Moving is traumatic and expensive. But moves have afforded Young Isaac effective opportunities to communicate with our constituents.
Here is what we've learned -- and how you can plan ahead to express yourself when you move.
First, make sure that someone is in charge of how you communicate before, during and after the move. Otherwise, everyone will be consumed by the physical activities, such as culling files and packing. Communication needs to be someone's first priority. When Young Isaac moves, I move the message, while my business partner, Michael Regan, and our general manager, Shelley Holloway, move the company.
Next, visit the new space with your staff to ask them the following questions. Their answers will help shape the space and your understanding of what the move could mean for key constituents.
- Who are our key audiences?
Customers, vendors and employees top the list, but are there others? Where in your database will you find them when it is time to contact them? This is tactical, but it takes time to update the contact list. Start well before the move, or the task will wait too long while you hunt for pens and power cords.
- How will the move benefit each audience?
Tell everyone how the move advances your productivity. In our October 2000 move -- just around the corner, from 150 E. Broad St. to 23 N. Fourth St. -- we knew that clients would enjoy new amenities such as our conference facilities, and vendors and bike-riding employees would enjoy the street-level access.
- How will our move inconvenience each audience?
Some employees don't want to change their commute. We always make sure we're on a major COTA route, and we provide bus passes for all employees. That helps attract and retain intelligent employees.
But don't dwell on the potential negatives. Address them, then move on to the positives: How will the new location benefit each audience? When we recently moved closer to the Columbus Museum of Art, we took our employees to lunch at the Palette Café -- and visited the art around it, and partially funded their museum memberships -- soon after our move.
- How will you show people your space?
Some customers like to tour the space during the build-out. When you walk customers through the space, express your key attributes. This means that the original real estate tour of facilities needs to be rewritten as a marketing tour of capabilities and personalities.
- How will the move inconvenience our audiences?
At the very least, everyone will need to take a few moments to change their listing for you in their address books. Not a big deal, perhaps, but it needs to be done and needs to be done correctly.
Also, your ability to produce will be at least briefly interrupted. We moved over a weekend, with our operations disabled for only a few hours. Our telephones rang and the Internet sizzled in both locations before the move, so we were never really out of touch.
If your move involves a great distance -- crosstown or out of town -- you need to mitigate the potentially ill effects of your move.
- What must be printed?
You'll need an inexpensive announcement informing accounting people, especially those who send you checks; a direct mail piece for customers and potential customers; bank checks, letterhead, envelopes, business cards and brochures.
For our recent move, we created a fun mailer that overstated our move by claiming that we had moved 3,553 inches due north. (It was actually only about 2,800 inches, but pride got in the way.) Our clients liked the piece because it was true to our oddly effective brand, which is based on Young Isaac, "The Intelligent Salesboy."
The key is to plan ahead. A good goal: While the movers move furniture, have some of your idled staffers applying labels to the mailers. In any case, plan to move the message as effectively as you move the rest of your company.
They both should arrive at a better place.
Artie Isaac is president of Young Isaac, the advertising agency that once was upstairs from McDonald's. Now, after a recent move, it is upwind.