Internal Communications Ice Cream Recipe

 It’s ironic that holidays, although intended to be relaxing, can be one of the most stressful events in the calendar! So why is that last year when my brother and his wife flew Virgin Atlantic to Las Vegas they came back with without the dehydrated and  frustrated stare of people who have just flow 10+ hours?

Of course they had all of the stress that comes with holiday travel, such as:

  • The arguments over what ‘you really need to take in your suitcase’
  • The clenching moment you go through the security scanner (desperately hoping not to buzz)
  • The mind-numbing time stood waiting (to check-in, to board the plane, to leave the plane, to get your bags, etc)
  • The traffic to the airport
  • And so on…

When I asked him, he told me this:

“Because we got free ice cream and pizza on the flight”

What!? Seemingly all of the other stress had been erased because of a few freebies. This one little perk had cut through all of the other events to leave an impression and this is what his emotional reaction had anchored itself to.

Black sesame soft ice cream. in Kakunodate, Ak...

As IC’ers this sounds like heaven. We often have to deal with lots of difficult messages, unplanned events, even internal crises – but how do we leave a sweet taste in the mouth at the end of the year?

The first thing is to identify what your anchor or ‘ice cream moment’ is. Establishing a set of agreed and aligned key messages will be essential in focussing you on what you want people to take away. The second thing is to find the ‘emotional link’. When I questioned my brother he explained the ice cream stood out because it was an unexpected surprise, which made him feel happy (and no doubt hungry). If we can tie a strong emotional response to the message we have a better chance of embedding it.

Here’s some suggestions for how to do this:

  • Make it fun – novelty and surprise make a big impact on us because they break us out of our usual routine. Try doing something fun for your people.
  • Make it consistent – if I fly Virgin now and don’t get ice cream I am going to have some very different feedback. Remember to keep your branding and message consistent for all of your audiences and the duration of your campaign.
  • Make it easily accessible – my brother’s experience was just a bolt-on to the experience he expected to have. No extra effort required from him. Try not to ask people to go out of their way to get involved.

And importantly make sure it aligns to the wider key message (part of a package) like any other campaign. We have savvy colleagues and they can see through ‘stunts’.

What’s your recipe for a great ice-cream?