MOBILIZING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND PUTTING IT TO WORK
As Britain was dangerously close to defeat in 1940, Winston Churchill put the English language into battle. He inspired the people of Great Britain with his defiant, heroic speeches, rousing challenges that were full of hope, humor and direction. By using language strategically, he delivered some of the most powerful and moving speeches that were broadcast across Britain and the rest of the world, including Nazi-occupied Europe. History now attests to the power of his carefully chosen and skillfully delivered words that moved a nation and ultimately helped win an ideological war of good versus evil. As one of the world’s finest orators, Churchill is probably turning in his grave at what has happened to the English language.
Churchill had very few weapons at his disposal to fight the Nazis, so he was forced to rely on his oratory skills and his powerful command of the English language. Content was his currency. He set the linguistic standard with well-crafted monologues delivered with passion and authority. People were craving content with substance, inspiration and encouragement. His words were carefully choreographed with meaning and sincerity. Imagine Churchill today, as a master orator with all modern communication tools at his disposal. He would be a prolific blogger, his Twitter feed would be constantly active, and he would have one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Churchill utilized masterful content as his secret weapon—content was his currency and his means of mobilizing a nation to action.
STICKS AND STONES WILL BREAK YOUR BONES BUT CONTENT CAN IMPACT YOUR STOCK PRICE
Leaders today can learn from Churchill. When the correct words are used with sincerity and passion they have a mobilizing and lasting impact: they can affect employee morale, consumer relationships and impact your companies’ stock price. Great communication is an art and a science and needs to be treated as one of the most valuable currencies of your organization. Many companies have their obligatory mission statement framed in their offices but never use them to guide strategy or communication. Authentic communication as a meaningful currency comes from the soul of a company and is the first step to achieving a clear understanding and to answer why you really exist as a company. Crafting a compelling and living purpose with words that are carefully connected, easily understood, and passionately consumed is the foundation for meaningful communication.
An untapped opportunity for innovation in many organizations is helping executive leadership teams to understand the implications of great communication as a currency for change and ultimately for profit. The personalities of the CEO and senior executives definitely set the tone for how a company’s culture and internal content manifests, but many fail to understand that they indirectly affect external content as well. Content should be a living strategy and a currency traded between employees, customers and consumers, and it is equally important to the actual product a company produces.
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
Just because your company can broadcast content via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, does not necessarily mean people are interested in what it has to say. People are drawn in by those who can entertain, educate, or intrigue them. Meaningless and forgettable content is ignored. Dull content is the equivalent of boring and meaningless conversations that are quickly forgotten. The digital world makes it easy for us to contribute opinions, narratives, pictures and videos to the conversation so it is much more difficult to stand out from the crowd. What your company talks about and how the content is delivered matters more now than ever before. Companies no longer have the luxury of communicating in a controlled monologue with consumers through traditional advertising. Technology creates an open environment where millions of people are vying for attention. With content as currency, companies must have something relevant, compelling and meaningful to say. Today, people respond to content that moves or entertains, so make sure your companies’ content is relevant and riveting.
AN UNCOMMON SENSE GUIDE TO USING CONTENT AS CURRENCY
Many executive leadership teams are still struggling to embrace content as the new frontier. Your company must be educated and immersed in the power and mechanics of social media and content development.
Illustrate the power of relevant and compelling content by building valuable relationships to directly and indirectly drive revenue for executives.
Use tools like missions, visions and values to set a strong foundation for meaningful, powerful communication and content strategy.
What companies have to say, how they say it, and where they say it may not have the same impact as it used to, so make sure the content is interesting. Map out entertainment value, how it is relevant and what good it will deliver to the community.