Social media have made it impossible for corporate communicators to retain complete control of their messages. But is that so bad? According to Jonathan Champ, founder and chief consultant of Meaning Business, corporate communicators must change how they create and share content with employees, but by doing so they will find that their role is still as important as ever. Champ spoke with CW Executive Editor Natasha Nicholson about the future of the corporate narrative and why employees must play a central role in its creation.
“A good story is still a good story, but the ways in telling it are now very different and the ways of sharing it are a lot more open,” says Champ. “Social means that anyone can be a storyteller.”
Champ points out that it is now unrealistic to expect that one story can resonate with everyone. Instead, he encourages communicators to move away from a focus on providing content, and instead focus on providing employees context—helping them find their own voice within the organization. By doing this, communicators can help employees feel more connected and engaged.
“Historically there has been this great exhausting role for corporate [communicators] to be the controller of the message,” says Champ. “But the reality is we are able to let that go a little, sharing the load and giving others a voice in the storytelling process.” Champ jokes that for those communicators who struggle with the idea of releasing control of the corporate narrative, just listen to the latest Disney hit song for inspiration—“Let it Go.”
For more ideas on how to involve employees as co-creators of the corporate narrative, listen to the complete interview, or attend Champ’s World Conference session, “The end of the story: Corporate narrative in a transmedia universe.”