With most marketers up to their neck in planning right now, this little beauty of a report on The Future of Corporate Communications by Edelman is a handy read. As you’re looking ahead and thinking about where to focus resource this nicely pin points some key areas for consideration.
This report reinforces the importance of content and communications for all businesses in 2022 and probably evermore. But let’s look at pensions in particular…Both pensions and the wider economy continue to be in a state of flux – with far ranging policy changes to pensions, worldwide political pressures, the prolonged impact of the pandemic, the code red on climate change and the ongoing tech advances (pensions in the metaverse anyone?).
The message from nearly 250 of the world’s most senior communicators is clear: to meet the challenge of this moment, the communications function must advance from operating as a transactional cost centre delivering on a communications agenda to being an indispensable partner generating measurable business value.
Finally! And rightly so – how we communicate impacts how people feel about us – customers, competitors and other industry stakeholders. And that’s kind of a big deal because it conveys our purpose, builds trust and all that leads to success. Which is why the importance of communications (and the consistency of them) is becoming greater and getting recognition from the top. Content is king…not just to drive B2B business, but to grow awareness and understanding amongst savers too.
Listening before speaking is key and it’s the same for prepared communications. From tailoring your messages, amending campaigns based on real-time learnings right through to running whitepapers alongside TikTok videos. We are (mostly – some are still catching up) constantly evolving the message, channel and medium to meet the needs of customers and wider stakeholders. In our very much analogue pensions world the drive for digitalisation must look to the future, rather than catch up with the turn of the millennium, let’s look at tomorrow’s trends to drive engagement.
Technologies that we use to deliver, track and analyse our communications are giving us measures that have long evaded the pension communications space. They also feed the insights and learnings that we take from activities. Gone are the days of analysing 6 weeks post drop and manual tracking things like online account activation, transfers or beneficiary nomination – we can show, in real time, when and how communications add value. And test and adapt messages to maximise impact. Hoorah!
How we tell the pension story can add real value to an employer’s benefits package. But employers aren’t pensions experts – we (as an industry) can help them explain and educate the value of their pension offering and all the amazing things that can be done with investments. The link between money worries and mental health is well proven, what other financial topics can caring employers help with? Looking at pension communications to members as part of a wider employer programme can help drive engagement with pensions as well as reduce stress related absences – win win.
The focus on sustainability both in and out of pensions has never been greater. The industry is completely onboard and there’s no end of ESG seminars and headlines, and whilst savers may not understand how a pension works the expectation is that there is the right balance between people, profits and the planet. How we communicate our ESG messages are as much about our internal operations as they are about investments. These messages need to align to build trust and credibility.
However your internal team is structured from the outside it’s one business. So if your marketing and corporate comms teams aren’t singing from the same hymn sheet the results can be disjointed at best, disastrous at worst. Everything you say and do creates your brand (that’s right it’s not just your logo or colours!), consistency builds credibility and ultimately trust. To be successful your voice and the experience you deliver must be united.
There’s loads more in the report… check it out for yourself. If you’re a glass half empty kind of person – never have we faced so many complex and conflicting challenges when it comes to pension communications. But, with challenges come opportunities. These times of change are on our watch. It’s happening now. And we can make a difference.