This blog post is in two parts – in the first section I share a situation that internal communicators often face and invite you to reflect on the possible solutions. In the next post I will revisit the perspectives that you share and discuss how we can tackle such requests when they arise.
Here is the scenario.
Recently I encountered a strange ask – ‘can we have a mascot for our campaign?’ while consulting on an internal promotion for a large scale change management exercise.
Faced such a question before? Does it sound familiar?
I know many of you will smile knowingly because such questions are often asked to the internal communication team when the roles and responsibilities aren’t clearly defined or the function isn’t viewed as a center of expertise – leave alone a center of excellence . This question takes many forms – ‘let us do a poster’, ‘the intranet doesn’t work’ or ‘why can’t you send that e-mail on my behalf’.
Having recovered from the question I took time to seek clarifications on the objectives of the campaign and the impact the team expected to make with a mascot. It dawned on me that they were hoping to make the campaign memorable and interesting.
Did the campaign need a mascot?
To me it felt that they needed spokespersons or ambassadors to carry their messages across career levels. To them the association with a Maharaja (the mascot used by Air India, a well- known airline which unfortunately is struggling to keep afloat) seemed as an effective form of driving home the message. A bit of trivia: Air-India adopted the Maharaja as its mascot in 1946.
This is tricky territory. You can alienate your stakeholders if you brush off the idea. It may set off a chain of thought that reads ‘internal communications isn’t supportive’ or you can get embroiled in arguments about which channel or mascot to use.
So here is when the first part ends.
– How will you go about explaining why a mascot will not work? That is – if you think it will not work.
– Also, what will be your approach to address the objectives of the campaign?
– Finally, how can you draw the line between where your stakeholders suggest what you should do versus telling them politely who calls the shots with internal communications?
Interested in your views. Post them here.