Last week, I posted 5 Modern Alternatives to the Suggestion Box, in which I mentioned Anchor, a relatively new app for the iPhone that has opened up possibilities not only for the individual user, but for professional communicators. Since part of Creatively Corporate’s mission is to explore new communication tools and analyzing whether they have practical application in the corporate world, let’s take a look at Anchor.
What is Anchor?
Anchor tags itself as “radio by the people, where any voice can join the conversation.” In short, users record and broadcast short audio clips to a global audience. To record, users hold the phone up to their ears, just like they’re talking on a normal call. Once published, conversations can be shared as podcasts, and heard all over the web.
Audiences listen in and can talk back, sparking group conversations that were never before possible. They can also just listen to musings on a variety of topics from the perspectives of people all over the world, giving it a global, multi-cultural element. As a few examples, here’s a discussion about the latest Star Wars episode, and a conversation between strangers about their very first screen-names on AOL.
So how can Anchor help corporate communicators achieve their goal of greater engagement? Let’s ponder some ways.
Actually, for this one we don’t have to ponder. Here’s an interview with Tinder’s VP of Design about the psychology of great dating apps. This should be a no-brainer for modern-day PR agencies who want to put out interviews or statements from executive leaders without always having to contact local media. They can conduct the interviews themselves, without any great cost or having to pull strings with contacts at the local station or paper, and put them out into the world wide web.
In addition, this can be a great alternative to an executive blog and an effective way for corporate leaders to provide regular updates about their organizations. Statements about the direction of the company, responses to criticisms or questions, or updates about community efforts could be delivered via Anchor. The impact hearing a voice instead of reading written words can be extremely powerful and engaging for your audience.
Of course, the first objection will be that then anyone can respond and say whatever they want with their own recordings. True. But in case you haven’t noticed, this is the social media age. To be relevant, you need to be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Those vehicles have response mechanisms. Anchor is no different. Like any communication vehicle, it’s about controlling the conversation instead of letting it control you. So any objections to using Anchor would need to apply to the popular channels you’re on already.
With any product or service in today’s world, customers demand quick and meaningful responses to questions or concerns. As part of the development and marketing of a good or service, there can be included an Anchor recording that answers questions from users. In addition, just as there are Facebook groups created for users of a certain product, followers of a brand, enthusiasts of shared interests, etc., Anchor can be an effective channel for organizations looking to build a communities around their products or brand.
The global aspect of Anchor, on the surface, might not have application for internal communication as it is. Even if a corporate leader created an Anchor broadcast specifically for employees and their questions/feedback, there appears to be no way to block other users. However, the podcast is still a viable method (although only in a one-way format) for executives who want to audibly reach their internal audiences.
Or am I wrong? Maybe you see a way Anchor can be used for internal audiences that I’m missing. Perhaps there are other ways to use Anchor that I didn’t mention above. I admit, Anchor is new to me, so the more I think about it, I might come up with other ideas to use this interesting resource. If you have ideas, let me know in the Comment section below!
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If I could record an Anchor broadcast right now, I’d tell you all the reasons why you need to join my email list. But since I’m feeling particularly lazy at the moment, I’ll just tell you to fill out the form at the right side of the page and enjoy my weekly email updates!