No Time To Die, Live Compliance Every Day

The correlation and symmetry between compliance is undeniable. And when a “marketing-compliance” approach is adopted it has the fabulous and all-important effect of embedding compliance within a business.

“Compliance” is defined as: “The action of complying with a command”.

It could be argued that this is a poor or unfortunate choice of word; as it can transmit a negative message all on its own. And what makes it worse is when you then put the word “officer” at the end. Officer is defined as “a person who has a position of authority in an organisation”. Most people imagine police, army or even some kind of enforcement employee, when thinking of an officer. So all in all, “Compliance Officer” is not an ideal name.

But what a compliance department and compliance officer does–how they market themselves, and what they are trying to achieve–can overcome the negative perception of the title.

Think of compliance officers as your in-house influencers; although, regretfully, there will be no BooHoo clothing deals or trips to Dubai for these types of influencers. Yet the objective is the same. We want to get people in our company thinking about “why” they do certain tasks and “how” to react when things go wrong.

If, within compliance, we hand out policies, dictate the rules to be followed and then ask our employees to confirm they understand and will adhere to said rules, of course they are going to agree.

But this is not embedding compliance. This is box-ticking, and in the long-run does not help the company or its employees.

Within the compliance department it’s paramount to understand all areas of the organisation, and explore why rules have not been followed in the past. Sometimes it can be innocent mistakes, other times it can be negligence. We need to understand the motivations of our colleagues and align our objectives to their understanding and roles.

So where does marketing come in?

Firstly, let’s highlight the two main channels of marketing – direct and indirect.

Most compliance departments will focus on the “direct marketing” version of compliance, i.e. “These are the policies and rules, now go and follow them!”

Quite simply: You give some basic training, you share an updated policy and you inform company employees the pathway you expect them to follow.

Fundamentally, there should be no real problem with this. After all, compliance defines policies for the benefit of the company and its employees.

So if you ask for certain procedures to be followed, it’s for good reason.

If we take the “indirect marketing” approach to compliance, where the aim is to build awareness and long-term sales, then surely the aim is pretty much the same. We want to embed consistent compliance, adherence and understanding.

A great example of indirect marketing prowess can be ascribed to mobile phone company Nokia, exemplified by their subtle branding in the most recent Bond film “No Time To Die”. Over the years Nokia has done an excellent job of building slow-and-steady marketing campaigns by the simple expedient of product placement.

I believe this is exactly how we should market compliance: Subtly raise awareness, drip-feed guidance and best practice – don’t force-feed rules.

Here are some good ways to indirectly market compliance in an organisation:

Share recent news of any industry enforcement action across the company. While your employees may see this purely as an update, from a compliance perspective it serves a much greater purpose.

Employees will learn what other operators got wrong–and the consequence–without you having to directly remind them why certain processes are in place.

Reward best practice. I encourage colleagues to nominate a member of the team for a compliance recognition award on a quarterly, or annual basis.

Engage with different business areas and colleagues on a regular basis. Observe, listen and support.

Try to “normalise” relations with colleagues. “Complianceers” are ordinary people, not “officers” tasked with harsh enforcement of the law.

Try to understand the challenges, objectives and motivations of colleagues. This can be hugely beneficial when the time comes for training and change.

One great way of reaching out to colleagues is to publish a compliance newsletter.

I believe that with quality time invested in promoting the right marketing methods and ongoing Risk Management and brand awareness, most company employees will fully grasp the importance of compliance.

At the end of the day, this can only lead to a safer and better managed business.

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