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It’s OK to match your communications to your culture

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I’m no fashionista. One thing I do know is that according to current “rules” any woman who wears shoes that match her handbag is likely to see herself portrayed as a Glamour Magazine “Don’t” – frumpy and out of style.

In communications, the opposite holds true. In fact, the best, most effective employee communications messages, products and processes are those that match the organization’s culture, external brand and mission.

I saw a Tweet a few weeks back that started me thinking about “matchy-matchy” in the world of internal communications. “Looking through our employee magazine. What does it say about your brand if the photos look like mug shots?”

After I stopped laughing, I began to think back to the hundreds of employee publications I’ve seen over the years – on display in workplaces, submitted for award programs, etc. Let’s face it; the advent of digital photography has not improved the quality of the photos, nor the story they tell. We just see more bad photos, faster.

But the need for a culture/communications match isn’t limited to employee photos.

Smart communicators realize that every aspect of the internal communication “experience” has to match the organization's culture and branding, from the moment the employee is recruited to their last day on the job.

There are plenty of companies, agencies and associations that get it right.

I recently joined Women in Technology, a D.C.-area organization dedicated to “empowering women to be architects of change in the technology industry.” Normally when you join a professional association, you are immediately flooded with printed materials – brochures, member directories, flyers, etc. Not WIT.

About three weeks after I joined their organization, I received a small cardboard box -- about the size of a CD mailer – with a half-page welcome letter and a flash drive containing new member resources and documents.

Imagine – a technology association that uses technology to communicate. Now that’s what I call matching your communications to your culture.

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