In the process of the re-branding of SHIP to Mindpark, a lot of small but important changes were made. One of these was to make a proper communication manual for us. We had previously used an ‘ad-hoc’ approach to communication, which worked fine – but it was hard to maintain as the organization grew and new employees started, and it did not always yield the best results. So the aim was to create a manual or plan, which was easy to follow and made sure the right things reach the right audience.
For this process we contacted Veronika Chromik from nika communications*. She liked what we wanted to do, and we involved her in an overhaul of how we do communications: starting with the re-branding, and moving on to what became the communication canvas.
Now that the re-branding is finished and the communication manual including the easy-to-use canvas are done, we wanted to share some insights.
Communication overview – the process
The process started out with us making an analysis of the current situation: how did SHIP, as it was at that time, communicate and with whom? We also set a target: what did we want to achieve with a communication manual and most importantly how does Mindpark want to continue it’s daily communication, internal as well as external.
- The process was in essence a series of steps:
- What is communicated currently.
- How is it communicated currently.
- What do we want to communicate and how do we want to be perceived.
- What are our target audiences.
- What are efficient ways to reach the target audience with the relevant messages.
After having answered the above questions, it was possible to produce a template including a communication manual together with the an action plan – designed to be used on a daily basis by the entire organization.
Just listing what to communicate where easily turn into a long list that ends up being ‘talk about everything to everyone’. This is however not very effective, so we also set up some contraints, mainly focusing on being time-efficient in our communication:
- We did not want to use too many channels, as that would take too much time.
- We wanted anyone in the organization to be able to know what to communicate and how.
- We wanted it to be easy to use and not a thick manual that ends up in a drawer.
- We wanted to be cost-effective in our communication.
This process, together with the constrains, resultat in the communcation manual (you can view it here, in Swedish however). The manual is a good guide that forced us to answer the above questions, and document it. This makes it easier for new employees to understand why and what is communicated. However, the manual is only needed to be read once, or not at all, and it’s main purpose was for ourselves to identify what we wanted to achieve and how. After that, the most important thing was created separately – the communication canvas.
The idea with the canvas was to make a simple, printable, paper-arc that lists what is communicated how. Here is how it looks for Mindpark.
Click on the image to enlarge, or download the commincation canvas as pdf.
A breakdown of the canvas
The canvas consists of two things: multiple ’activities’ and for each of them an ‘action plan’
Activites in this regard is anything that we want to communicate. In our case we identified that we have 7 different activities. Those where: Big news about Mindpark itself, Inspirational event, Internal workshops / lectures, External workshops / lectures, News about companies in the co-working community, Happenings at the open ground-floor / café area and Internal events for the co-working community. (for examples check the canvas above).
For each activity we listed the following, which is the ‘action plan’:
- Target audience
- When to communicate
This way, whenever something happens, it is easy to look at the canvas, identify what ‘activity’ it is, and do the required actions. By having examples there it is also easier for anyone to identify which action plan is the right one.
Insights along the way
When we did the canvas, the ambition was to have a maximum of 5 channels for each activity. The reason was that unless you have some kind of constraint, you end up with every activity being communicated in every channel. That we thought would require too much time, and be inefficient.
However, as we worked with it, it ended up being more then 5 on some of the activities. As our excuse we realized that some activities where bigger or more important ones – and thus needed additional channels. There are still only 5 (or less) on each core activity, but if they are bigger more can be required.
The channels – and how social-media was not the same as instagram
The biggest challenge was often to identify which channels are the best and which are just ‘nice to have’ and not really contributing that much.
Also, all social media was clumped together if it turned out that the same thing would be posted on it. Therefor posting an update on the Facebook fanpage, Twitter and LinkedIn was deemed as one task. While Instagram, which was deciced to be used not to push things in advance but to document them while they happen instead, is a separat channel. Similarly Bambuser was a channel for some events to document them and film them for those that missed them or want to see the talks again.
Also, Facebook exists in many different forms: our fanpage is one channel, but the community group is another channel, and setting up an event is another one. We tried not to focus on the medium, but rather on the reach of the action, and the efficiency.
A ’living canvas’
Right now we are at the part of establishing responsibility for the different channels in the organization. Currently Sanna Kahlström, the CEO at Mindpark, is responsible for the entire plan, and Silja for the events organized by CreativeLab (which hosts most of the external events and workshops). However, some channels will be given to others in the organizations later, and some might be handled by a ’communication committee’ – something we have been experimenting with during the pat month.
In the communication manual there is also a point of revisions. These are set to every 6 month in Mindparks case, and we are already seeing that some channels might change or not be used in the long run. It is important therefor that both the manual and especially the canvas are not permanent objects, but rather can be changed over time.
The aim of the entire work was to make future communication easier, require less active level 2 thinking (which is a valuable resource in any organization) and easier to make any employee or associate able to do part of the communication work. The plan serves also to make all communication consistent to one company message, reaching out in relevant channels to relevant target groups.
We are very happy with the project, and also with Veronika’s help. If you want to know more, feel free to talk to her, or ask in the comments below. You should also read Veronikas thoughts about the project.
*Interesting factoid: coincidentally, Veronika had previously worked with brand and marketing at TreTorn and Puma, and it is in the old TreTorn factory that Mindpark is located…