In 2007, one of my clients came to us with a specific request: His management team wanted a channel assessment with an investment plan for internal communications.
Typically, we had approached communications from a content-centric perspective, viewing the message as the primary means by which to improve employee engagement. None of our colleagues had done anything quite like this before, either. So, we put our thinking caps on.
Our first step was to answer a basic question: What is a channel? We leveraged a construct from Claude Shannon, the “father of information theory,” which I had encountered in a class at Syracuse University while studying for my master’s degree. His model of communications includes a source, a transmitter, a message, a channel, noise, a receiver and a destination. Based on this, we isolated the attributes of a channel such as speed, ability to target, accessibility, ability to archive and point to multi-point capabilities. This helped us evaluate both individual channels and a mix of all the channels as a system.