Vern Freedlander is an independent communications consultant who works with corporate communicators who want to use visual content (video, animation, graphics, visualized data and social media) and real-time data to be more impactful. The solutions may vary from place-based signage networks to content channels that appear on mobile devices, but they all share the ability to convey complicated information in the form of visualized storytelling. Most importantly, these solutions can be specifically targeted to key stakeholders and by leveraging data analytics, their experiences can be benchmarked. Drop Vern a line!
- What is the biggest surprise/change you’ve seen in your industry in the past year?
“We’ve seen an incredible demand for visual based communications solutions. Millennials in the workforce expect not only tech savvy communications solutions but also expect great UX experiences and content that is relevant and polished. Employees are demanding content that directly impacts their day to day work. Another big change is the dramatic and consistent decline in the use of the corporate intranet. The intranet for the most part has become an unwieldy, unfriendly, time-sink. Ironically, employees want great comms but corporations have enormous difficulty delivering; both re content creation and distribution channels.”
- Who/what is a true disruptor or game changer in your opinion? Why?
“I think collaborative solutions such as Facebook Workplace and Slack are having a huge impact on corporate cultures and comms. We are actually seeing, to a degree, internal email being disrupted by these kinds of tools. They are especially effective at aligning staff around a specific project or initiative and to create a sense of connection to other employees throughout an organization. This ability to share experiences using these types of tools will continue to grow, be supplemented by other technologies and become more dominant within organizations.”
- What app or technology do you rely on most day-to-day? Why?
“I am a big fan of LinkedIn. It is my daily destination to not only keep track of my professional network but to also get a sense of industry and sector changes. I take full advantage of the messaging features and I find it a handy tool to bounce business ideas off connections. It does have its issues; connection requests from strangers, irrelevant postings and it can be difficult to navigate and get help, but so far it is the only game in town regarding professional networking. Business opportunity?”
- What don’t you want to see carried over in 2017? (i.e. a fad, trend, saying…)
“In my business I see a lot of “one size fits all” solutions where vendors try to squeeze clients into off the shelf solutions and are reluctant to offer customization. For many vendors, there is often an attempt to not take the time to understand a client’s business and communications objectives, their brand and their specific pain points. This has to end. Every business and every communications challenge is unique and some level of customization should be expected. Yes, there are shared issues but not everyone approaches them the same way and with the same expectations.”
- What are you most excited about for 2017?
“Slowly we are seeing corporate communications taking its cue from broadcast news; better writing, more visuals, faster refresh, proactive editorial. This will accelerate in 2017. Employees expect a certain level of quality in their comms ensuring that the messaging is relevant, timely and appropriate to the device they are using to consume it. The bar is climbing in 2017 and professional communicators are starting to appreciate that their work is most effective when it well crafted, well presented visually and well targeted. The 2016 US election created a new appreciation for the news business and the craft of journalism. I believe this has trickled into corporate comms and has placed a much needed focus on quality work.”
These five questions with Vern Freedlander were compiled by Linda Andross, managing partner, APEX PR/ruckus digital. Follow her on Twitter.