Guy Kawasaki was the Chief Evangelist for Apple and a part of the team that helped give birth to the Macintosh. Since then he’s been something of a technology guru. He’s also a genius, although he doesn’t know it, in providing insight to compliance and ethics professionals.
I heard him speak at the Email Evolution Conference on the topic of creating enchanting email. He thought he was speaking to a bunch of email marketers. But his words were highly valuable for ethics and compliance officers.
While we don’t tend to think that way, compliance professionals, like email marketers (including the HCCA and SCCE) are in the persuasion business. Compliance’s job is to persuade the organization to do the lawful and ethical thing. We build systems and controls, but when the critical decision is made whether or not to collude with a competitor or pay a bribe, we have to hope that our previous messages were persuasive enough to stop the wrongdoing from occurring.
Here are some of the more intriguing points he made put into a compliance context:
- Agree on Something. Once people find a common ground, there’s the opportunity to create trust and a stronger relationship. So even if you have a message that the business people won’t like, think about including information that everyone has in common. Start, perhaps, with the organization’s core values and put the message into that context. Talk about a business goal and managing the risks. Find something you can agree on, and it makes you and your message more compelling.
- Use salient points. Kawasaki points out that the side of a bag of potato chips lists the number of calories. We understand that more is worse, but it’s still a little abstract. Now imagine if they listed the number of miles you would have to run to work off that bag of chips? Most people would eat a lot less chips. Same thing with compliance. Saying something could result in a fine of $x is meaningful, but it may be more salient to put the fine as the number of quarters of lost profits.
- Present well. We’re getting used to increasingly customized marketing. More mass emails are personalized. Shop on a website for a new printer, and everywhere on the web you start seeing ads for printers. Customization can be incredibly powerful, especially when it starts the conversation. So even if you’re delivering the same in-person training to 50 groups in your organization, always start by recognizing that group specifically so that they know the message is for them. Even in your email, something as simple as a slight customization of the email by location or department may help the reader say, “This message is aimed at me, I better pay attention.”
In sum, remember that compliance is about following the law. But to get people to do that, you first need to persuade them.