When you’re responsible for a digital platform within the enterprise it is critical to create confidence in the channel. Websites, intranets, social networks, collaboration platforms and apps need to have an air of credibility with stakeholders and users. If people don’t trust your platform, don’t think it has value or consider it poorly run, then adoption suffers, improvements are deprioritised and ultimately it may be replaced.
There are many approaches that the teams behind digital channels can take to establish confidence and credibility. By acting tactically, teams can influence the perception of both stakeholders and users and create a positive view of their channel. Here are ten approaches which can help to build that confidence.
1 Tell a consistent story reflecting value
Effective senior stakeholder management is important for securing support and investment for your channel. It can also be important for advancing your own career. One way to build trust with senior management is telling a consistent story about your platform which explains its purpose and value in a clear way. Consistency helps to ensure the same positive messages are repeated and embedded in the minds of your stakeholders.
It really is worth spending some time on preparing your key messages and assets to help tell the story. For example if you are called into an impromptu meeting you want to be prepared and ready. Having the elevator pitch practiced, the standard slide deck, the mission statement, a couple of choice stats and the ability to reel off some success stories really helps to get that message across.
2 Have an up to date strategy that’s aligned with the bigger picture
It’s amazing how many teams only consider strategy at the time of a project or a relaunch. Once they go live, strategy is not considered until the next big project. However organisations, the business climate and technology move at a breakneck speed and inevitably strategy goes out of date.
Having an up to date strategy that is closely aligned to that of your organisation helps to position your channel as having strategic value, particularly to senior stakeholders. It also gives you personal credibility.
3 Show evidence of endorsement from leaders
Getting endorsement for your channel from leadership is key. If you can show everybody that your platform has that senior seal of approval, it will create credibility and show its importance. While this might be less interesting for some users, it’s critical for other management groups. If you want to cascade communications about your platform through different layers of management you must have support from the top. Visible participation from leadership on your platform and involvement with high profile communication about your channel all demonstrate endorsement.
4 Show peer support too
A powerful way to give your platform credibility is to have peer-to-peer endorsement in place , reinforcing top down messages. Demonstrating that peers use a corporate platform for their everyday work proves its relevance. One ways peer support is used to promote internal facing platforms is through advocate networks. Advocates can give messages to their colleagues which are packed with relevant use cases and vocabulary that resonates.
5 Don’t let a small detail trip you up
It’s amazing how one small detail can ruin the credibility of platform. For example I was once involved in launching an alumni portal with non-sensitive information on. It needed a complicated pin number to log into it in addition to a username and password. We warned it was a barrier to adoption but IT didn’t listen. When our prediction proved correct the pin eventually got removed. It’s important not to get tripped up by seemingly small but essential items such as authentication methods or speed and performance. These can end up being big ticket issues.
6 Change in design
Having a modern and attractive design on your digital platform is critical. However fantastic your content and functionality, the impression left by an outdated and ugly site will undermine your good work.
A change in design shows care and investment and can even change the impression of existing features or content. Users only noticing features after a redesign when those features have actually been there for years is not an uncommon anecdote,
7 Show continuous improvement
Continuously improving by adding extra features to your channel on a regular basis creates an impression of something getting better and better. It also avoids the risk of disappointment which can come with “big bang” approaches which have built up a bank of expectations. Small iterative improvements also allow you to be flexible and respond to emerging needs.
8 Involve users in the design
Involving uses in the design with surveys, workshops, testing, validation and user-generated content leads to a better site and engagement with users. Communicating their involvement also gives a site real legitimacy. This is increased when user feedback and input continues to shape the site.
9 Get external validation
Getting some credible external validation for your platform can never do any harm to its internal credibility. There are many awards and benchmarking consultants out there who can provide some of that external validation. (Disclosure: I do some work for the Digital Workplace Group and also on the Intranet Innovation Awards from Step Two.)
10 Make it brilliant and essential
And of course building something brilliant, truly essential and very useful is going to be the most important foundation for building credibility.
Overall there are a a number of things you can do to drive positive perceptions of your platform. Driving change around digital can take effort and time, so you want to make it easier by having positive perceptions of your work. It really is worth spending time on doing this and some of the approaches detailed in this post can help. Good luck!