By Reiner Willems, Marketing Director, LeasePlan International
During a recent international fleet management event a Global Fleet Manager commented to me: “Although I am responsible for sourcing our global fleet, my job seems to be more about selling than about buying.”
Interesting notion, and probably not far from the truth for many responsible for an international fleet. But why is this the case?
The challenge of centralization
A centralized approach, in most cases, also means a consistent or harmonized approach to be effective. When implementing a global fleet policy you will find that you will be impacting many different people, processes and agendas. People may need to do something (slightly) different than they are used to. In short: you are implementing change. And change is something that does not always come easy to most of us. Especially if it isn’t perfectly clear why change is called for, or how it will impact or even benefit your situation.
Effective policy communication
An effective policy communication requires some dedicated attention. Especially in the context of an international fleet policy, you may need to link with many different types of stakeholders.
To mention a few:
• Stakeholders at corporate level: Finance, HR, other project teams
• Stakeholders at country level: Fleet Managers, Procurement, HR,…
• And directly or indirectly: your drivers
Even for a seasoned communications professional, selling change to such a broad set of audiences is a daunting task! To make matters worse, some roles or audiences are overlapping: a finance director might also be a ‘driver’ within your company — hence the need to have a consistent set of themes to communicate around to avoid confusing your colleagues.
A structured approach
I recently spoke with an international fleet manager who was working with the corporate marketing department of his company to set up a fleet communications plan. Given the above challenges, this is not a bad idea.
Typically such a communications plan will include:
• Description of the target audiences: detailing who you need to reach
• Identification of the key topics you need to communicate about (the effect or change in behavior you are looking for)
• Translating these themes to sets of messages tailored to the different target audiences
The appropriate media mix
There is a wide array of media you can you use in your communications plan including: email, meetings, social media, presentations, WebEx, intranet, brochures or events, to name a few. The best medium to get your message across? That depends on the target audience you need to reach. Some field workers will spend little time in an office or behind a computer, so mobile messaging might be the most appropriate channel.
A structured fleet communications plan will require some thinking and planning upfront, but will pay off during your fleet policy implementation and in achieving the change and results you are aiming for.
About the author
Reinier Willems is Marketing Director at LeasePlan International.