Future of Corporate Communication: The (Cat) Meme

corporate communication

My friends will hate me for saying this, but it needs to be said.

It doesn’t matter how much I try to tickle people’s’ minds – when I share heavier intellectual content on my personal Facebook timeline, I got a like or two, almost never a comment. But if I post a picture of a cat – it goes viral.

What people seem to like to do on social media are simple things: gossiping around, cheer when others post results from their RunKeeper apps, watching strangers’ food pics on Instagram, and smile at funny cats and pass them on.

Will that kind of behavior have an impact even on corporate communication?

The written word in a universe where visual is king

People read less than you think. According to a Nielsen study, people tend to read only 20 percent of a text longer than 100 words. Furthermore, the image and video sharing trend is here to stay.

Images shared on Facebook get much more response than just plain text, Pinterest and Instagram are two of the fastest growing social networks and Slideshare content spreads virally through blogs and online platforms.

The evidences are unarguable: people want to look more, and read less.

Corporate communication in form of a meme?

My friend Jesz from @FirstCommsJob sent me a tweet the other day after she’s read my article “The 140 Post – Future of Internal Communication” over at YourThoughPartner.com’s Leader Communicator blog.

Jesz is really funny (just look at her glasses) and I actually laughed out loud when reading the tweet (for real, not just a written *LOL*).
corporate communication

Well, I thought I had gone to the extremes with my 140 characters suggestion as the new message standard for internal communication, but Jesz managed to stretch the idea even further while making internal corporate communication end up being nothing more than a meme!

With her blessing, I decided to explore what would happen if business communication was reduced to a meme.

What if this was true for corporate communication?

internal communication

25 seconds is actually the attention span for a written message, if the headline and opening phrase catches the reader’s eye. It’s no different for internal corporate communication than for other kinds of communication we receive. Fact is that employees act the same at work as in private life. If your intranet isn’t funny, their Facebook sure is!

internal communication

What if employees get so tired of receiving all kinds of information that their attention span limits to like 2 seconds?

internal communication

And your boss had to do like this to get your attention:

internal communication

And he adapted really well to it, and gave you all the important information in two or three word sentences.

internal communication

And when you wanted to get in touch to discuss the meaning of the meme, he sent you another one telling you this:

internal communication

Because the latest findings, surveyed in the most credible study ever done, was evidently clear about the power of memes:

internal communication


internal communication

And this was true until everybody got tired of all things comms, and employees didn’t respond at all.

internal communication

(Cat) memes may be the end of the written word.

What’s next then? Please comment below or tweet me @CoSkills.

Photo credit: swanky via photopin cc

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About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for SteamFeed.com once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at communicateskills@gmail.com.

3 Responses to Future of Corporate Communication: The (Cat) Meme

  1. Get back to work. <— 15 characters
    You're fired <— 12 characters

    :-) That said, 140 characters is far superior to the endless round of pointless meetings to discuss "next steps".

  2. Andrea Crego says:

    I actually really like this whole idea. The corporate environment seems to breed a culture of show-off writing, where people take a message and bury it in pages of meaningless but important-sounding words and phrases like “communications deliverables” and “value driven” etc…
    It is a fact that constraints are the key to creativity. Being constrained to 140 characters would actually force people to get to the point!

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