Adapting internal communications for diverse audiences

What can educational theory teach us about adapting internal communications for diverse audiences? Reflecting on multiple intelligence types within your audience can lead to a rich vein of creativity… 

Home schooling has landed in our household and, along with other parents, we’ve experienced a mixed bag of charming, stifling, banal, guilty, panicked and creatively triumphant moments.

As our children are young, actual teaching has been minimal, but I’ve been paying more attention to the kind of things my five-year-old is learning. Watching him grasp some concepts easily while struggling with others inspired me to read up on multiple intelligences. And that got me thinking about how we can best adapt internal communication for diverse audiences and the multiple intelligences that exist within organisations.

What are the multiple intelligences?

Howard Gardner’s theory was popularised by his 1983 Frames of mind: the theory of multiple intelligences. He defines intelligence as “the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting”.

Rather than the traditional view of two intelligences – ‘verbal’ and ‘computational’ – Gardner argued that individuals can have any combination of eight, including logical-mathematical – detecting patterns, reasoning and logical thinking; Linguistic – expression and memory through language; and Naturalist – sensitivity to the natural world.

Mixing it up for multiple intelligences

Gardner inspired educators to diversify teaching approaches. By guiding learners to tell stories, sing songs or improvise about a topic you could develop their linguistic, musical and interpersonal intelligences – exploring numbers by studying patterns in nature, or teach phonics kinaesthetically.

Adapting internal communications for diverse audiences

So what does this theory mean for internal communications? What I like about the idea that you can adapt internal communications for multiple intelligences is its focus on diversity. It’s a reminder that an audience is made up of many experiences and personalities.

Finding different ways to present information is central to communications. Adapting communication for diverse audiences complements this, inviting us to get playful with our approaches. From maths and patterns, to human relationships to music, movement and nature, the different intelligences offer numerous ways to tell stories creatively.

Case studies: adapting internal communications for diverse audiences

The 44 team loves to explore creative possibilities using a variety of platforms, formats and media that help us to adapt communications for diverse audiences. Many of our projects play with expectations and break away from traditional approaches in much the same way that Gardner helped to free teachers’ thinking. Here are three of my favourites that show how we can take a theme or topic and adapt communications for our clients’ diverse audiences:

1. Cutting accidents with corporate animations

Animated characters showed the right and wrong way of behaving in various situations to ensure safety messages had maximum impact and universal appeal.

2. Gender intelligence at Volkswagen Group UK

The concept centred on the idea of walking in somebody else’s shoes to really understand them, bringing to life the importance and benefits of gender intelligence and diversity.

3. Telling the story of Seafresh company culture

We understood the need to communicate the Seafresh company culture universally, accessibly and imaginatively. By stripping the messaging back to the simplest storytelling, we gave colleagues a clear sense of what the company’s values really mean.

If you’d like to find out more about adapting internal communications for diverse audiences, why not get in touch?