When Communicating Change, Every Word Counts

By Linda Varrell, President and CEO

In the corporate world, change is constant. Mergers, acquisitions, sales, divestitures, layoffs, leadership transitions and rebrandings are common. But change initiatives require careful messaging, and a lack of thoughtful planning and execution can create communications chaos. Here are a few things I think about when creating a stakeholder messaging strategy for a change process.

Is it a merger, acquisition, sale or divestiture?

Before communicating one of these changes, I try to fully understand the internal and external environments in which the change is taking place, and how past implications and current perceptions will inform the future. This includes both primary and secondary research, reviewing legal documents, verifying the new power structure and evaluating the brand positioning, brand promise and customer expectations.

Are layoffs really layoffs?

In an organizational restructuring, I always ask myself: What is really happening? Executives don’t wake up one morning and decide to lay off 40 people that day; there are a series of events and circumstances that have played out to create the current reality. As communicators, our role is to dig into that past to understand how the organization got to that moment – and, more importantly – how this action is positioning it for future success.

How will a logo change impact the brand?

Many see a logo change as simply a marketing initiative, but it is much deeper than that. A brand refresh harnesses a new energy, both in the organization’s external market and internal culture. Celebrating a logo change can be an opportunity to create new audiences, spark new initiatives and attract new employees who might have seen the organization as “old” or “stodgy.”

The words you use to talk about change matter. Do you have an organizational change coming up? Do you have a clear sense of what is really happening, and how it will be perceived? Email us at info@broadreachpr.com to learn more about navigating the risk assessment process in change management to arrive at core messaging that puts you on the path to your future.