Communication in the corporate world used to be very straighforward, there was the spoken word face-to-face or by telephone and there was the written word in a letter, newsletter or in sport a match day program.
With the arrival of the fax machine a new form of communication came and mass faxes were sent to people when it was important to pass on news quickly.
Today’s world is so very different. There is the beast that is social media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and fast taking over from Twitter, messenger apps such as Whats App, Messenger and Viber. Then there is email, and of course your company website. It is no enviable task to stay on top of all of these forms of communication, however it is important to know which one brings you the best results.
Sometimes it is not necessarily about results but about ticking a box. For example there are some companies who treat their direct mail as an advertising opportunity to deliver on reach and frequency of their brand. Their view is that it isn’t always important to have users open the mail and engage with the content. If it was then they wouldn’t put their logo on there as that is a deterrent. So is this good communication or bad?
Football West, football’s governing body in Western Australia is the administrator of the game. They have to communicate with all age groups and most demographics. They also have to cover many different sections of the game, from youth football to Culturally and Linguistically diverse programs, Women’s football, social and amateur football as well as the showpiece leagues of the NPL and State League.
With so many areas to cover it is always going to be hard to keep everybody happy. In fact it is fair to say that that would be impossible. However you can make sure that what you do, you do well.
Judging by the feedback in the past week there are many who feel that was not the case with the State Cup Final. First of all leading up to the showpiece game communication on where the final was to be played was slow in coming out. On the day the live stream did not work, there was no match day program, and post game the match report was embarrassingly poor and the highlights package of the final a joke. It was hard to believe that this was a showpiece event for the game.
The website, which is the organisation’s shop window is dreadful. This was only recently updated but is far worse than the previous incarnation. A decision has been made to no longer have staff listed on the site with their email addresses and contact details. Under the “Corporate Partnerships” section it is simply an advert looking for sponsors, with the current sponsors not listed, and no links to their business websites. There are two sections titled “Resources” one that has past Annual Reports and the Constitution, the other “Resources” section covers a mish-mash of things such issues as insurance, hosting friendly matches, Registrations and the First Touch e-neswletter! The Board, who we hear are now making all of the key decisions are not even listed on the website, along with the important information as to when they were elected. When it comes to fixtures it can take up to five clicks to get to the match you are looking for. As any IT specialist will tell you more than two clicks is too many.
Apart from the fact that it is far more informative this has to be one of the reasons why the Football WA website attracts such a large number of hits. To find the fixtures on their site takes two clicks.
In fact talking to a digital media specialist they stated that one of the big mistakes companies make is employing young people who use social media and think that they will know how to promote a business via the various forms available. Young people may use it, but do they know how to maximise it from a business perspective?
The specialist we spoke to gave us some key points to take into account to help ensure that your social media strategy works. The first was “don’t feel you have to be a part of every platform, pick what works for your business. When a new platform comes out, wait and judge its place in the market before jumping on board. Some social media platforms are gone as quickly as they appear.” They then said it is important to “use your channels’ strengths, use analytics to test, learn and iterate.
Keep it simple, and put your audience first.”
With an organisation such as Football West it is important to have a visible figurehead. The former CEO was more than happy to put himself front and centre on any occasion, and was the consummate politician, saying whatever was required at the time. He was also extremely hands-on in terms of controlling what was said.
The current CEO has been in the job for over a year and could not be more different, in fact he is known by some as “The Silent CEO.” In fact so low-profile is he few know what he looks like. It is fair to question who is in fact the figurehead at Football West? Is it the Chairman or is it the CEO?
Last night at the FFA Cup game between Sorrento and Canberra Olympic a Football West staffer accosted this writer and proceeded to say what a great job Football West did in terms of communication. An observation which saw us have a difference of opinion. The same staffer also advised that the CEO had appeared on local radio show Let’s Talk Football, which he never has. So it would appear that even internally communication at Football West is not perfect!
So what do the football community think of Football West’s communication? Here is a simple poll to tell us, and confirm whether or not we are being harsh in our judgement. Please feel free to comment if you wish to highlight any area where they have been good or bad; comments with expletives will be edited or deleted.