5 Tips for successful Mining Communications and Marketing
As a specialist brand and communication design agency for the mining industry for over a decade, we’ve learned a great deal about mining communications and marketing. Working with remote sites and diverse teams presents its own challenges - and wins. Here are our Top 5 tips for mining communication and marketing teams.
TIP 1: TIME
Make time for time
Infrastructure, weather, pandemics and political instability mean you have no control over time.
Make sure to allow sufficient time for your collateral and Capex (signage, uniforms, campaigns etc.) and then more time to account for the inevitable, unforeseen circumstances. We've seen the best-laid plans fall apart with a serious tropical storm, so plan for the worst.
The Marketing and Communications department often isn't given much time for planning the mining collateral. This means it's important to educate your internal team on marketing best practices and timings. If your communication teams has a system to to identify issues and create solutions, then this will help to find the time needed to solve them. The solutions can include:
- Requests: Understanding the nature of the requests and who is issuing them. Have a request form available with leading questions so that you can gather the information you need without back-and-forth. It also provides accountability for all parties.
- Categorise: Create categories for priorities and assigning lead times for these categories. Not everything can be an emergency, so if you create a system that assigns the urgency of the project, you'll know which priorities to tackle first.
- Systems: Use the digital systems you have avaialble for you to streamling your workflow. A bespoke online portal allows for requests to be made; tracking of these requests (accountability tracking); a calendar of planned events and an asset library. But you don't have to have a tailor-made system. A simple and well-managed asset library is an incredible way to save time and money by using your existing elements well.
Creating systems to streamline requests, saves the mining communications team time and money (click to read more) and allows for a better allocation of resources.
TIP 2: TEAM
Create a strong Mining Communications and Marketing support team
Finding and keeping the right people can be tough, especially when you're in a remote area, or have specialist niche skills required. The pressure is on when you have an influx of demands and can't manage the load.
By now you have a system in place for receiving requests, categorising them and delegating them. If you don't have the skills in-house, then establish a network of skilled service providers who know and care about your business. Reliable service providers often outlast a high turnover of staff, so they bring stability and knowledge to your departments. Choose service partners based on skill and experience in the mining sector so that you have the best team at your fingertips.
A Mining Communication and Marketing team's support service providers can include:
- Creative agency (that's us!)
- Public Relations
As we work closely with Mining Communication Managers, we assist with managing a team of service providers. Some of these are external management (e.g. liaising with printers) or some are internal (for example our drone operator will deal with the civil aviation queries directly).
We recommend you create a trusted suppliers database with key contact details and core strengths listed, and make this available to key players at your company. This means that instead of e.g. several second-rate signage companies with all sorts of mismatched signs around the site, you use one reputable signage company that understands your needs. You'll get a better quality product and may be able to negotiate bulk rates.
TIP 3: PRACTICE CULTURAL AWARENESS
Respect cultures and avoid a clash
A foreign workforce brings a unique challenge. The DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), for example, speaks over 200 languages. If your site has foreign workers, you’ll be adding even more languages and cultures to your mining site. Find out the most common languages of both the area your mine is in and the majority of your workers, so that you can communicate with them effectively. Make the effort to learn their cultures so that you can relate to them as people.
We recommend that Mining Communication Managers take the time to learn the main cultures of the mine's workforce. This means they can avoid cultural clashes in communication. And, we believe, more importantly, they can connect better with the workforce by integrating their cultural customs, even in a small way for example by remembering their key national holidays.
When we work with multi-national mines, during our strategy sessions we identify the nationalities, languages and key religions and beliefs. With this data, we're able to create a calendar of special days for which we can plan communication material and activities. If you are interested to see examples of this, please reach out to us for more information.
TIP 4: SAFETY FIRST
A successful brand is a safe brand
Don't ignore health and safety! Make sure your signage, safety videos, health campaigns and Toolbox talks are available in the correct language and dialect. Most importantly, show the correct practices! Too often, corporate videos show incorrect safety practices, which means that your marketing investment is unusable. A successful brand is a safe brand.
It's important to place your safety signage and messages in the correct places, and that it is properly manufactured. Often we'll see a hand-washing sign placed too far away from a tap, so it misses the opportunity of reminding people to wash their hands. Or the CRM signage has faded to the point of missing vital safety information. Walk around your site and check that all signage material is in good condition and in a logical place.
If you have a safety campaign, ensure that the information is correct and factual. You may have a multi-national workforce, so it's important to ensure that you are communicating to them in a language and manner they understand. This could require you to translate your safety communication material into different languages. We recommend using a professional translation service for this, as we've seen some serious interpretation mistakes which can cause embarrassment and safety issues for the mine.
TIP 5: STRATEGISE
Plan the Action, then Action the Plan
Unlike the fluctuating commodities market, your brand and mining marketing plan should be strategised and implemented methodically. You must plan your strategy for your short, medium and long-term goals.
This strategy needs to align with the company goals and vision, whilst still meeting your specific brand objectives. It's best to start off with a Discovery session. Here is where the goals are set out and each key stakeholder shares their objectives and kpi's. Thereafter, categorise these goals and brainstorm the best activities for that category. Once the plan has been established, divide the categories into dates and responsibilities and assign them (here's where your systems come in handy if you are using project management software) along with key milestone dates. Whilst this process is time-consuming and challenging, it sets you up for a successful year where you can forecast how you will meet your goals.
This is where a Mining Communications and Marketing specialist team like Halo Media can work with you to overcome your challenges with time, skills and experience. (Check out our full Mining Marketing and Brand Management services here. We are are a brand and marketing company that specialises in mining communication and brand management. If you are looking for a mining marketing partner, speak to us today to find out how we can assist you.