4th Feb 2022
3 Min Read

What’s in a name? The power of personalisation

IC & Engagement

Remember when mail merge seemed revolutionary? The ability to add a little bit of customisation transformed the generic into the relevant.

Now, personalisation permeates the communications we’re exposed to, from the algorithms that drive our social feeds to the emails and adverts that follow us from first enquiry to post-purchase review.

It’s all about offering an experience that feels tailored to you. Lovingly curated and custom-made. And this isn’t a fluffy marketing gimmick. There’s some serious behavioural science behind the bespoke.

Why personalisation works

Personalisation is a powerful way to pull focus because it caters to our innate interest in ourselves. In Robert Cialdini’s excellent book, Pre-suasion, he gives a very relatable example of this. He asks you to think about how you view a group photo. If you’re anything like the rest of us, he predicts you look for yourself first and study yourself the longest before moving onto the rest of the photo.

Messaging that feels personal tends to cut through the noise because we care more about things that relate specifically to us. And if that personal message comes at the ideal time, when the subject is front of mind, it’s even more likely to resonate and convert.

Now, this is all music to the ears of a marketer with sales- linked KPIs. But what about an internal communicator? Is personalisation still worth pursuing? Absolutely, and especially in a hybrid working landscape where it’s more important than ever for employees to feel heard and understood.

Here are a few ways personalisation can get cut through in a crowded comms space:

Dig into your data

Any organisation with multiple employees, from 100 to 100,000, will be sitting on a treasure trove of data that can be used to offer more personalised communication. We love the example of Spotify’s annual Wrapped feature, which takes existing user data, gathered over the year, and presents it back in an irresistibly sharable format.

Finesse your feeds

You probably don’t think much about how and why your social feeds look the way they do. But if you looked at someone else's, you might be surprised just how different the content is. Thanks to algorithms, the memes, videos, polls and news stories we see are served up based on our behaviours and interests, designed to show us things we’re more likely to interact with. Adopting this strategy in your own organisation could bring greater individual resonance with your content.

Consult the calendar

Key dates can be a great hook to help personalise the employee experience. Acknowledging events with personal resonance, like birthdays or start dates, can strengthen a sense of belonging and connection to the organisation.

Make it more human

Use the word “you” instead of “people” – this can enhance how positive your audience may feel toward a message. It’s a subtle linguistic device that helps people feel like a message is speaking to them, rather than to just anyone.

Sharing is caring

Encourage promotion across internal or even external networks – people like to share things that are either about them or make them look good. This is a great way to enable employees to become your ambassadors and take more of an active stance, which will help engage others.

Test, test, test

Look out for behavioural patterns and apply them to your comms: do some divisions or departments respond better on Slack than email? Which subject lines produce the highest open rates? This is all rich information that can help you refine your messaging and identify the needs of your colleagues.

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