How to Get People Talking and Foster Collaboration

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Media.Monks

Cómo Iniciar la Conversación y Fomentar la Colaboración

In a fast-moving world with teams spread across a myriad of partnerships (and across the globe), effective communication and collaboration are critical to success. To ease the friction felt between teams, Firewood Marketing, now part of MediaMonks, recently released their guide to getting the most out of digital campaigns by communicating more effectively: “Talk.”

Because effective collaboration is a group effort that requires alignment of all teams, we thought, “What better way to discuss collaboration than by collaborating across MediaMonks and the partners we’ve merged with throughout the past year?” We picked the brains of leadership from across our various teams, getting their own take on some of the points and strategies readers encounter within the guide.

From the start, “Talk” identifies several things that businesses miss out on when teams don’t communicate as effectively as they could. Could you summarize the imperative for better communication?

Kristoffer Belau (VP Digital Media, Firewood): A lack of communication means you risk making errors: the creative isn’t to spec, the campaign is not targeting the right way, you’re competing with other parts of the company. These are all ultimately errors, and they come from this lack of coordination from the various parties involved. Team alignment mitigates these risks.

“Talk” offers a handful of strategies in different situations to establish stronger collaboration. What’s your go-to strategy?

Mansi Mehta (Business Development & Global Expansion, WhiteBalance): We don’t wait to align and join together teams. Often, brands and their partners face long gestation periods before the concept is refined. This is predominantly because conventional agencies do not have their go-to artists in-house, which risks causing a game of “telephone” that results in something other than what they first envisioned.

Monk Thoughts Given the complexity of what we do that spans client silos, we have to go the extra mile with our communication.

Vera Cvetkovic (Managing Director, BizTech): Over the years working with various clients in different verticals, we learned the importance of asking the right questions, clearly setting expectations and guiding our clients as trusted advisors. Great listening skills are also very important before finding the best future-proof solution that is aligned with clients’ specific requirements. Given the complexity of what we do that spans client silos of business, IT and marketing, we have to go the extra mile with our communication to be crystal-clear within the context of the audience. Each of the clients’ silos are likely to have a very different lens on the same problem and potential solution, so it’s our job to bring them all together and be that “translator” that binds the common strategy and execution.

The guide also cites internal silos as one of the greatest challenges that many organizations face. What are some strategies or benefits to getting everyone a seat at the table?

Lieseloth Wisbraun (Brand Partnership Manager, IMA): We host workshops with all teams to get everyone in one room. From there, we aim to be clear, stay nice and share knowledge.

Louise Martens (Global Head of Embedded Production, MediaMonks): Any concerns about silos can be nipped in the bud when establishing a team architecture. When the team is partially in-housed, for example, the lines naturally blur, making a really positive impact on the nature of the collaboration. It’s less scary to hand over power because it feels like one unified team.

Managing expectations is the true test of effective communication. How do you establish expectations from the start?

Jason Prohaska (Managing Director, MediaMonks NY): Understanding through education is one of the best ways to afford great collaboration together and on behalf of the client—and this isn’t something we treat as a one-time event. Everyone benefits when we can try, test and learn together with opportunities to dialogue openly throughout a project. We set these up at the outset as a mandatory part of the scope, letting us frequently revisit shared understanding across the arc of collaboration.

Martens:  I’m a huge fan of partnerships in which gaining efficiency is among the KPIs. This unlocks a totally different type of conversation, and both parties benefit from better workflows and ease of working. When these efforts gain speed, a great relationship naturally follows. Our first step to achieve this is diving deep into the brand. We establish brand ambassadors that truly live and breathe the brand.

Belau: We strive to offer a very clear vision of what the experience could look like when everyone pools together, aiming to make the process getting there as comfortable as possible for the client. On our end, this means getting everything nice and organized with no uncertainty, so the client still feels control in the situation.

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