Avantgarde – one of Germany’s leading live-communications agencies with more than 300 employees and 16 locations worldwide – and its subsidiary Trendbüro decided to use a customized version of the microblogging solution Communote to strengthen internal communications. In this interview, they provide an insight into the thoughts and experiences on the use of a new central communication channel. We got the answers from Florian Häupl, Project Manager at Trendbüro – Consultancy for Social Change.
You have decided to introduce a microblogging solution. What reasons have led to this decision?
We have been follwoing the communication shift triggered by social media as part of our research and consulting work. Now it was time to deliver on our claim “Turning trends into solutions”. Together with Communardo we co-created an updated version of their microblogging tool that perfeclty fits our needs. The finished product allows our employees to network more efficiently. One of the main reasons was the direct access to actual news and archived knowledge. Another major goal was to give each employee control over his time and knowledge.
What is the biggest advantage of microblogging for you?
We rely on socially organized communication and want to ensure a smooth information ‘flow’ between management, employees, freelancers and customers. The tool also helps us deal with the information load we are facing as a trend research agency – an increasing share of which are bits and pieces of digital information like links, images, videos.
Usually it is assumed that not all employees are ready to embrace Enterprise 2.0 applications. What experience did you have and what activities have you taken to achieve the greatest possible number of participation?
By taking into account the needs of our users, the tool didn’t really feel like yet another new technology to them but was accepted and used from day one. The way an intranet based on microblogging affects internal communication and streamlines the way of working is pretty amazing. E-mails and newsletters are becoming less important. It’s important to join the platform. Otherwise you won’t be in touch with what’s happening.
You are using the solution across national borders. How do you deal with the language problem?
There’s a simple answer to this issue: You have to agree on one language, which in our case unsurprisingly is English. This way all users, from China to Brazil, feel included and will be more likely to contribute.
Do you have a tip you can give other companies that are considering the introduction of a microblogging solution?
Make sure the platform is relevant to the day-to-day work of your employess and not just a shiny new toy. If users see a real benefit (content, networking, support, …), they will be quick to adopt it. Create some management attention for the tool: Although it works best in “bottom-up mode”, top level endorsement is key to the success of any new plattform in a company. An enterprise social network like the one we have launched is a great way to communicate with even your CEO on eye-to-eye level.