Let’s say you just walked out of your final meeting with legal at your company and they have finally approved you to officially start your brand new Augmented Reality Department. You shake hands cordially, thanking each of them for their time and congratulating them on an excellent decision. You calmly walk through the door into the hallway and keep the smile tucked away. Keep calm, deep breathe, and subdue your excitement for now. There will be time to celebrate later. Then all of a sudden it hits you, “Oh shit! I have to communicate with the whole company! How are we going to communicate? How will we market? How will we attract people from within the company?”
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
So you finished your kick-ass meeting with legal, you’re withholding your wild feelings of excitement, and you just realized that you’ve got a major problem. You need to communicate with the whole company and you have no idea how you are going to do that. I’m going to show you how to market your shiny, new department to the whole organization and how to be prepared for your newly acquired buzz.
Start by not communicating with anyone about what just happened. Rather, reach out to the right people around your company to help you set up excellent internal communication channels for your department. Get your department’s email set up. If you have a local place for sharing documents, get that ready. Set up a communication channel on slack or mattermost, whatever tool you use that’s similar. Formalize your organization with some documents about the department: what you stand for, what your mission and vision are, what you want to achieve, how you plan to get there, and create a team roster as well.
Your team roster will help you keep good track of what everyone on your team is strongest at and what they are most interested in doing. You should create this and have people that show interest in your department create an entry for themselves as soon as they show interest. You don’t want to risk forgetting people on your team and you certainly don’t want to lose good people due to forgetting their name and what they are best at. This will help you follow up with prospective team members later also to see if there is a good fit for them on your team. The goal is to be prepared for people from all over the company saying that they love your team and they want to be a part of it. You might as well create a second one that you use for tracking people and teams from around the company stating that they are interested in getting your help to create x, y, and z for them. They will be interested in seeing if you can help them solve such and such problem they have. You want to create value for them as much as for the company, so you must keep track of the opportunities as they come. You also want to have a way to prioritize them later based on how much you estimate the value of the solution to their requests would be for the company as a whole.
Next, create a list of ideas and use cases you have for projects you’d be interested in exploring to see if they could add large amounts of value to your company’s bottom line. You will use this list later to spur imagination for other departments that you’re interested in partnering with later.
Know that some people will think your new department is shit, while others consider what you are doing, to be God’s work. Some will think you are consuming company resources while others believe you are securing the company’s future in spatial computing. Run away from the idea that you need to please anyone. Your job is simple. Create value for the company through maximizing wins.
Maximizing wins is easy but might be challenging to think about at first if you’re not used to it. The idea behind it is that you want to get as many people together to benefit from any given project. An example of this might be if you are creating an AR application for protecting people from a common hand injury. Maybe your content is very simple and you put people into a simulation of using this chopping block of a machine so they can be aware of the inherent dangers. There are a few wins here. The company will have fewer injuries, spend less on insurance, less on claims, fewer opportunity for negative media, happier employees, better working conditions. That’s a win for operators of the machine, your company’s safety team, your executive leadership, the team leads for the teams on this particular machine, your media communications team, and your recruitment team. How can you increase the number of wins on this project? Leave a comment about what you would do to increase the number of people and teams that can get a win from building the project. It can be an alteration in any part of the project pipeline, from creating the idea to getting it approved, to building it or even how it’s used. What would you do to increase the number of wins on this project?
MARKETING YOUR DEPARTMENT
Now that you have a decent structure to communicate within your team and have supporting information available for people with questions, you need to tell everyone about what you’re doing. You need to find out where the gaps are within your company. Discover which teams are currently working with Augmented Reality and/or Virtual Reality projects within your company. Understand who the key players are in those departments. Offer them support. Ask them how you can provide value. In some cases, you will need to figure out how to get these projects nested under your command. There are some cases you should leave alone though too. You don’t want your hands in every cookie jar. Just the ones that seem like they are of high value to the company and to your mission.
For a broad marketing campaign across the company, you should get in touch with the marketing department. Reach out to the internal communications team. Is there a newsletter? Does your company have an internal website for important company-wide updates? Find someone to help you create some simple graphics or hop onto Canva and put together a simple flyer that fits four on a page. It should have info about you, your department and when you are holding your first meeting. Remember to put the location of the meeting on there as well. Be sure to invite anyone who may have even the slightest interest in what you are building. Make sure your meeting is at least four weeks out. You want to build anticipation as well as give people time enough to free up for that meeting.
That those graphic flyers you made on Canva or someone else made for you and have your internal communications team share them with everyone. Print out 25 pages on white paper. Remember four of your flyers fit onto a single page so you will now have 100 flyers. If you can, also print out a few full-page flyers to put in prominent areas around the company where people spend time. On lunch tables, near the bathrooms, on the doors of the bathroom stalls, on common doors that people use frequently to enter and exit the building. For all of those small flyers, put stacks of them by water and coffee. Put stacks of them by the printer, and lunch tables. People can grab them as a reminder as to where and when they should meet you. If you have the ability, ask them to rsvp so you can remind them when the time comes for the meeting and then you can also send out a map of how to get to the particular meeting space. You want to make this dead simple for people to find you and to have time to make it there. I usually scheduled my meetings around lunch time, preferably right before lunch.
I keep meetings for only 30 mins, 1-hour max. Timebox your shit and get it done. If you don’t you’re just going to run on and on. You’re just wasting time. Don’t do it. Get in there, knock it out and get back to business.
So through flyers, internal website, word-of-mouth, monthly meetings, newsletters, and anything else you can get your message on build your marketing communications to your company. Remember that in marketing you must choose a voice and an audience. Once you do find it, stick to it and be consistent.
WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED
So you’ve finished your kick-ass meeting with legal, you’re withholding your wild feelings of excitement, and you just realized that you’ve got to prepare your marketing message, some flyers, and need to get in touch with the company’s marketing team as well as the internal communications department. You’ve got some business to attend to. Before you do though, remember to set up the formal documents for your department’s new prospects and the system for communicating within your department as we talked about. Good luck. No regrets.
If you’re ready – start with my free training.