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What is Essential Communications Management?

Ineffective communication is holding organizations back — 49% of employees don’t think that company comms are clear, engaging, or easy to understand.

  • Why it matters: Ineffective communications waste $2 trillion in time, energy, and opportunity each year — or $15,000 per employee, according to IDC and OECD data.

To align and activate folks on what matters most, leaders need a new strategy that keeps internal employees and external stakeholders better aligned and transforms communication into an organizational strength — they need Essential Communications Management (ECM).

 

What is ECM

Essential Communications Management is an organization’s ability to understand and structure what matters — to employees, to stakeholders, to customers, to investors, and more — to elevate that information in an effective way that breaks through the noise, to deliver it on an consistent, realistic cadence that keeps its stakeholders aligned, and to embrace their feedback so communications stay essential to them. 

ECM stands upon four pillars that help drive alignment and results:

  1. Plan: Solicit input and think critically to determine what topics, details, and levels of insight your key audiences need to stay focused and productive in the work they do. That includes when they receive it, how often, and in what channel and format. In an era of information overload, the line between just enough and way too much is razor thin.

  2. Compose: Embrace brain science. Years of research can now offer the intel leaders need to more effectively distill their messages — while staying specific and actionable. Make your point quickly, clearly, and conversationally. Style the remaining details in a digestible way that audiences will actually read and remember. Boost focus, reduce friction.

  3. Measure: Treat essential communications like any other critical initiative. Track them, analyze them, and identify hits and misses in engagements to continue to optimize them. Take cues from your audience about what they need — or would need to change — and routinely solicit their feedback. Preserve trust that what you share is always essential.

  4. Align: Create a single source of truth your stakeholders can revisit. In pressure-cooker moments, teams can easily find essential details — accessible. To power productivity, leaders can grab top-line messages and add team-level context — customizable. In business reviews, your story is clearly documented and efficient to build on — central.

Essential Communications Management is the framework to get stakeholders aligned and activating on what matters and help leaders transform communication into an organizational strength.


Why ECM is critical

Almost every leader at every organization spends most of their time communicating, but no one teaches them how to do it efficiently and effectively. And in a time when employees, customers and stakeholders are overloaded with information — forcing them to dig for what’s essential and losing time along the way — you end up with a lot of wasted progress and potential.

Essential Communication Management can streamline, simplify, and amplify your organization’s communications, as well as solve for some of the common challenges leaders and employees admit they face in the workplace:

  • Leaders are confused: Leaders say the number one challenge they face when sharing essential communications is understanding what is important to their audience. Thoughtful planning, ruthless prioritization, and intentional feedback can make sure audiences get the information they need, when and where they need it.

  • Communication is inconsistent: 36% of employees wish they received the essential communications they need to do their job well more frequently than they currently do. Operational changes and new goals and initiatives top the list, but finding the right cadence to deliver those updates in a clear, memorable format is key.

  • Context is missing: 40% of employees say they need more thoughtful and insightful details in the communications they receive from leaders. Communication needs to happen at every level of an organization so readers get access to the tailored insights they need to stay focused, make smart decisions, and back to work. 

Addressing any ECM challenges early — and embracing the shifts in strategy or adoption of software needed to do it well — will radically transform how your organization communicates. Along the way, you’ll develop the smart, single source of truth your organization needs to keep everyone moving in the same direction. 

 

How ECM can improve alignment

Essential Communications Management is an effective framework that can help any keep its stakeholders aligned with what matters most. 

  • Axios HQ is the only ECM platform that gives you the tools you need to bring it to life. From AI-powered writing guidance, to a library of best-practice communication templates you can draw inspiration from, to robust analytics, Axios HQ helps you elevate what matters.

Go deeper: Discover how Axios HQ uses Smart Brevity style to get your ECM off the ground with clearer, more impactful updates.