templates and presentation styles can be predetermined so that everyone is sharing their ideas within your brand standards so that they reinforce them.