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A better way to communicate

The premium on smart, clear communication has never been higher. In a sharp discussion, we dig into the shifting communications landscape and how innovative companies keep up. Watch the discussion above and share the key takeaways below with your team.

🚨 We’re at a point in time when companies and colleagues have access to more good information than ever before and — right beside it — just as much distracting junk.

  • Why it matters: There’s a huge struggle, “even at sophisticated companies, to communicate with hierarchy, simplicity, basically what Axios does with Smart Brevity®️," says Axios CEO Jim VandeHei.

The big picture: We built a technology around that idea – Axios HQ. It helps companies communicate more clearly — to employees or clients — and get their message across in half the time. 

How it works: HQ can teach you the methodology we use to engage smart readers

  • Prioritizing only what is surprising or essential. 
  • Telling them what’s new, right away. 
  • Following that up with why this news will matter to them. 
  • Styling for impact, and more. 

It’s what readers are hungry for, and it’s what cuts through. “If you can communicate better,” Jim says, “people fundamentally make better decisions.” 


🧐 How HSBC is modernizing global comms

What we heard from HSBC Global Head of Reputation Lucy Yurek:

My team is tasked with telling the bank’s story in a consistent and compelling way and helping our huge population of leaders across the globe advocate for that story, too.

  • Why it matters: We needed to do better. Only 60% of our senior, most influential leaders were satisfied with what we were serving up.

Since October, we've been piloting a newsletter with Axios to serve our leaders information that feels worthy of their time. In a couple weeks, we're expanding it to four days a week for all 10,000 managers.

What we're hearing so far: 

  • There's a really distinctive style to what we're sending.
  • Updates are relevant and concise.
  • It's served up exactly how leaders want it every morning.

It's helping us broaden the reach of some of our key messages — whether those are from our chief executive or others across the bank — and share our positions on the hot issues of the day.

Yes, but: Even we were skeptical at first. We thought, “Hey, we're good at this. We don't need somebody to tell us how to write with greater impact.”

  • Part of the process has been leaving that at the door. We're already hearing other parts of the organization say, “Can we get access to this? What is Smart Brevity? Can you train me?”

We've got the bug! I want to make our newsletter a habit — something people look for because it sets them up for the day. I’d love to see us speak to each other in Smart Brevity, see meeting times come down, and write board papers more concisely. We need fewer, but higher impact products.

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