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Written by Team Wizikey

April 5, 2022

Start with the Outcome: Mike Klein, Communication Strategist

In this episode, we caught up with Mike Klein, a renowned communication strategist. Watch the video to learn about the interesting insights.

Start with the Outcome: Mike Klein, Communication Strategist

Right data can amplify brand visibility and credibility and help brands create more cohesive communications strategies. We caught up with Mike Klein, renowned communication strategist and founder of #WeLeadComms. In this episode, Mike shared some interesting stories and insights that you would not want to miss.

Transcribe below

1. How did you end up in communications? 

Well, I’ve been in communications pretty much ever since I started thinking about work.  I first got involved in political campaigns when I was a kid. I managed political campaigns for about 10 years before I ended up going to business school, trying to figure out how I could commercialize that experience.  And, when I found out about internal communication as a sector, it just made a lot of sense to me. When I graduated from London business school, I joined a firm that was specializing in internal communication, and it’s been 20 plus years and I’m still an internal comms person mainly. I do some political comms work and some external work as well.

2. Were you aware of what data could do for communications? 

Absolutely.  My first job when I was in high school was doing telephone surveys for a company that ended up being absorbed by a firm called Taylor Nelson. I kind of intuitively understood not just what data was, but how to get it. 

3. What is your advice on integrating data into your strategies?

Start with the outcome. What is it that you’re trying to do?  And then you come up with measurements that illustrate progress down that track.  I mean, there’s no point in focusing on clicks and hit rates and open rates.  If your job is to do ‘X’ it’s a lot easier to focus on progress towards achieving that. For instance, if you’re trying to say increase the number of alcohol wipes used in the hospital. This is actually an experiment that was done in Denmark.  What they did was they started distributing alcohol wipes in the hospital, and then they did an internal comms campaign and they measured the number of wipes that you were using every day. And it was very clear what the impact of the communication was because they were able to see the difference between the usage before the communication. You just have to ask some open-ended questions and then identify which words are used in measuring the extent to which they’re used. For instance, if you’re a company and you started a transformation program, are people referring to it as the name of the transformation program?  Or are they referring to it as something else?  That’s something you can measure. 

4. Any campaign where data helped you to solve a challenge? 

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Well, my big first project in terms of really owning the data collection as well as the data communication was an airline merger in the UK.  What it was able to do was demonstrate the extent to which people on both sides of the merger were aligned about certain sites. It helped the business take the guesswork out and help address the assumptions that people based their decisions and their communication and their actions. One of the great things about data is it removes assumptions.  It gives you a place to stand. But, it also requires you to be somewhat clever about the data you collect. 

The data has to have some relationship with what it is you’re trying to do.  Otherwise, you’re stuck, you’re standing on data and trying to convince people that the data is interesting and important.  You know, that’s something you shouldn’t have to be doing.  What you should do is find data that connects with your outcome.  And then you could adjust your campaign and your communication and your actions, not just to drive the stats, but to drive the outcome. 

5. What is your favorite metric as a comms person?  

I like asking the same two open-ended questions on every internal survey, which are, what do you think the top priorities of the business are and the three top priorities specifically, and what are the three most important things you’re working on, or what are the three most important things in doing your job?  You ask those two questions and you categorize and measure the answers.  You can see very clearly whether their people are working toward their own agendas, their boss’s agenda, or their company’s agenda. 

Catch the entire interview in the video above.

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