The walls between public relations, investor relations, and marketing — and all of corporate communications — are crumbling. Emerging communication channels and social networks make it impossible to compartmentalize and control corporate messages from the top down. Corporations need a carefully coordinated approach and a commitment to build relationships with a broad range of purveyors in the the communications ‘marketplace.’ Big Blue Soapbox brings extensive and multifaceted communications consulting and training experience to fully established companies as well as start ups, to do just that.
To communicate effectively, it is critical for every company to ‘know’ itself. Unlike most communications firms, Big Blue Soapbox understands that the key to separating a company from the pack lies in understanding the company’s fundamental business model, predictability of key performance drivers and management’s comfort with reporting transparency before it can communicate well.
The following are key service offerings that discover and evaluate information necessary to understand the company and to tell its story.
Business Model Review
How does the company make its money? What are the key drivers of performance? How readily can they be forecast? Where do the company’s expectations fall relative to other marketplace participants?
Every company has its own view of how much disclosure is enough but not too much. Beyond regulatory requirements the most savvy companies know that more descriptive and timely information means fewer surprises. That, in turn, means less volatility and, all things being equal, a higher sustainable market valuation. By understanding the reporting conventions of its peers, companies can understand how to lead their industries in market communications.
What are the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? How does the company stack up to its peers? Do investors know the company? Its industry and peers, management, the business model? How ‘compatible’ is the company’s investment profile to the investor’s style, preferences, current propensity to invest?
How is the company valued relative to its peers? In management’s estimation, is the company fairly valued? If not, why not?
Communication Process Review
Who are the company’s spokespersons? How does the company develop what it needs/wants to be communicated? What image does the company want to portray? What messages is it intent on communicating? What benchmarks are appropriate given the company’s goals? What is the best mix of communications channels to reach targeted constituencies?
Programs and Services – Programs can be customized to meet your specific needs – including public speaking, interpersonal communication skills, group dynamics, and media training. Call me for a free consultation to determine the best way to help you meet your goals.
Public Speaking – For years companies have provided standard public speaking training for their sales staff, high potentials and executives. But traditional methods do little to overcome public speaking challenges such as:
- Acute fear of public speaking
- Presentations that inform but bore
- Subject Masters that know their stuff but cannot connect with their audiences.
Only Big Blue Soapbox combines a rich experience and training in business, the arts and education to overcome challenges such as these. But we do more — we find the trainee’s unique strength, and build on it.
Business Writing - I learned to hate writing in elementary school. It’s taken me twenty years to find a way to love it. In this two-day seminar, participants learn to save time and reduce frustration with their writing process while building on their strengths. After attending this seminar, and putting what they’ve learned to work, participants will be able to write more efficiently, effectively, and with not only less pain and suffering, but with some actual pleasure and satisfaction around the edges.
Executive and High Potentials Coaching
How many first-class managers or analysts or engineers fail to reach their full potential because they are second-class communicators? Jack Welch wasn’t a first-class student but he ran one of the world’s greatest companies like a top. When asked how he did it, he said his greatest talent was to tell stories. Sure some people are lucky – they’re born communicators. But everyone can improve – and often dramatically. It just takes the right coach. Someone who understands business from the inside out but also understands the subtler arts of connecting with an audience. That would be me. I have immersed myself in very different worlds: business, the arts and education. Those experiences provide a rich vernacular for connecting to and communicating with many types of audiences. Becoming a great communicator can be taught and I can teach it.
New Manager Communications Skills (NMCS)
NMCS is a boot camp for those who were great at doing the work but need new skills in order to manage others effectively. The month long program begins with a half-day onsite session for ten participants led by one facilitator. The principles of the Communications Cycle are presented and discussed. A Communications Style evaluation is administered, and the underlying principles and results are shared. Participants introduce themselves – what they’ve done professionally; what they’re hoping to do; and what they want from the program. These introductions are taped and become the seed for the elevator speeches that participants will develop during the course. Participants continue their learning online, evaluating class videos – and other classic public speeches – with a public speaking assessment tool. Three other half day sessions follow during which participants prepare a formal elevator pitch/self introduction and/or a presentation from a current project. Sessions also include interpersonal communications and group dynamics study and practice.